Season Summary: 1924
Don postcard of captain-coach Fred Carpenter. Carpenter first played for Yarraville as a 15yo in 1907 before crossing to Williamstown the same season. He then went to North Melbourne Juniors from where he was recruited by South Melbourne where he played 52 games and kicked 68 goals from 1908-13 and 1919-20. He also played for North Melbourne's VFA team from round 7 of the 1913 season before he went on war service from 1914-17. In 1918 he captained-coached Williamstown Juniors to the grand final of the VJFA which was lost to Footscray Juniors by 16 points. Carpenter returned to Williamstown during the 1920 season and played in the 1921 premiership team and the grand final of 1924 which was lost to Footscray, 11.11.77 to 3.4.22. This was the last VFA game for the Tricolours who joined the VFL the following season along with North Melbourne and Hawthorn. It was also the last appearance for Williamstown of Carpenter who went on to captain-coach Port Melbourne in 1925 and 1926 and then play for Port from 1927-29 after buying a business there. He was the oldest player in the Association in 1929 at 39 years of age. He played a total of 108 games and kicked 235 goals for Williamstown and led the Club goalkicking in 1923 with 63 majors, which equalled the tally of Jim McAuliffe in the 1921 season, which was the highest in the Club's history to that point in time. It also placed Carpenter as runner-up on the VFA goalkicking list, just two behind the 65 goals kicked by George 'Toots' Taylor of Port Melbourne. He also led the Club goalkicking in 1924 with a total of 35 majors. After retiring, he became a VFA goal umpire. Carpenter passed away on 14 March 1976 at the age of 83 at Port Melbourne.
Fred Carpenter was appointed captain-coach in 1924 when Charlie Laxton retired, with Aub Holten vice-captain. Arthur Whitburn transferred to Collingwood but returned in 1925 while Johnny Martin went to Kingsville early in the season before going to Williamstown CYMS as captain-coach for 1924-25 but returned as captain-coach of Williamstown in 1926. New players included Sid Conlon from Port Melbourne, Jack 'Judy' Munn, Joe Stanford of Port Melbourne, Gerry Britt from North Melbourne VFA and Leon 'Onty' Beer from South Melbourne.
The season commenced positively with wins in 6 of the first 8 games, which included a 46-point victory over eventual finalist, Northcote, at Williamstown in round 3 but also a 2-goal loss to eventual premier, Footscray, at Williamstown in round 5 which attracted a crowd of 12,000. The Villagers were in second place on the ladder after this promising start to the year after defeating Port at North Port Oval by 21 points before a crowd of 10,000 in round 8, their first loss at home since July 1920 in which time it had won 33 games. Geelong Association had their first win over 'Town at their fifth attempt in round 9 by 2 points at Pt Gellibrand, but then two successive victories over Brunswick and Brighton regained second place. Two losses in the next three games, including the second defeat for the season at the hands of Footscray, this time by 10 points, saw Williamstown drop back to third place. The home-and-away rounds were played out with four successive victories, including a win over North Melbourne in round 15, the only team to defeat Footscray during the season, and the second win for the season over North. The season's largest win by 49 points over Port Melbourne at Williamstown in round 17, before a crowd of 9000, eliminated the Borough from finals contention. It was the second victory for the year over Port, the first time that had occurred since 1919. The Borough's score of 2.12 was its lowest of the season, with both goals coming in the second quarter. The final home-and-away game at Kardinia Park against the lowly Geelong Association resulted in a 3-goal win, but when Williamstown centreman, Hugh Munro, was knocked unconscious in a head clash with a Geelong opponent just before half-time the team had to play with 17 men for the rest of the game. Munro did not regain consciousness for 45 minutes after the incident.
Sporting Globe, May 31 1924
The team ended the home-and-away rounds in second position with only 5 losses from the 18 games, four of which were to fellow finalists. The season was highlighted by large crowds, including more than 9,000 at the Port-Williamstown match at Port, whilst the Footscray game at Williamstown attracted 12,000 and when Footscray met Port Melbourne in round 16 at Port 17,000 attended. Williamstown downed Brunswick by 11 points in the first semi-final, 8.9.57 to 5.16.46, before 23,000 at North Melbourne. There was nothing much separating the two teams all day in a low-scoring encounter, with the Villagers leading at every change by 10 points, 2 points and just 1 at three-quarter time. Brunswick got out to a 7-point lead early in the last term before Williamstown responded with three unanswered goals from Munn, Geisler and Mitchell to clinch the win. Carpenter was the leading goalkicker for 'Town with 2 and was best-on-ground, while other good players were Dick Condon, Les Stone, Stan Mitchell, Gerry Britt, Tom Geisler and Allan Geddes.
