Season Summary: 1928
Jack 'Snowy' Cannan came to Williamstown in 1928 from Port Melbourne, where he had played 9 senior games in 1927. Originally from Bendigo East, Cannan played with Melbourne Seconds in 1924 after returning from World War I before making six senior appearances and kicking nine goals in 1925 and 1926. With 'Town, Cannan played four senior games and kicked three goals before he was transferred in his employment to Seymour during the year. Cannan passed away at Heidelberg on November 24, 1965, at the age of 66.
Photo from The Argus, 18 May, 1928 - the team pictured before the round 4 game at Elsternwick Park against Brighton on 12 May, won by the home side 9.14.68 to 'Town's 8.7.55.
Yarraville, which amalgamated with the 1927 VJFA premiers, Kingsville, entered the VFA in 1928 from the VJFA after Geelong Association dropped out following six unsuccessful seasons, where they managed just 14 wins against 90 defeats and only received support when the League team was away in Melbourne.
Williamstown's slight improvement in 1927 was short-lived as the team was back to second last with just three wins and avoided the wooden spoon by a mere 1.8 percent. 1927 vice-captain, Leon 'Onty' Beer, was appointed captain-coach, replacing Jack Lord who transferred to Prahran, and Hugh Munro emerged from retirement to become vice-captain. Recruits included Con Sheehan from Yarraville Juniors, R. Bromley from Warburton, C.W. Godwill and Hauser from Williamstown Juniors, former Essendon player Bill Vickers came across from Williamstown Shell as did Jack George from Footscray Seconds. Former player, Bertie Crellin, returned after stints with Footscray VFL (2 games) and Williamstown CYMS. George Taafe also came from Williamstown CYMS in this season. Percy Outen joined from Footscray Seconds during the year as did G. Frew and F. Walker from Yarraville, former North Melbourne VFA captain Harry Clapson and J. Anderson from Brunswick Juniors.
VFA Recorder from round 1, 1928, of the Williamstown v. Port Melbourne game at Williamstown, won by Port 6.14.50 to 2.3.15. Rover, C.W. Godwill, was 'Town's best player.
Roy McKay and Alex Mather trained with North Melbourne and Footscray, respectively, in the pre-season but returned to 'Town by round 2. Tom Meehan also did pre-season training with Fitzroy and transferred to the 'Roys in early June but returned the following year after 5 senior games. Bill Whitburn did pre-season with Carlton and similarly crossed to the Blues during the year but only only played Seconds football before transferring to Essendon in 1929. He only played Reserves with the 'Dons and returned to Williamstown in 1931.
Len Murphy crossed to Collingwood without a clearance and would go on to play 173 games for the Magpies until the end of 1937 and appear in three consecutive VFL premierships from 1928-30. He also played for Footscray in 1940-41.
Tommy Meehan crossed to Fitzroy in June 1928 and played 5 VFL games without kicking a goal and was back at Williamstown in 1929. He tried out at Collingwood in 1930 but managed only three games in the Seconds and returned to Williamstown once again in 1931 for one final season. Meehan played a total of 38 games for the Villagers after debuting as a 17yo in 1926 and kicked a total of 5 goals. He passed away at Parkville on April 24, 1957, aged just 48.
Seven new players were included in the team for the opening game against Port Melbourne at Williamstown, which resulted in a six-goal defeat, with the Villagers adding just one behind after half-time. The first victory of the year came in round 2 at Northcote by 26 points (Beer 4 goals and best player), which should have been greater except for shocking inaccuracy with 'Town booting 8.18.66 to 5.10.40. This was followed by two defeats at the hands of Preston at Williamstown and then at Elsternwick to eventual finalist, Brighton. There was then a narrow victory at home by 7 points against eventual finalist, Camberwell (Munro 4 goals). The Villagers led by 29 points at three-quarter time before the Cobras kicked 3.4 to NIL in the last quarter to just fall short.
Sporting Globe, May 12, 1928.
Five successive losses followed to rule out any prospects of a finals appearance. Two of these defeats were by 108 points to eventual premier, Coburg, and by 65 points to runner-up, Port Melbourne. The Borough kicked 20 goals for the first time in a game against Williamstown in this round 10 clash. There was also a 1-point loss at Toorak Park in what The Argus described as a 'very rough struggle. There were many hard knocks, and on several occasions in the final quarter opposing players came to blows.' Just before half-time in this game, a long-time supporter of the Club, Mr Ludwig (Lou) Holmes, collapsed and died at the age of 62.
