Season Summary: 1938
Williamstown Chronicle, September 3 1948 - Cr Ernest W. Jackson became president in 1938 following the death of his predecessor, John Robert Bell, on December 3 1937. Bell had been president in 1936 and 1937.
1938 saw the introduction to the VFA of the controversial 'throw-pass' and the scrapping of the permit agreement with the VFL that had been in force since 1931. This latter move meant players could move between the two competitions without a clearance and, as a result, South Melbourne champion Laurie Nash transferred to Camberwell as captain-coach at the end of March without a clearance on a salary of 8 pounds per week, in what was described at the time as probably the greatest football coup ever. Nash was in his prime at 27 years of age and had captained South in 1937. This development would prove to have a profound effect on Williamstown in 1940 and 1941, and lay the foundations for an almost continual run of success that would last for a quarter of a century. The adoption of the 'throw-pass' virtually isolated the Association because it was a departure from the established code as laid down by the Australian National Football Council (ANFC), but it sped up VFA football and led to higher scoring which was a winner with the public and helped lift attendances.
The Argus announced on February 8 that 'Harry Vallence, the leading Carlton forward, has been appointed playing coach of the Williamstown Football Club.' Vallence had been in dispute with Carlton since the year before when he returned from representing Victoria in the ANFC carnival in Perth to find himself selected at centre half-back in the Seconds. Williamstown were confident that because of 'Soapy's' long service to the Blues (185 games and 641 goals), a clearance would be granted. Three days later the Argus reported that Carlton had refused to grant Vallence a clearance due to new coach of the Blues, Brighton Diggins (who had quit South Melbourne as a result of Nash's selection as captain), insisting on the star forward being retained. 'Soapy' returned to Carlton, kicked 81 goals and played in the premiership victory over Collingwood and then a grateful committee released him to Williamstown for the 1939 season at the age of 33. It was announced in The Age on March 4 that 5 times Collingwood premiership full-back, Charlie Dibbs, had been appointed coach but he elected to coach Essendon Seconds instead. An approach was made to obtain the services of former Footscray captain and best & fairest winner, Allan Hopkins, who was almost 34 years of age and coach of St Kilda Seconds, but nothing came of it.
Williamstown signed Carlton's star full-forward, Harry 'Soapy' Vallence, as captain-coach prior to the 1938 season for a reputed fee of 5 pounds per week but the Blues refused to clear him and eventually 1937 vice-captain, George Jerram, was appointed to the position.
The Age, February 7 1938
The Argus, February 8 1938
The Age, April 4, 1938
Overtures were also made by Williamstown to Collingwood's young forward, Ron Todd, after a Williamstown councillor, Allan Deacon, who worked with the 21yo Collingwood full-forward at the Transport Regulation Board, told the Club that Todd was interested in any offer from Williamstown. Todd was interested enough to apply for a transfer but it was refused by the Magpies and he would not leave without a clearance. However, the Argus reported on April 12 that Todd 'was prepared to risk disqualification by transferring to Williamstown without a clearance but he was hindered by the prospect of losing monetary interest in the Collingwood players provident fund. The Collingwood secretary (Frank Wraith) expressed astonishment at the story that Todd contemplated leaving the club and going to Williamstown. 'I knew nothing about it until I read it in The Argus this morning, he added.' In the end the Club was not in the financial position to compensate Todd with a lucrative contract and negotiations ceased for the time being but would be resurrected two years later.
The Age, April 11, 1938
Vice-captain of 1937, George Jerram, was elevated to captain-coach on March 22 narrowly over Neville Huggins, who was thought to be too much of an individualist, lacked the ability to bring teamwork into the side and would be an even better player without the burden of captaincy. Huggins was made vice-captain but was replaced by Arthur Cutting when he (Huggins) transferred to Prahran after round 8, but he only played three senior games with the Two Blues after re-injuring his knee against Coburg in round 5 when still with Williamstown. Huggins also applied for the captain-coach position at St Kilda in March without success and trained with Yarraville, North Melbourne and the Saints in the pre-season and with South Melbourne in May when he was 'temporarily retired' due to his knee problems.
