Season Summary: 1958

The Club got a new President in 1958 with Arthur Johnson being elected at the annual general meeting. Life memberships were awarded to long-serving secretary, Stan Whear, and head trainer, Bob Major, who became Club treasurer in this season, taking over from Jim McConville who had been in that role since 1945 and who acted as secretary for two seasons previous to that.

After his phenomenal journey at Williamstown, winning 76 games and losing just 15 at a success rate of 83.5% and bringing home three premierships, several League Clubs made overtures to have Wally Carter released from his agreement with the Club. Eventually he returned to his old club North Melbourne, which made it as far as the preliminary final that year. Whilst supporters were sorry to see the multi-premiership coach depart, it was with the knowledge that the Club had a ready-made replacement in captain Gerry Callahan, rather than bringing in someone from a League club. After some jostling with the Committee regarding salary and tenure, Callahan was appointed playing coach for one season only, with Ray Smith vice-captain. This put the Monster under much pressure to succeed, and raises the question of whether the committee would have maintained the faith if ’Town had slipped from the four. Ironically, this tentative appointment would eventuate into the longest reign by a coach at a single VFA club, extending to 10 years and over 200 games.

Not too many of the regulars were missing at the start of the season, with Allen Laurie being the most notable. However, as the season got under way several players dropped out with Maurie Gear returning to Geelong after 68 games and 81 goals and two flags (1955/56), while Alby Outen and Reg Ogden gave it away when a regular game was uncertain. Alan McPherson played just one game for the year and then retired after 44 matches and 127 goals, and Team of the Century full back Max Munday also retired after six games but gave very good service over his 120 matches for 'Town from 1952.

As usual, some experienced players were recruited, including Vin Bourke and rover Tom Pelly from North Melbourne, full-back Col Colquhoun and Frank Primmer from South Melbourne and Barry Liddy from Essendon Seconds. Local recruits to play seniors during the year were rover George Mazouris (Williamstown Rovers), follower Brian Neylon (Footscray Seconds), Laurie Davies (Williamstown Seconds/Thirds), Michael O'Flynn (Williamstown Seconds), Robert Jones (Williamstown Seconds) and Ken Parker (Williamstown Seconds).

With the addition of two new clubs into the competition in Dandenong and Mordialloc, the 1958 season proved to be a good one for Williamstown, with the team never lower than fourth on the ladder during the year and was in either first or second place after round 7. Once again, the Seagulls headed the list at the end of the home-and-away rounds, followed by Moorabbin, Box Hill and Port Melbourne - the first time that both of the new clubs made the final four in the same season. The Seagulls got away to a good start by winning the first three matches, over Preston at Williamstown by 27 points, the fifth in succession over the Bullants, over Brunswick by 61 points under lights at South Melbourne (Roy Cullinan 5 goals) and at Yarraville by 31 points (Cullinan 6 goals). 

They then lost to Port under lights at South Melbourne by nine points. The VFA’s enthusiasm for night football waned rather quickly and, after only four matches that attracted 22,000 spectators, the idea was abandoned. Williamstown took part in two of the matches, soundly defeating Brunswick in round 2 and then going down to Port in round 4. Seven more victories ensued, including a 13-point win over eventual finalist, Port Melbourne, at North Port in round 11. Four of these victories were by 7 points or less. Coburg then had a surprise win at Pt Gellibrand by a goal in round 12, its first at Williamstown since 1952. Only one other match was lost over the last six weeks, to Moorabbin by seven points at Williamstown in round 17. There were also big wins at Northcote in round 13 by 80 points (Cullinan 7 goals), by 77 points over Oakleigh at Williamstown in round 16 and by six goals at Sandringham in round 15 (Cullinan 7 goals), the Zebras' tenth consecutive loss to the Seagulls. Camberwell had also lost the same number of games successively to Williamstown. After the eighteen home-and-away matches, 'Town had recorded 15 wins and just three losses. 

Moorabbin played really well and was not troubled to win a good game against the Seagulls in the second-semi, 13.13.91 to 8.21.69, before a crowd of 9,000 to inflict Williamstown’s biggest defeat of the year by 22 points. ‘Town were particularly poor in attack and were overall well below their usual standard. They fought back tenaciously in the last quarter, but were let down by their shocking inaccuracy in front of goal, adding 3.9 to 3.2. Tom Pelly, with three, was the main goalkicker, whilst the best players were Eric Beitzel, Colquhoun, Callahan, Martin, Whitaker, Smith, Bourke and Pelly.