VFA Recorder from round 2, 1928, of the Williamstown v. Northcote game at Westgarth Street, won by 'Town 8.18.66 to 5.10.40. Captain, Leon 'Onty' Beer, kicked 4 goals while full-back, Ted Clauscen, was best afield.
VFA scores, ladder and goalkickers after round 1 of the 1928 season.
The season's third and final victory by 4 goals came in round 11 at Williamstown against Northcote (Kenny and Clauscen 4 goals each, Beer best). The home-and-away rounds concluded with 7 successive losses including sizeable defeats by eventual finalists Brighton by 64 points, Camberwell by 28 points and Coburg by 48 points. The game at Camberwell was notable for the Cobra's amazing inaccuracy in kicking 7.34 to Williamstown's 7.6. At one stage during the game Camberwell scored just one goal from 20 attempts. Both games against neighbouring newcomers, Yarraville, resulted in defeats, with the game in round 9 at Yarraville attracting a crowd of 8,000.
Tom Kenny was leading goalscorer for the year with 18, followed by recruit Con Sheehan on 16, captain-coach Leon Beer with 14 and Hughie Munro 13. The team kicked a total of 131 goals and 188 behinds (974 points) while the opposition booted 201 goals and 285 behinds (1491 points). Roy McKay finished equal third in the Recorder Cup, while captain-coach, Leon Beer, was equal fourth. The Club reverted its guernsey design to a yellow waist band instead of the sash for this season, perhaps due to the influx of recruits from Williamstown CYMS which also wore the band, including Bertie Crellin, George Taafe senior, Alf Bliss and 1927 CY's captain J. Leader, but the Club soon reverted to its usual sash. Hughie Munro received life membership after completing 100 games during the 1928 season along with long-serving committeeman, Bert Moon, at the annual meeting in respect of the 1928 season held in December.
Harry Clapson joined Williamstown from Yarraville during 1928 and played 29 senior games and kicked 3 goals up until the end of 1930. He had played earlier with Essendon Association, North Melbourne VFA and Norwood in the SANFL before returning to play with North in their first season in the VFL in 1925. After 7 games and 3 goals, Clapson transferred to Yarraville.
VFA Recorder from round 3, 1928, of the Williamstown v. Preston game at Williamstown, won by Preston 9.13.67 to 6.10.46. Captain, Leon 'Onty' Beer, kicked 2 goals while full-back, Ted Clauscen, was best for the Villagers.
VFA scores, ladder and goalkickers after round 2 of the 1928 season.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the goalscorers of 1928
Tom 'Pomp' Kenny, played 44 games and kicked 39 goals from 1926-28 after being recruited from Williamstown Juniors, and was leading goalscorer in 1928 with 18 majors for the season.
Coburg had been in the Association for only four seasons and had made the finals every year, won its third successive premiership having played a total of 76 matches for 63 wins, 1 draw and 12 defeats. Williamstown had lost every one of their eight encounters by an average of 10 goals. However, the 'Burgers would miss the finals in 1929 and not win another pennant until 1979. 'Town defeated Coburg for the first time in round 14 of 1929 by 6 points at Williamstown.
