Season Summary: 1950
The 1950 season saw the controversial appointment of 116-game, dual premiership Melbourne follower Adrian 'Spud' Dullard as playing-coach, which meant the premiership coach of the previous season, Gordon Ogden, was effectively sacked. The board of the time overwhelmingly elected to revert to a playing coach, reversing the narrow vote to have a non-playing coach taken in 1948. Ogden, who played 56 games for Williamstown up until 1945, and coached for five seasons (1939-41 and 1948-49), took up umpiring in 1950 and then would go on to coach Yarraville from 1951-1955, leading them to the losing grand final against Port Melbourne in 1953. Ogden also coached Williamstown to the 1939 premiership and into the 1948 grand final, which was lost to Brighton by just nine points.
Dullard, father of the player from the 1980's, Tony Dullard, was made captain and Reg Featherby vice-captain in place of Colin Wilcox who immediately announced his disagreement with the committee's decision on the coaching position and resigned, ending the career, after 173 games (the Club record at the time), of one of the best players ever to wear a Williamstown guernsey. Named on a half-back flank in the Team of the Century, Wilcox came across from Melbourne reserves in 1938 and gave wonderful service as a centre-half back, on the half-back flank and occasionally at full back. He played in three premierships (1939, 1945 & 1949) and won the best & fairest award in 1948. He was a good clubman, which he demonstrated during the war recess when several League clubs strove hard for his services. He always told them he would wait for the VFA to resume so that he would be immediately available for Williamstown.
Other players departing the club after 1949 were the great Ron Todd (retired), Bill Wells (coach of Maryborough), Alan Strang (coach of Wagga), Bill Redmond (Eaglehawk) and Bruce Chapman (coach of Newport). 24yo Harold Peacock accepted a big offer to captain-coach country side Heywood, near where he spent much of his early childhood, and eventually guided them to their first Western Districts Football League premiership in 1953. Theo Greenland followed Peacock to Heywood after 4 games in 1950. Recruits included Vin Morrisey (13 games with Footscray 1948-49), Don Rogers (Brunswick), and good local players Laurie Gunn (Footscray), future president of the club Sid Wookey from Spotswood, Jack Dorgan (3 games with Melbourne), 18 year-old John 'Chooka' Fowler (who kicked 120 goals for Spotswood in 1949) and Jack Twist, Arthur Vernon and Cliff Poole, from the Seconds.
Off the field, Alf Urban, who ran a chemist shop in Douglas Parade, stepped down from the presidency after three years and Harold Hosking, former secretary of the Club from 1929-32, was elected, a post he would hold until the end of 1954. Vice-presidents Peter McIntyre, licensee of the Bristol Hotel, and Captain Gordon Liley were made life members.
The VFA became affiliated with the Australian National Football Council over the summer, which meant that some of the features that made the Association unique, such as the throw-pass, were dropped from the rules, which Williamstown felt sacrificed the independence and individuality of the VFA. The opening game of the season at home against Brunswick saw the unfurling of the 1949 pennant by Mrs Urban, wife of the previous year's president, and a subsequent nine-point defeat (10.12.72 to 9.9.63), the Club's first round one loss since 1937. It was only its fourth defeat at home since the resumption after World War II in 1945 and Brunswick's first win at Pt. Gellibrand since 1938. It was the first time the two clubs had met in the opening round since 1925. It was also the first time that a club, after unfurling the flag, had lost at home since Prahran beat Footscray at Footscray in 1909. Brunswick nearly achieved the feat when it drew with Coburg at Coburg on the first day of the 1930 season. The ‘Wicks repeated the effort later in the year when they downed Williamstown in round 12 at Brunswick.
The first round loss saw Williamstown in tenth place, but four consecutive wins, including two at Pt Gellibrand over eventual third-placed, Brighton, by 3 goals and eventual runner-up, Port Melbourne, by 2 goals, improved the situation a good deal and the Club was soon back in second position on the ladder. Four defeats over the next seven rounds, including a 15-goal loss at Coburg and an 8-goal defeat at Toorak Park, saw the team slip back to sixth position by round 12. Three consecutive wins, including a second victory over Brighton for the year in round 14 at Elsternwick Park, elevated the Seagulls back into third spot by round 15. A seven-goal defeat at Port Melbourne followed, before three successive wins, including a one-point victory over Sandringham at Williamstown in the last match. Coburg were on the same number of wins prior to this game and with a better percentage but lost whilst the 'Town won. Oakleigh, Port Melbourne, Williamstown and Brighton made up the final four that would contest the finals, the Seagulls' sixth consecutive finals appearance.
