Season Summary: 1935
Jim McConville commenced his long association with the Club in 1935 when he became a committeeman. After serving another year on the committee in 1936, he was appointed treasurer from 1937-39 and then became secretary in 1940 after Larry Floyd relinquished the post following the 1939 premiership success. After serving in that role until the war recess in 1942, he then returned to the treasurer's role upon the resumption in 1945 and continued until the end of the 1957 season. He then served as a vice-president in 1958/59. Awarded life membership in 1948, McConville passed away in June 1969.
The first move by the new committee led by Larry Floyd was to appoint champion full-back, Fred Brooks, as captain-coach with Reg 'Dodger' Taylor vice-captain for 1935. Former senior player (83 games 13 goals, 1927-33), Leo Drew, became playing coach of the Seconds. New recruits included Roy Raeburn from Brunswick Seconds, Harry Smith from Williamstown Seconds, Bill 'Tiger' Knight from Williamstown District, R. Slaughter, C.C. Baldock and Desmond Mooney from the Footscray District League, Alf 'Pud' Pannell and Harry Thompson from Yarraville, Pat Power from Port Melbourne, W.J. Dixon from Newport and Alan Dann from Williamstown Juniors. Arthur Cutting returned from Westmere/Wimmera Rovers and G.W. Saynor, who last played for the Villagers in 1928, also returned. Knight, along with Alan Harsley, both from Williamstown District, played in every match in this season, as did Brooks, Taylor and Stan Lawler.
Captain-coach, best and fairest winner and leading goalkicker of 1934, Ted Cahill, retired after 6 seasons, 77 games and 163 goals with Williamstown. Billy Blake transferred to Yarraville after 76 games and 82 goals from 1930-34. For the first time since 1909, the Club did not have Cr John 'Jack' Dennis as one of its VFA delegates, and Captain James Fearon also stepped down from the role after serving since 1928. They were replaced by Jim Foley and John 'Jack' Le Brun, who would both serve up until the Second World War recess in 1942. Foley continued on as a delegate up until 1951, while Le Brun returned to the role in 1948 and served up until 1956.
Argus, April 3 1935 - Captain-coach, best and fairest winner and leading goalkicker of 1934, Ted Cahill, retired after 6 seasons, 77 games and 163 goals with Williamstown.
The season got off to a bad start with a 95-point loss to the eventual premier, Yarraville, 17.26.128 to 4.9.33. An inaccurate Villians team kicked 5.15 with the wind in the first quarter and should have won by more. The Age reported that 'the game at Yarraville was played in a quagmire, in a continuous drizzle, supplemented by lashing southerly squalls, which became more frequent as the game progressed.' The first home game was played just two days later against Oakleigh and resulted in a narrow loss by a goal. The scores were level at 10.11 apiece late in the game when the 'Oaks' Ryan scored a goal but Williamstown attacked strongly and newcomer Slaughter received a free kick on the boundary line but his kick for goal sailed wide as the final bell sounded. The Age reported that 'rushing into the arena shortly before half-time, two horses held up the game at Williamstown until chased off the ground by the players'. An 86-point loss at Camberwell followed, with 'Snowie' Lawler booting 6 of Williamstown's ten goals. The game was lost in the second quarter when the Cobras added 11.5 to 1.1 by the 'Town.
Included on the Yarraville list was former Williamstown player, Con Sheehan (#6), and making his senior VFA debut, Matt Cave (#16). Sheehan had played 77 games and kicked 58 goals for Williamstown from 1928 until round 1 of the 1932 season when he was cleared to Yarraville on residential grounds. He was Yarraville's captain-coach in 1934 before being replaced by former Footscray star, Allan Hopkins, in 1935. Cave has played previously with Footscray (1932-33) and St Kilda (1933-34) and played 64 games with the Eagles up until the end of 1938 when he crossed to Williamstown and was first ruck in the 1939 premiership team. He played a total of 42 games and kicked 18 goals for 'Town up until the war recess at the end of 1941 but made only two senior appearances in his final season due to work committments and injuries.