The Argus, June 16 1924 - a crowd scene from the round 8 game at Port Melbourne, won by Williamstown by 21 points, 8.14.62 to Port's 5.11.41
Australasian, June 21 1924
The Argus, August 9 1924 - selected line-ups for the round 15 game at North Melbourne, won by Williamstown by 15 points, 7.7.49 to North's 4.10.34.
The grand final against Footscray, in the Tricolours last match in the Association, at North Melbourne before a crowd of 20,000 was a disaster that would banish the Club to the football wilderness for many seasons. With only six members of the 1921 premiership side remaining (Mitchell, Geisler, Carpenter, Condon, McDonald and Munro), Williamstown did not kick a goal until the end of the last quarter and, after trailing 9.9 to 0.4 at three quarter time, managed to outscore the Tricolours with the wind in the final term but still lost, 11.11.77 to 3.4.22. The Villagers could muster just a single behind during the first quarter to Footscray's 3.5, which advanced their lead to 26 points by half-time, scoring 4.6 to 0.4, despite Williamstown having use of the breeze. The premiership was lost in the third quarter with the Tricolours adding 5.3 to NIL to lead by 59 points by three-quarter time. Ruck-rover, Gerry Britt, brought up Williamstown's first goal for the game from a free kick during the last quarter to ironic applause before Jack 'Judy' Munn added two more to reduce the final margin to 55 points. It was Footscray's eighth consecutive win over the Villagers. One of Williamstown's best years ended in the worst possible manner by the ignominious final game defeat. The Argus reported that 'seldom, if ever, has a final match proved so one-sided as that between Footscray and Williamstown. Footscray proved their superiority in every department of the game, and their form was as great a delight to their supporters as the poor showing of Williamstown was a keen disappointment to their followers.'
Williamstown's 1924 grand final team was:
Backs: Dick Condon Vic Truman Reg Ball
Half-backs: Ted Blanche Les Stone Sid Conlon
Centres: Hugh Munro Aub Holten (v.c.) Allan Geddes
Half-forwards: Fred Carpenter (c.c.) Leon Beer Phil Lee
Forwards: Norm McDonald Jack Munn Joe Stanford
Followers: Tom Geisler Gerry Britt
Rover: Stan Mitchell
Sporting Globe, September 20, 1924 - a scene from the Grand Final at North Melbourne
The Argus, September 22 1924 - another scene from the Grand Final at North Melbourne against Footscray - Williamstown's Vic Truman (#8) attempts to mark against strong opposition.
Captain-coach Carpenter headed the Club goalkicking with a total of 34 followed by Norm McDonald with 32, Judy Munn 18, Stan Mitchell 16, Phil Lee 14 and Jim McAuliffe 12. Tom Geisler was the most consistent player for the season. The team kicked a total of 174 goals and 225 behinds (1269 points) to 143 goals and 213 behinds (1071 points). Dick Condon and Allan Geddes both represented the VFA in an exhibition match played against the Jim Caldwell-coached WAFL club, Perth, at North Melbourne on August 2 which the WA team won by 2 points. Membership was 1564 seniors and 146 juniors in this season. Footscray, which had won 9 Association premierships, including 4 in the previous 6 seasons as well as being twice runner-up, then defeated VFL premier Essendon by 28 points in a benefit match, Dame Nellie Melba's Appeal for Limbless Soldiers, and gained admittance to the VFL, along with North Melbourne (six VFA pennants) and, surprisingly, Hawthorn, which had won 56 matches, lost 81 and drew 2 over the course of eight seasons in the Association. They reached the finals just once, which resulted in a heavy defeat and had one of the worst grounds in the competition. This left the VFA with just only two of its original clubs, Williamstown and Port Melbourne.
Alf Merton, wingman in Footscray's 1924 premiership victory over Williamstown, transferred to 'Town in 1925 and played a total of 3 games without kicking a goal in his only season with the Club.
At the annual meeting in respect of the 1924 season, held at the Mechanics Institute in February 1925, life membership was awarded to Tom Riley, who had been a committeeman since 1915. VFA life memberships were bestowed upon long-serving players Norm Busbridge (1912-20), Bert McTaggart snr (1911-19), Fred Harden jnr (1911-21) and Bert Amy (1908-19). The Council took control over the ground in January of 1924 after it had been under the auspices of a trust since it was opened in 1879, although cricket had been played on the ground since at least 1860.
Former player of 1880-86, Charlie Laming, who captained the Club for part of 1884 and all of 1885, the Club's first two seasons as a senior VFA club, passed away at the Government Hospital in Kalgoorlie on January 21 at the age of 61 after a short illness. He had moved to WA in 1896 and captained the Coolgardie team before moving to Kalgoorlie.
Kalgoorlie Miner, January 22, 1924
Williamstown Chronicle, February 2, 1924
VFA Recorder for the round 5 game at Williamstown v. Footscray, won by the Tricolours by 12 points, 8.14.62 to 7.8.50, before a crowd of 12,000. This was Footscray's sixth consecutive victory over the Villagers.
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