Full-forward, Stan Lawler, also sought a clearance to Prahran after round 4 in a 'desire to make a fresh start' after 62 games and 213 goals since 1934, but had a change of heart after just two games with the Two Blues and was back at Williamstown by round 9, playing in the Seconds. Former triple best and fairest winner, 31yo Arthur 'Porky' Sykes, made a comeback in this season after four years out of the VFA, including stints at North Melbourne (1935) and two years at Hartwell (1936-37), but this time with Camberwell, to which he was cleared in May. Sykes was described by Club secretary of the time, Larry Floyd, as 'the finest footballer to play with Williamstown since the (First World) war.' Sykes played 125 games over 8 seasons from 1926-34. He debuted in round 9 for the 'Wellers against Brunswick but only played a handful of games. 1935 captain-coach and best and fairest winner, Fred Brooks, retired before the start of the season after being transferred to South Melbourne Techical School in his employment. Remarkably, Brooks played 111 out of a possible 112 games during his six seasons with Williamstown.
George Fitch came to Williamstown in 1938 from Williamstown District and Newport and before that. He would go on to play 78 games and kick 30 goals up until round 9 of 1945 (excluding the war recess of 1942-44) when he transferred to Darwin in relation to his employment. Fitch played in the centre in the 1939 premiership victory and was awarded the most useful player trophy in that year and finished in third place in the Club best and fairest award in 1940. He transferred to Yarraville upon his return in 1946 and his first appearance for the Villians was at Williamstown in round one in an 88-point defeat at the hands of the Seagulls, with Ron Todd booting 13 goals. Fitch's son, Gary, also played 27 games for Williamstown from 1964-70, including the 1964 grand final and the Seconds' premierships of 1966 and 1969. He was awarded the Seconds best and fairest award in 1970.
Jack Richardson and Stan Lawler both did pre-season training at North Melbourne but returned to Williamstown. However, Lawler also sought a clearance to Prahran after round 4 in a 'desire to make a fresh start' after 62 games and 213 goals since 1934, but had a change of heart after just two games with the Two Blues and was back at Williamstown by round 9, playing in the Seconds. Former triple best and fairest winner, 31yo Arthur 'Porky' Sykes, made a comeback in this season after four years out of the VFA, including stints at North Melbourne (1935) and two years at Hartwell (1936-37), but this time with Camberwell, to which he was cleared in May. Sykes was described by Club secretary of the time, Larry Floyd, as 'the finest footballer to play with Williamstown since the (First World) war.' Sykes played 125 games over 8 seasons from 1926-34. He debuted in round 9 for the 'Wellers against Brunswick but only played a handful of games. 1935 captain-coach and best and fairest winner, Fred Brooks, retired before the start of the season after being transferred to South Melbourne Techical School in his employment. Remarkably, Brooks played 111 out of a possible 112 games during his six seasons with Williamstown, missing just one game, against Prahran in round 21 of 1933, with influenza. Amateur, Peter 'The Cad' Robertson, who occasionally wore a bowler hat and spoke several languages, transferred to Canberra in his employment and played for Acton.
Due to the late appointment of a coach, committeeman George Hird took charge of training and practice matches but had a disagreement with the new coach, George Jerram, and resigned which resulted in his son, Allan Hird snr, grandfather of future Essendon champion James Hird, being cleared back to Hawthorn in May after 7 senior games with 'Town in 1937 and 5 in 1938. After 14 senior games with the Hawks in 1938-39, Hird then went to Essendon in 1940 where he became a regular senior player for many years and played over 100 games up until the end of 1945, including the 1942 premiership.
Argus, April 12 1938
New recruits included Reg Thomas (South Melbourne), Colin Wilcox (Melbourne Seconds), Cliff Johnson (South Bendigo), Jack McDonagh (Footscray), Jim Quinn (Hawthorn Seconds), Ted Cahill's younger brother, 18 y.o. Pat (Footscray District League), Ossie Maloney from Flemington CYMS and George Fitch, Brian Hall and Stan Jamieson from local side, Williamstown District. Thomas came without a clearance from South Seconds where he was playing coach. Charlie Walsh returned to the Club after a stint with South Ballarat after earlier playing with 'Town in 1931-33. Graham Brown joined from Sunshine but transferred to Newells FC during the season after three senior games. Alex Burnett came from Warrnambool and kicked 5 goals on debut at Sandringham in round 6 but got injured the next week against Northcote and never played a senior game again. He returned to Warrnambool later in the season. R.A. Scheurer from Riddell, Bill Bamford from Coburg, R. McDonald from South Footscray and Ray Hodgins from Hastings were others to make a senior appearance during the season. Amateur, Peter 'The Cad' Robertson, transferred to Canberra in his employment and played for Acton. Allan Hird snr, grandfather of future Essendon champion James Hird, was cleared back to Hawthorn in May after 12 senior games with 'Town.