The first victory for the year came in round 4 over Port Melbourne at Williamstown by 9 points, 12.19 to 12.10. The Villagers kicked 1.9 to 2.1 with the wind in the final quarter and looked likely to squander the chance of victory before Stan 'Snowy' Lawler goaled to steady the side, which should have won by more. It was the first win against the Borough since 1930, which incorporated 7 consecutive defeats. A loss to Brunswick at Pt Gellibrand the following week by 15 points was due to the failure of the Villagers to take advantage of the strong wind in the last quarter, adding just 1.5 to 1.3. Newcomer and former Brunswick player, Roy Raeburn, was suspended for 4 matches for striking Mitchell of Brunswick in this match. Another big defeat by 63 points at Elsternwick at the hands of Brighton followed, which would have been larger except for the Penguins' inaccuracy in the third quarter when it kicked 3.17 to 1.0.
Argus, June 12 1935 - Williamstown's parlous financial position became evident during the season and the local Council responded by making a grant of 200 pounds in October which allowed the Club to liquidate its considerable debt.
By round 6 Williamstown was in a familiar position at the foot of the ladder, and The Argus reported on 21 May 1935 that 'for a considerable time, officials of the Williamstown Football Club have been dismayed by the lack of support from the district, and it has considered disbanding. The Club suffered severely during the period of depression, and its finances were at a low ebb last season. Poor attendances at home matches and a low position on the premiership list were among the causes. The Club is now struggling to regain its former prestige. The possibility of the club being forced to disband because of lack of support had been mentioned recently, but the committee and supporters are anxious to avoid that step. It has been said that several members of the committee have stated they will not continue unless more support is given to the club by the residents of the district'.
The team responded positively the following Saturday, notching up the second win of the season, downing Preston at Williamstown by 35 points in the first victory over the Bullants since 1932. This elevated the Villagers to 11th position on the ladder, the highest it would reach all year. Reality returned the next week with the season's biggest defeat, a 99-point belting at Toorak Park. Prahran led by just 9 points at half-time before adding 17 goals to 3 in the second half. Stan Lawler kicked 5 of Williamstown's nine goals for the match while Eric Grandison, the Two Blues' full-forward, booted 11.1. Another eight consecutive losses followed, with the 23-point defeat at Oakleigh in round 13 being the smallest margin. In the round 12 game at Williamstown against eventual premier Yarraville, the Villagers trailed by just 4 points at half time before adding just 3.3 in the last two quarters to 14.6 by the visitors.
Emerald Hill Record, June 2, 1934 - President 1931-35, James Taylor 'Jim' Gray, stepped down from the role at the end of the season and also left the oil company he had been managing, where he had found jobs for six or seven of the players at the time. When Gray left the company, so did they - from their jobs and the Club. Gray remained on as a vice-president in 1936 and 1937, a role he had occupied in 1929 and 1930 before becoming president.
The third and final victory for the season came in the penultimate round with a 28-point win over Sandringham at Williamstown. The Zebras had only 11 players at the scheduled start of the game due to several members of the team missing their train and, after a 10-minute delay, managed to take the field with 13. It wasn't until half way through the first quarter that another three players appeared. Amazingly, Sandringham led by 13 points at half-time, and former secretary, Malcolm Beith, pulled on the boots after the long break to take the numbers up to 17. The Villagers gained the ascendancy after half-time and added 9.6 to 3.1 to run out comfortable winners. The miserable season concluded with a 78-point defeat at Coburg. Only three matches were won and last place on the ladder ensued for the second year in a row, with a poor percentage of 58.86%. Sandringham and Brighton also managed just three wins but both had a superior percentage to Williamstown.
The Herald, June 22, 1935 - the line-ups for the round 11 match at Williamstown, won by Coburg by 66 points, 21.16.142 to 11.10.76. The 'Burgers led by only 15 points at three-quarter time before booting 8.10 to 1.1 in the last term. The first goal of the game was kicked by Fred Brooks, captain-coach in this season, one of only three majors booted by Brooks in his 111 games for 'Town, which was spent mostly at full-back.