The issue of a new pavilion at the cricket ground was not unanimously supported at Council as some councilors were of the view that it was not central enough to serve the city's sporting requirements and the Market Street Reserve in Newport deserved greater attention due to its location. Councilor Briggs described the cricket ground as 'a cold, bleak place, upon which it was foolish to spend money. It was in a part of the city that was dead.' Councilor Gray was of a different opinion and believed that the Football Club 'would get into the league (VFL) and big gates would follow.' Councilor Liston, the Football Club president, stated that 'the city had long borne the stigma of having the worst ground in the metropolitan area.' There were fears that the Victorian Cricket Association and the VFA may even remove Williamstown from their lists of senior teams. The Williamstown Advertiser reported on 31 March 1928 that the Health Department claimed that the pavilion 'is in such a state of dilapidation as to be unsafe and insanitary.' A reporter visited the ground 'and found the conditions even worse than reported previously. The grandstand, which was built about 40 years ago, is in a positively dangerous state. Unpainted for years, it is in the last stages of decay. Dirt and filth meet the eye at every turn, the dark and musty atmosphere give a feeling of apprehension on entering. Broken windows have been covered with bags and sheets of tin in an effort to keep out the biting winds in winter and the sun in the summer months. Wherever one walks, the floor, which in places is worn almost through, creaks ominously. The iron roof is corroded everywhere, and spouting and what was once ornamental ironwork, threaten to fall as the wind whistles through the structure. Broken electric lights and beer bottles add a further note of desolation. The sanitary conveniences are a positive disgrace. There is not even a notice on them to show which is for ladies and which for the opposite sex. Unsewered, these so-called conveniences are a breeding place for disease. Inside no facilities of any kind are provided - a state of affairs which would cause caustic comment in the smallest country town.' The Williamstown Advertiser also reported on August 25 that 'complaints had been made by visiting clubs regarding the lack of sanitary conveniences for both sexes at the cricket ground. Players had complained of the condition of the floor of the pavilion and the bathrooms, with the absence of a proper hot water service'.
Len Murphy crossed to Collingwood without a clearance in 1928 and would go on to play 173 games for the Magpies until the end of 1937 and appear in three consecutive VFL premierships from 1928-30. He also captain-coached Oakleigh in 1939 and played for Footscray in 1940-41. Murphy played 15 games and kicked 7 goals for Williamstown in 1927 after coming from Collingwood Juniors and Thornbury CYMS before that.
Eventually the Council agreed in October 1928 that 8,000 pounds be allocated for the construction of a new pavilion and other improvements at the ground, despite the Town Clerk, Fred Ogden, campaigning for 12,000 pounds to be budgeted for the works. Subsequently, the conveniences for the outer reserve at the ground were dispensed with due to shortage of money, an issue that would cause a crisis in latter years. Tenders for the erection of a reinforced concrete grandstand were called for by the Council in July 1929, and Donald & Co. was accepted as the successful tenderer at a Council meeting in August. It was the lowest tender at 9,907 pounds. Construction had commenced by the end of the month and was expected to be completed by mid-January 1930. The grandstand, which was named the W.L. Floyd Pavilion in 1963 in honour of long-serving secretary, Larry Floyd, had its official opening by the Mayor, Cr. G. Paine, on April 5 1930 followed by an athletic carnival on the ground and a dance in the evening in the Town Hall. The final cost of the stand was 10,000 pounds.
Former player of 1884-1897 (86 games and 11 goals), captain of 1886-87, secretary of 1888-89 and 1903, assistant secretary of 1885 & 1903, committeeman 1890-95, the Club's VFA delegate from 1887-97 & 1900, vice-president from 1904-08 and VFA secretary of 1897-99, Martin Joseph 'Tottie' Fitzpatrick, passed away on 25 May 1928 at the age of 63 at his residence in Oakbank Street, Newport. He also represented Williamstown's Second Twenty as a player and captain and also played for 'Town in 1883 before it gained 'senior' status. In later life, he acted as one of the Club's honorary auditors.
Williamstown Chronicle, May 26, 1928
Jack Lord's transfer to Prahran gained some notoriety later in the year following the Two Blue's visit to Williamstown in round 15. Lord wrote to the Williamstown Chronicle on August 11 as a result of some heckling he received and he stated that 'judging by the attitude and conduct of many of Williamstown's supporters last Saturday towards me .... it is evident that there is a misunderstanding as regards my transfer this season.' He went on to say that when he was advised at the 1927 annual meeting that the Club could not afford the same fee he was paid in 1927, he agreed to a reduction from 6 pounds to 4 pounds per week and was assured by the secretary, Joe Black, that he would retain his position as captain-coach. On that basis he refused several other coaching offers from Association clubs, but was then subsequently advised that he would not be re-appointed even if he offered to coach for nothing and that 'the position would be advertised to enable a certain player applying and securing the job'. Joe Black responded in the Chronicle on September 1 that when the applications of Lord and the successful candidate, Leon 'Onty' Beer, were put to the committee of 14 that were present, 11 voted for Beer while only 3 were in favour of Lord. Refer correspondence below.
Williamstown Chronicle, August 11, 1928
Williamstown Chronicle, September 1, 1928
Williamstown Chronicle, September 1, 1928
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