Back Row: Mick Maloney, Frank Hewson, Bill Thomson, George Flett
Middle Row: George Rogers, Bert Paterson, Alex Bond, Fred Harden jnr, Jim Foley, Ern Pinckney, Albert Wilkins
Front Row: Joe Connery, Bert Moon, Larry Floyd (secretary), Ernest Jackson (president), Jim McConville (treasurer), Fred Harsley, Alan Harsley
After surprisingly winning the opening wind-affected game at Yarraville against one of the previous year's finalists by two goals, only one more victory occurred and the last eleven matches were lost in succession and the team finished on the bottom of the ladder, 3 games behind Sandringham. After leading Yarraville by 46 points at quarter-time due to the strong breeze, the Villians fought back and took the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the last term but the Villagers managed to get home thanks to 5 goals from Stan 'Snowy' Lawler. It was 'Town's first round one victory away from home in 8 seasons, the first win at Yarraville since round 1 of 1931 and the first victory away from Williamstown since the 9-goal win at Port Melbourne in round 18 of 1936. Camberwell visited Williamstown in round 2 with South Melbourne recruits, captain Laurie Nash and Terry Brain, dominating and led by 80 points at the last break before the Villagers reduced the margin to 49 points by the final bell. In another wind-affected encounter, 18.27 was kicked at one end of the ground and just 2.2 at the other. Williamstown failed to score in either the first or third quarters and only managed 1.7 to 1.2 with the wind in the second quarter. Recruit George Fitch booted 4 goals while Brain kicked 5 and Nash 4 for the victorious Tricolours. This was Camberwell's 11th consecutive win over Williamstown.
Williamstown led at Oakleigh by 3 goals at the last change in another wind-affected match in round 3 before the 'Oaks added 6.8 to 2.3 in the last term to sweep to victory by 11 points. Oakleigh's poor accuracy kept the Villagers in touch and the final margin should perhaps have been much larger than the final score of 13.28.106 to 14.11.95. At one stage of the game, Oakleigh's scoreline read 7.22. Lawler kicked another bag of 5 and was Williamstown's best player while captain-coach, George Jerram, sustained a broken collarbone and Allan Hird snr a broken thumb. Port Melbourne broke through for their first win of the season at Williamstown in round 4 with a 16-point victory after the Villagers once again led at three-quarter time, this time by 3 points before Port added 3.7 to 1.0 in the last term. Stan Lawler transferred to Prahran during the next week following this game but after just two games with the Two Blues he was back at Williamstown.
George Jerram, pictured here in the VFL Record of round 3 1931, was appointed captain-coach in 1938 after being vice-captain to former North Melbourne teammate, Neville Huggins, in 1936/37.
The highlight of the season came in round 5 at Williamstown with an 8-point victory over Coburg, 'Town's second and final win for the 1938 season. 'Town led at the end of each quarter by ever-diminishing margins and the 'Burgers hit the front with ten minutes remaining in the last term before a goal to Des Rowan broke a run of 16 consecutive behinds since the first quarter by Williamstown. Jack Paterson regained the lead with a major then Rowan with another sealed the victory. Arthur Cutting was best for the Villagers while Neville Huggins re-injured his knee early in this match and was carried from the ground. Stan 'Nugget' Jamieson, a nephew of 1921 premiership star, Jim 'Corker' Jamieson, debuted in this game. The win elevated Williamstown to ninth position on the 12-team ladder.
Colin Wilcox transferred from Melbourne Seconds in 1938 and went on to be the Club games record-holder with 173 senior appearances up until the end of 1949, excluding the war recess period of 1942-44, overtaking Arthur Cutting who played 159 senior games. Originally from Wodonga, he played on the half-back line in three premierships sides (1939, 1945 & 1949), the first Williamstown player to do so, and was best player in the 1939 triumph. He also played on the half-back flank in the 1948 grand final, which the Seagulls lost to Brighton. Wilcox won the Club best & fairest award in 1948, and was runner-up in 1938, 1940, 1941 & 1945. He was awarded the most effective player trophy in 1946, the most consistent player in 1947 and the second best player in the 1949 finals series. He abruptly resigned before the 1950 season when coach, Gordon Ogden, was controversially replaced by Melbourne's Adrian Dullard. Wilcox was selected on a half-back flank in the Williamstown Team of the Century, is a member of the Williamstown Hall of Fame and was awarded life membership.
