Season Summary: 1927
Leo Drew joined Williamstown in 1927 from Kingsville and played 83 games up until the end of 1933. He transferred to Daylesford in 1931 but returned to Williamstown in 1932. He captain-coached the Seconds in 1935. He is pictured here on a W.D. & H.O. Wills cigarette card in his last senior season.
The Herald, April 29 1927
Jack Lord of Melbourne and St Kilda was appointed captain-coach for the 1927 season, replacing Johnny Martin who continued on as a player, and performed so well he (Lord) won the best and fairest award and finished runner-up in the Recorder Cup, losing by just one vote to Ernie Martin of Coburg. Leon 'Onty' Beer was made vice-captain. Tom Geisler (113 games, 1921-26, 1921 premiership, 1924 grand final) and Hughie Munro (90 games, 1921-26, 1921 premiership, 1924 grand final) both retired at the end of 1926, however Munro returned as vice-captain in 1928 for a further two seasons. 'Mussels' McKellin transferred to Footscray during the season but returned in 1929 and Reg Ball similarly went to Williamstown Juniors during the year.
New players included Jack Waterman from Port Melbourne, Leo Drew from Kingsville and his brother, Con, from Footscray Seconds, Roberts from Oakleigh, N.M. Walker from Port Melbourne, William Martin from Williamstown Juniors, Hayden from Spotswood, Fordham from Footscray Seconds, James Scoones from Maffra, G.W. Saynor from Brunswick, and Roy McKay and Len Murphy from Collingwood Juniors. Murphy would leave without a clearance the following season and go on to play 173 games for Collingwood until the end of 1937 and appear in three consecutive VFL premierships from 1928-30. He also played for Footscray in 1940-41. McKay would play 101 games for Footscray from 1930-35 and would be Brunswick's captain-coach in their grand final loss to Williamstown in 1939. G.W. Saynor transferred from Brunswick during the season, as did A.W. Parker from Prahran.
Williamstown 1927 team photo
Back row: J. Roberts, Alex Quinn, Ted Clauscen, Len Murphy, George Warren, Bill Whitburn, L. Moralle, Onty Beer
Middle row: C.J. Hill, Arthur 'Porky' Sykes, Tommy Meehan, Jack Lord (captain-coach), Alex Mathers, James Scoones
Front row: (players only) Jack Waterman, Harry Stock, Con Drew, Harold Johns
Williamstown's 1927 captain-coach and best and fairest winner, Jack Lord, pictured here in the Sporting Globe, November 26 1932, upon his appointment as secretary of the St Kilda Football Club.
The team improved to win seven matches with one draw from 18 games to finish sixth on the ladder. With only one win in the first six rounds, the team was going to struggle to make the finals. The victory was over eventual wooden-spooner, Geelong Association, by 33 points and the defeats were all by big margins at the hands of eventual grand finalists, Coburg and Brighton, as well as finalist, Port Melbourne. The win by Brighton, 16.13.109 to 8.5.53, was their first at Williamstown since 1912. There was then a victory by 2 points, 4.15.39 to 4.13.37, over another finalist in Preston at Williamstown, a draw at Toorak Park, then three successive wins over Brunswick (by 33 points), Camberwell (1 point) and Geelong Association (10 points) for the second time in the season. Parker kicked 5 goals on debut with the Villagers at Geelong. In the draw with Prahran, Williamstown led by 34 points at three-quarter time before the Two Blues booted 5.6 to two behinds in the last quarter. This run of success saw the Villagers in sixth place on the ladder, a position which the team retained for the remainder of the home-and-away rounds, despite only two more wins over the final seven games. One of these victories was over Northcote, which finished one game out of the final four, at Williamstown in round 14 by 26 points. Newcomer Parker kicked 4 goals for the Villagers. Some of the losses were by sizeable margins to three of the four finalists, including a 65-point loss to eventual premier, Coburg. In the game at Brighton the following week, Williamstown led by a point at three-quarter time before The Penguins, the eventual runners-up, unleashed a 10.2 to 0.1 final quarter to win by 60 points. The wind had a dramatic effect on this encounter, as 15.16 was kicked at one end of Elsternwick Park to just 1.2 at the other end. In the round 15 game at Williamstown against Port Melbourne, the only team that defeated Coburg during the season, the Villagers led by 25 points at the last change of ends before Port booted 5.4 to NIL in the final term to win by 9 points. The final victory of the season came in the penultimate round at Williamstown with a 21-point win over Prahran after trailing by a goal at the last change. Parker kicked 5 goals against his old team to spearhead the win.
The Argus, July 23 1927 - starting positions for the round 13 clash with Brighton at Elsternwick Park which the home team won by 60 points, 13.9.87 to 3.9.27, despite Williamstown leading at every change of ends before the Penguins unleashed a 10-goal final quarter to just a single behind by the Villagers.
Newcomer Parker was leading goalscorer for the year with 19, despite not joining the Club until mid-season from Prahran and kicking five goals in his first game, against Geelong Association in round 11. Runner-up in the goalkicking was captain-coach, Jack Lord, with 17, followed by newcomer, G.W. Saynor, and vice-captain, Leon Beer, both with 11. The team scored 136 goals and 197 behinds (1013 points) to 183 goals and 190 behinds (1288 points) booted by their opponents.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the goalscorers of 1927
Remarkably both the first and second semi-finals in this year were drawn, necessitating a 6-game final series, drawn out even further due to the preliminary final being postponed due to bad weather. Coburg won its second consecutive premiership despite being in the competition for just three seasons. Recruit, Roy McKay, was runner-up in the Recorder Cup in this season. At the annual meeting in respect of the 1927 season held at the Mechanics Institute in February 1928, Jack Lord was awarded the best-and-fairest player for the year, Jack Waterman the most improved player and Arthur Sykes the most consistent player. Former vice-president, committeeman and local newspaper correspondent, Jim Challis, was awarded life membership for his solid work over 21 years.
Plans were announced in May by the Williamstown Council for construction of a new grandstand at a cost of approximately 8000 pounds to replace the existing pavilion that was built 40 years previously when the football club moved to the ground, being officially opend in December 1887. It was planned to locate the new stand between the press box and the existing pavilion. In the Williamstown Advertiser on 31 December 1927 it was reported that an inspector of the Public Health Department inspected the cricket ground and reported to the Council on 'the filthy condition of sanitary arrangements and to the lack of proper accommodation in the grandstand. With a view to replacing the existing dilapidated structure by an up-to-date pavilion, an architect is preparing sketch plans for presentation to the Council.'
Sporting Globe, September 24, 1927 - William Edward 'Cockle' Matthews, grandfather of Williamstown star of the 1940's and '50's, Fred 'Snowy' Matthews, first played for Williamstown in 1883 when it was still a 'junior' team. Originally from Battery United, Matthews played a further 21 games without kicking a goal from 1884-86 when 'Town achieved 'senior' status. He passed away at his residence in John Street, Williamstown, at the age of 67 on August 1, 1929.
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