In The Argus of July 19 1935 it was reported that 'a proposal has been made that the club should shift its headquarters to the Newport Ground and play its matches there. The Newport Ground is in excellent condition, is well appointed, and has none of the degrees of isolation which have retarded the development of the Williamstown ground. It is probable that the club would gain public support if it played at Newport. Hundreds of Newport, Spotswood and Altona residents prefer to travel to Yarraville or Footscray to see football matches there rather than visit the Williamstown ground.'
The Australasian, May 18 1935 - William Henry 'Billy' Williams (22/01/1866-14/5/1935) passed away during the year, aged 69. He played one game for Williamstown in 1894 before transferring to North Williamstown the same year, and was 'Town's VFA Club delegate in 1890 and 1893-94. He also played cricket for Williamstown, topping the bowling averages in 1887/88 and the batting averages in 1889/90, 1892/93 & 1893/94, and also played against W.G. Grace's XI at Williamstown on January 13, 1892. He was the MLA for St Kilda from 1901-03 and served as a Victorian County Court judge from 1919 until his death.
Captain-coach Fred Brooks never missed a match and tied with Jim Dowling of Brunswick for the VFA Medal and scored the most votes for the Club in the Recorder Cup, won by Les White of Prahran. Reg 'Dodger' Taylor, Stan Lawler, along with Williamstown District recruits, Bill Knight and Alan Harsley, were the others to appear in all 18 home-and-away matches. At the annual meeting in respect of the 1935 season held at the Town Hall in January 1936, Brooks also won the Club best & fairest, Allan Harsley was awarded the most improved junior player for the year and Roy Raeburn the most consistent player. Life memberships were bestowed on club secretaries Larry Floyd and Arch Rennie. Games records began to be kept by Larry Floyd from this season onwards - refer extracts from his book below.
Stan 'Snowie' Lawler kicked 60 goals, more than a third of the total goals scored by the team for the year, and finished second on the VFA list behind Bill Luff of Camberwell with 75. Jack Pitts with 23, Roy Raeburn 19 and Bill Knight 10 were other goalscorers in double figures. The team kicked 166 goals and 188 behinds (1184 points) while the opposition booted a record twelve centuries against the Villagers and totalled 289 goals and 290 behinds (2024 points), the highest amount ever kicked against 'Town.
James Hocking, pictured here when Town Clerk of Williamstown in 1937, became a vice-president of the Club in 1935 and remained in the role until 1945.
Following a request from the Football Club, the Williamstown Council decided in October 1935 to make a grant of 200 pounds to enable the Club to liquidate its debts. The end-of-season trip was to Daylesford for a weekend, the first in many years.
Controversial captain-coach of 1907, Paddy Noonan, passed away suddenly at his home in Canterbury on 27 January, 1935, at the age of 59, as did former stout defender from 1892-99, Malcolm 'Mallee' McCallum, who played 83 games for 'Town after being recruited from South Williamstown Juniors. He died on September 11 at his home in Thompson Street at the age of 63.
John James Liston, Williamstown president 1923-30, pictured in The Herald, June 22, 1935.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the games played and goalscorers of 1935.
Argus, August 20 1935
Captain-coach of 1907, Paddy Noonan, passed away suddenly at his home in Canterbury on 27 January, 1935, at the age of 59. Noonan sensationally resigned on the eve of the finals in 1907 and vice-captain, Ted Alley, led the team to the Club's first premiership in that season.
Sporting Globe, January 30, 1935
The Age, January 28, 1935
The Argus, September 12, 1935
The Sporting Globe, September 18, 1935
Larry Floyd commenced his nine-year reign as Club secretary in 1935. This stint lasted up until the end of the 1939 premiership year but he returned to the post in 1945 after the war recess and stayed on until the end of 1946. Floyd then took up the reigns again in 1948 and remained until the end of 1949. He was also the Club's VFA delegate from 1945-48. His three stints as secretary all coincided with premierships (1939, 1945, 1949).
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