The first of 11 consecutive defeats took place at Sandringham the following week in a match that would result in the highest combined score to date in the VFA's history (refer newspaper report below). Williamstown's 21.16.142, the VFA's highest losing score to date, fell two goals short of Sandy's 22.22.154 despite the Villagers leading by 23 points at the last change of ends before the Zebras unleashed a 9.6 to 4.1 final quarter blitz, including four goals in as many minutes at the end of the term. (Sandringham also featured in the previous highest combined score of 284 in a game against Oakleigh in 1933. This record would be broken in round 10 of 1939 when Brunswick scored 31.15.201 to Oakleigh's 17.21.123. Harold Jones of Brunswick booted 16 goals.) Warrnambool recruit, Alex Burnett, was called into the team to replace the injured Neville Huggins and kicked 5 goals on debut for 'Town, while future games record holder, Colin Wilcox, also debuted in this game at full-forward. Burnett, however, played the following game, sustained a serious ankle injury and then returned to Warrnambool later in the season. Three Williamstown players in Jack Richardson (elbowing, 4 weeks suspension), Reg Thomas (chopping with a clenched fist, reprimanded) and Stan Raeburn (twice for kicking, 4 weeks suspension) were reported in this game.
Eventual preliminary finalist, Northcote, visited Williamstown for the round 7 encounter and led by 81 points at three-quarter time before the Villagers kicked 6.4 to 1.4 in the last term to reduce the final margin to 51 points, with the 'Cote's only major for the quarter coming right on the final bell. This was Northcote's 7th consecutive victory over 'Town and their 14th victory in the past 16 clashes. After the game, former captain-coach, Neville Huggins, announced his temporary retirement from football due to ongoing issues with his knee which prevented him from playing regularly and two weeks later he was cleared to Prahran.
Former captain-coach of 1936-37, Club best & fairest winner of 1936-37, VFA Medal winner of 1936-37 and Recorder Cup winner of 1937, Neville Huggins, was cleared to Prahran in early June two weeks after announcing his temporary retirement due to a recurrent knee injury but only played three senior games with the Two Blues.
The season's biggest defeat was suffered in round 8 at Toorak Park against eventual finalist, Prahran, going down by 103 points, 26.27.183 to 11.14.80. The Two Blues had kicked 16.11.107 by half-time against the weakest Williamstown side fielded for many years due to injuries, disqualifications and unavailability. Colin Wilcox was married on this day and a teammate was best man. The next game against Preston at Williamstown saw 'Town trailing by just one point at three-quarter time before the visitors added 9.6 to a solitary goal by the Villagers to run out 55 point victors. Keith Rae kicked 5 goals for Williamstown until three-quarter time before being moved to the centre after booting 8 for the Seconds the week before and Arthur Cutting was best player.
Williamstown travelled to Elsternwick Park in round 10 to take on eventual runner-up Brighton before a crowd of 6,000. Despite having four players unavailable due to injury, the Penguins led at every change to run out 38 point victors with Keith Rae again kicking 5 goals and Arthur Cutting best player for 'Town once again. Stan Lawler, who returned to the Villagers after a brief stint with Prahran, played in the Seconds and booted 12 goals in a 136 point victory. This was the Penguins' ninth victory over Williamstown in their last ten encounters. The unbeaten Brunswick visited Williamstown in round 11 and, in a wind-affected match, the eventual premiers triumphed by 38 points despite 'Town leading by 16 points at the last change of ends. The margin should have been far greater as the Villagers kicked six consecutive behinds before kicking a goal in the third quarter, while Brunswick failed to score at all. The 'Wicks booted 8.7 to 0.1 in the last quarter with the advantage of the strong breeze which saw 21.25 scored at one end of the ground and just 3.7 at the other. Colin Wilcox was best for 'Town. It was Brunswick's sixth consecutive victory over the last-placed Williamstown.