Having missed the double chance for the first time since 1945, 'Town came up against Brighton in the first semi-final at the Junction Oval, St Kilda, before a crowd of 18,000. Williamstown went down 15.12.102 to 9.10.64 with Johnny Walker kicking five goals and the best players being Sid Wookey, Kevin Taylor, Adrian Dullard, Jack Danckert, Gordon Cameron and Walker. The Club was dogged by injuries which, when added to the loss of quality players such as Todd, Peacock, Greenland, Wells, Strang, Redmond, Chapman and Wilcox, brought the team back to the field. More numerous injuries than usual kept players such as Murray McRae, Gordon Williams, Cliff Poole, Sid Wookey and John Molyneux on the sidelines for varying periods. Mal MacPherson suffered a serious knee injury in round 8 at Sandringham which allowed him to play only 5 matches for the year and ended his VFA career after 84 games and 198 goals from 1946, but the transfer of Johnny Walker to full-forward was the highlight of the season as he finished equal with Bruce Harper of Sandringham on 71 goals to head the Association goalkicking list.
Since the VFA resumed in 1945, Williamstown had played 133 matches for 97 wins, 35 losses and one draw. Of these games, 62 had been played at Pt Gellibrand and resulted in just four defeats. Two premierships had been won, once runner-up, two third placings and one fourth, as well as the lightning premiership in 1946.
Jack Danckert took out the best & fairest award for the season from John Molyneux, Sid Wookey was best first-year player whilst Reg Featherby and Lou Salvas both brought up their 100th senior appearance for the 'Town during the year. Alf Sampson, at 38 years of age, won the Williamstown Advertiser award. Both Murray McRae and Freddie Matthews were selected to represent the VFA in a game against the ACT in June, which the Association won by 21 goals, while Jack Danckert and Reg Featherby represented the VFA at the ANFC carnival in Brisbane in July.
During 1950 life members and former players Jack Kenny (played 1887-1899, captain 1894) and Tommy Hall (played 1907-08) passed away as did another former player, Sid Conlon (played 1924-26, vice-captain 1926), along with former official George Musicka. Also, Kenny's teammate, Bob McCubbin, the champion follower of the period 1891-96 and VFA representative, passed away at Kyneton on March 10 at the age of 81.
The reserves, under coach Joe Lyons, had another good season and finished up losing their grand final to Coburg by just one goal, 8.11 to 7.11, the 'Burgers eleventh pennant in 24 years. Leo Tweedly won the Seconds best and fairest.
During the year the VFA elected to admit Box Hill and Moorabbin to the competition from the following season, and were also in secret negotiations with the Royal Agricultural Society to stage night football at the Showgrounds from 1951. VFA vice-president, Bill Dooley, was heavily involved in the discussions. The same group of clubs who were reluctant about admitting new teams was also against the concept of night football, despite Dooley's pleas for them to 'think big' for a change. This fight reached its peak at the end of the season and the matter was dropped. Ironically, after pioneering the possibilities of night football as early as 1950, the VFA had to pay high rates for the South Melbourne ground when night football did commence in 1957 and beyond.
Harold Hosking, secretary of the Club from 1929-32, was elected president in 1950, a post he would hold until 1954
From Williamstown Chronicle March 3, 1950
1950 Argus newspaper badge
Argus April 20, 1950
Vin Morrissey was recruited from Footscray in 1950
The unfurling of the 1949 pennant at the opening game of the 1950 season at home against Brunswick resulted in a nine-point defeat (10.12.72 to 9.9.63), only the fourth defeat at Williamstown since 1945.
From The Age September 15, 1950 From The Argus May 17, 1950
The Argus June 14, 1950
Mal Macpherson played 84 games and kicked 198 goals from 1946-1950 before retiring at the age of 22 due to a serious knee injury sustained against Sandringham in round 8 of the 1950 season. He kicked 5 goals in the one-point loss to Sandringham in the 1946 preliminary final, and played in the 1949 three-point premiership win over Oakleigh.
Reg Featherby played 123 games and kicked 5 goals from 1945-1951 and 1953 (he coached Benalla in 1952), won the 1949 best and fairest award and played in the 1945 & 1949 premiership teams. Recruited from Altona, he was the greatest exponent of the throw pass to ever play for Williamstown, according to the late Club historian, Fred Critchley.
Champion follower of the 1890's, Bob McCubbin, passed away in March. He is pictured here playing for Collingwood, where he played 6 games in 1898 at the age of almost 30 after leaving Williamstown to try his luck in the then VFL.
From The Age 29 September, 1950
Brownlow medallist Nathan Buckley made his return from a hamstring injury through the VFL with Williamstown in 2007 in a best on ground performance.Read more ...