Cliff Johnson came to Williamstown in 1938 from South Bendigo and Raywood before that. He would go on to play 66 games and kick 5 goals with 'Town up until 1946, although he didn't play many games after the war recess of 1942-44, managing just 8 games in 1945, which included the grand final, and one in 1946 before retiring. In his first season he was reported by a boundary umpire during the last quarter of the round 13 game at Camberwell on a charge of kicking a Camberwell opponent and was subsequently suspended for 12 matches. He came back to play in both the 1939 and 1945 premiership teams and was awarded the most reliable player in 1939 and the most improved player in 1941.
The closest match of the year came in round 12 when neighbouring Yarraville visited Williamstown and led at every change before getting home by just 3 points to avenge the earlier defeat at Yarraville in round 1. Future Williamstown premiership player, Matt Cave, booted 3 consecutive goals for the Villians in the last quarter to put them 23 points in front halfway through the term and the game seemingly out of 'Town's reach. The Villagers fought on and, when Reg Thomas goaled, only five points separated the teams. Williamstown added two further behinds, with Jack Richardson, back in the team after four weeks suspension, missing the easiest of shots as the bell rang. Hawthorn Seconds recruit, Jim Quinn, was named best player for 'Town.
South Melbourne's Laurie Nash and Terry Brain again dominated at Camberwell in the round 13 encounter, with captain-coach Nash booting 8 goals and Brain 5 as the 'Wellers romped home by 59 points after Williamstown led by 8 points at quarter time. First-year player, Cliff Johnson, was reported by a boundary umpire during the last quarter with kicking a Camberwell opponent and was subsequently suspended for 12 matches. Eddie Deller was best for 'Town. The season's second largest defeat occurred at Westgarth Street the following week where Williamstown, playing their worst football for the season, found themselves nine goals down at quarter-time against Northcote, 65 points behind at half-time and 95 points in arrears at the last change of ends. 'Town outscored Northcote in the last term to reduce the margin to 87 points by the final bell. Rover, Jack Paterson, was leading goalkicker with 3 and was best player for the Villagers. Stan Lawler made his comeback in this match after crossing to Prahran earlier in the season but returned after just two games with the Two Blues.
Stan 'Nugget' Jamieson, nephew of 1921 premiership star, Jim 'Corker' Jamieson, came to Williamstown in 1938 from Williamstown District and Williamstown CYMS before that. He would go on to play 66 games and kick 84 goals with 'Town, with most of these played up until the war recess, when he joined the army. He did return to play 10 games in 1946 before retiring and moving to Geelong but he did return to play with Newport in 1948. Jamieson played on a half-forward flank in the 1939 premiership win and also played in the Seconds premiership victory in 1941. Both these games were played on the MCG and he and Jim Quinn, captain-coach of the Reserves team, remain the only Williamstown players to play in two premiership teams on the MCG. He was awarded the most improved player in the 1939 season.
The final home game for the season was against Prahran, which had inflicted the year's largest defeat by over 100 points at Toorak Park in round 8. Williamstown got away to a flying start to lead by 3 goals with the aid of the breeze by quarter time, but the Two Blues had regained control by half-time to lead by 8 points. With the wind at their backs, 'Town added 5 goals to 1 in the third term to lead by 15 points at the last change of ends but Prahran ran out victors by 17 points, which should have been a bigger margin due to the visitor's inaccurate shooting at goal. The Two Blues kicked 5.10 to the Villagers' 1.2 to make the final scores 14.27.111 to 14.10.94. Stan 'Snowy' Lawler returned to form against his former team, booting 5 goals, while 19yo ruckman, Pat Cahill, was named best player. It was estimated that a goal kicked by Cahill in this game traversed a distance of 70 yards (64 metres).
Billy Donlen, committeeman in 1925-26 and 1936-37, passed away in June of 1938.
The miserable season came to a merciful conclusion at Preston City Oval in round 16 with a 33-point defeat in yet another wind-affected match, with 25.23 being kicked to one end of the ground and just 4.10 to the other. Williamstown booted 4.8 to 1.1 in the first quarter to take a 25 point lead into the break. Preston kicked 8 goals in the second quarter to lead by 16 points at the long break before 'Town used the wind to advantage to lead by 2 goals at three-quarter time. Preston banged on 7.5 to just two behinds by the Villagers in the last term to run out easy winners. Williamstown kicked themselves out of the game with shocking inaccuracy in the first half, resulting in a half-time scoreline of 5.14.44 to Preston's 9.6.60. Lawler booted another 6 goals for 'Town while Jack Paterson was best-on-ground. The team finished last on the 12-team ladder with just two wins and 14 defeats and a percentage of 70.7, three games behind 11th-placed Sandringham and the worst season in the Club's long history until 1995.
Reg Thomas came to Williamstown in 1938 after 23 games and 16 goals with South Melbourne in 1931 & 1932 and 9 games and 10 goals with Footscray in 1933 & 1934. He came across without a clearance from the Swans where he was captain-coach of the Seconds. Thomas was vice-captain of the 1939 premiership side and went on to play 63 games and kick 119 goals with 'Town from 1938 up until the end of 1941, although a broken foot and war-related employment restricted Thomas to just 5 games in his last season. He was awarded the most effective player trophy and best attendance at training in 1938, and was the most improved player in 1940. Thomas passed away on December 5, 1966, aged just 57.
Reg Thomas, pictured here on a 1932 Clark-Ellis trading card.
39 players represented the senior team during the season, and only Arthur Cutting and Bob Willett played in all 16 home-and-away games. Jack Paterson led the goalkicking with 31 closely followed by first-year player Reg Thomas on 30, Stan Lawler and Keith Rae with 23 and Jack Richardson 11. The team scored 186 goals and 216 behinds (1332 points) to 264 goals and 302 behinds (1886 points) kicked by opponents, resulting in a poor percentage of just 70.73%.
The Club's Seconds made the finals for the first time since 1929 but were eliminated by Brunswick in the first semi-final at Preston, 12.14 to 10.6.
VFA Recorder of July 30, 1938, with the team lists for the Seconds first semi-final v. Brunswick at Preston, won by the 'Wicks 12.14 to 10.6. This was Williamstown Seconds first finals appearance since 1929. The coach was 1921 premiership first rover, Norm 'Scotty' McDonald, who had played 106 senior games and kicked 148 goals from 1919-25 and 1929-32.
Arthur Cutting tied with Bill Downie of Northcote for the Recorder Cup and won the VFA Medal outright as well as the Club best and fairest with recruit, Colin Wilcox, runner-up. This was the fourth year in a row that a Williamstown player had taken out the VFA Medal and the fifth time in six years, following the sucesses of Charlie Stanbridge (1933), Fred Brooks (1935), Neville Huggins (1936-37) and now Cutting. Cutting would repeat the win in 1939 and Des Fothergill would take it out in 1941. Williamstown were also successful in the Recorder Cup, with Stanbridge (1933), Huggins (1937) and now Cutting also taking out that award. Des Fothergill would also be the recipient of the Recorder Cup in 1941.
Despite winning the VFA Medal, tying for the Recorder Cup and taking out the Club best and fairest, Arthur Cutting announced his retirement after 86 games since 1931, excepting 1934 went he went to Wimmera Rovers as captain-coach, in the week following the final match but did pre-season with Footscray and was back again at Williamstown in 1939. Reg 'Dodger' Taylor did retire after 91 games and 8 goals since joining the Club from North Melbourne in 1932 early in the 1939 season. He was vice-captain in 1935. Club secretary since 1935 and assistant secretary prior to that, Larry Floyd, also indicated his intention to stand down at the annual meeting scheduled for January 1939 but he had a change of heart by December and stayed on.
Argus August 1, 1938
1938 vice-captain, Arthur Cutting, capped off a great season by tying for the Recorder Cup, winning the VFA Medal and taking out the Club best and fairest. He had announced his retirement after the last home-and-away game after 86 games for Williamstown since 1931, excluding 1934 when he captain-coached Wimmera Rovers, but changed his mind and returned to become the Club games record-holder until overtaken by Colin Wilcox in 1949.
The Age, November 26, 1938
The Club lost a number of former players and officials during the year, including the following:
- former player of 1884-86 (between 16-23 games), Ernie Tubb, passed away in NSW on January 12 aged 72yo;
- former player of 1883-92 (between 134-149 games, 52 goals), Ernie Warren, one of the early stars of the Club, captain in 1891, vice-captain 1890, twice leading goalkicker and one of six brothers to represent the Villagers, passed away on May 18 at 74 years of age;
- former committeeman of 1925-26 and 1936-37, Billy Donlen, passed away on June 2 aged 47yo;
- former secretary of the Club from 1905-07 and vice-president in 1908, Oscar Jenkins, passed away on June 7 aged 62; and
- former player of 1889 and 1895-1901, Henry Douglas 'Dick/Ironsides' Hall, passed away on July 13 at the age of 65. Hall was vice-captain in 1900 and played a total of 57 games and kicked 6 goals. His three brothers, Eddie, Tommy and Walter (Dolly), also played for Williamstown, and Dick, Eddie and Walter are all life members.
Oswald 'Ossie' Maloney joined the Club from Flemington CYMS in 1938 and played 7 games and added a further 6 in 1939 to finish up with 13 matches and 3 goals for Williamstown. He was an emergency in the 1939 premiership team.
At the annual meeting in respect of the 1938 season, held at the Town Hall in January 1939, the president, Ernest Jackson, and Cr Jack Dennis both addressed the issue of the Club playing at Newport instead of the cricket ground, neither of whom were in agreeance with the suggestion. Trophies were also presented at the meeting to Arthur Cutting (best and fairest), Colin Wilcox (runner-up), Pat Cahill (best first-year player), Eddie Deller (most consistent player), Reg Thomas (most effective player), Jack McDonagh (best clubman), Reg Thomas and Reg Taylor (best attendance at training), Keith Rae (most popular player) and Jack Paterson (special services). Framed photographs were also presented to Arthur Cutting, winner of the VFA Medal and Recorder Cup in 1938, to Charlie Stanbridge, winner of VFA Medal and Recorder Cup 1933, to Neville Huggins, winner of the VFA Medal in 1936 and 1937 and Recorder Cup 1937, and to Fred Brooks, winner of the VFA Medal 1935.
The end-of-season trip was a two day excursion to Kyabram by a party of 30 players and officials.
An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the games played and goalscorers of 1938. The second column in the games played record is the player's cumulative total.
The Argus, January 14, 1938
Williamstown Chronicle, January 22, 1938 - Ernie Tubb was a former player of 1884-86 and played between 16-23 games.
The Age, May 20, 1938
Ernie 'Dick' Warren, pictured here in the Melbourne Punch of July 31 1890, was one of six brothers to play with Williamstown. He played from 1883-1892 in 149 games and kicked 52 goals. He was vice-captain in 1890 and captain in 1891. He was Club leading goalkicker in 1884 and 1886, and his 30 goals in the latter season was the most by a Williamstown player until Len 'Mother' Mortimer booted 48 in 1905. Warren kicked 6 goals in a game against St Kilda at Gardens (Fearon) Reserve in 1886, the most goals kicked in a game by a Williamstown player in the pre-VFL era. 'Town's score of 11.7 to the Saints' solitary goal was the Villager's highest-ever score in the VFA to that point in time, the Club's greatest-ever winning margin and the first time the team had kicked more than 10 goals in a match. It would remain the Villagers' highest score and largest winning margin in the pre-VFL era. Warren died on May 18, 1938, at a private hospital in Caulfield at 74 years of age.
Williamstown Chronicle, May 28, 1938
The Age, June 3, 1938 - Former committeeman in 1925-26 and 1936-37, Billy Donlen, passed away on June 2 aged 47yo.
The Age, June 3, 1938
The Age, June 9, 1938 - former secretary of the Club from 1905-07 and vice-president in 1908, Oscar Jenkins, passed away on June 7 aged 62.
Williamstown Chronicle, June 25, 1938
Williamstown Chronicle, July 16, 1938 - Former player of 1889 and 1895-1901, Henry Douglas 'Dick/Ironsides' Hall, passed away on July 13 at the age of 65. Hall was vice-captain in 1900 and played a total of 57 games and kicked 6 goals. His three brothers, Eddie, Tommy and Walter (Dolly), also played for Williamstown, and Dick, Eddie and Walter are all life members.
Williamstown Chronicle, July 23, 1938
Jack McDonagh was awarded the best clubman trophy in 1938 in his first season with Williamstown after transferring from Melbourne Seconds, having earlier played 14 games and kicked 4 goals with Footscray in 1936. Originally from Gordon Fliers, he went on to play 43 games and kick 13 goals with 'Town up until the end of 1940. McDonagh was full-back in the 1939 premiership side and was also awarded trophies for the best player in the 1939 finals series and best attendance at training. He went to West Melbourne as captain-coach in 1941 but returned to the Club in 1947 and played the season in the Seconds under captain-coach, Jack Vinall, at the age of 33. McDonagh passed away on February 25, 2001, at the age of 86.
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