Port and Williamstown, grand finalists of three of the past four seasons, met in the preliminary final before a crowd of 8,400. Port got away with the breeze to lead 4.2 to 1.1 at the first break, before Williamstown, with a winning ruck headed by Bob Jones and an improved attack, kept them scoreless in the second term to take a ten-point lead into the long break, 5.6 to 4.2. An even third quarter meant that Port was only a point in front and kicking into the breeze in the final stanza, and at the end the difference was a comfortable 22-point victory to 'Town, 11.14.80 to 8.10.58, thereby denying Port the chance of playing in its ninth consecutive grand final. Cullinan kicked five goals from full-forward and best players were Martin, Eric Beitzel, Cullinan, Colquhuon, Kent (in his 100th senior game for Williamstown), Ramsay, Pelly, Mazouris and Frank Jones. This match was Gerry Callahan's 150th senior game for Williamstown and Ken Reed's 50th.

The grand final was played in front of a crowd of 20,000 and proved a real thriller to the end, resulting in the first and only draw in VFA history. Previously there had been 4 drawn first semi-finals, one drawn second semi and one drawn preliminary but never a grand final. Moorabbin, which had first use of the wind, had defeated Williamstown in their last three encounters and led at every change (4.5 to 0.1 at quarter time, 4.6 to 3.5 at half time, and 5.8 to 4.9 at the last change) but the prospect of finishing with the wind gave ‘Town much confidence going into the final term.  However, by kicking two goals against the breeze, Moorabbin led by 11 points after 17 minutes in a low-scoring game, but failed to score for the remainder of the quarter. Williamstown's defenders stood tall and gradually the leeway was reduced. Six minutes from the end Cullinan goaled from a free kick to reduce the margin to 3 points. Two more behinds were added by Bourke and Mazouris and then flanker Smith got another to level the scores, 6.15.51 to Moorabbin's 7.9.51, which was the final score as the siren sounded with Moorabbin in attack. With a little luck, Williamstown could have won the grand final at its first attempt as three of its 15 behinds were posters after fine passages of play that deserved to end with a goal. Moorabbin had outmarked the Seagulls all day, but Williamstown controlled the centre through Martin, had a brilliant player at centre-half back in Kent, had the better of the roving where Mazouris excelled and had capable defenders in Eric Beitzel, Ramsay and Colquhoun. Multiple goal-scorers  were Cullinan and Ward with two each, while the best of the other players were Frank Sims and Ken Reed. ‘Town lost forward flanker Daryl Ward late in the game with a broken leg, and he was replaced in the side for the replay by Barry Beitzel. Follower Frank Jones was omitted in favour of Lindsay Murphy and never played with the Seagulls again.  

22,000 attended the replay but Williamstown proved too pacy for Moorabbin and the result was never in doubt from the first bounce, and the Club's ninth pennant was assured at the last change with an 11-goal lead. The Seagulls had first use of the wind after skipper Callahan won the toss and led at quarter time 3.12 to nil, although it took 14 minutes before the first goal was scored and the Seagulls' score was 1.10 before the second major was posted. The game was effectively decided in the second term when Moorabbin, kicking with the strong breeze, scored only 3.3 to Williamstown's 2.2 to reduce the deficit to 23 points at the long interval. When 'Town piled on 7.4 to two behinds in the third quarter to lead by 67 points at the last change, victory was assured, especially when driving rain arrived. Moorabbin never gave up and added 5.11 to a solitary goal from Williamstown's Roy Cullinan, his fifth, but was still 32 points behind at the final siren, the scores being 13.18.96 to 8.16.64.

Stronger in the ruck and air, supreme in defence and a force across the centre line where Martin, in his last game for 'Town, dominated, Williamstown also had winners in Whitaker and Callahan who played a great captain's game, while others to do well were Colquhuon, Bourke, Eric Beitzel, Bob Jones and Kent. Multiple goalkickers were Cullinan with five and Mazouris and Pelly with two apiece.

Williamstown’s 1958 premiership team was:

B.    Eric Beitzel        Col Colquhoun   John Ramsay

HB.  Neil Whitaker       Len Kent         Jack Evans

C.     Vin Bourke       Johnny Martin    Frank Sims

HF.   Ray Smith (v.c.)             Ken Reed        Barry Beitzel

F.      Lindsay Murphy       Roy Cullinan      George Mazouris

Foll.  Gerry Callahan (c.)         Bob Jones

Rov.  Tom Pelly

Res.   Neville O’Connor    Barry Liddy

Coach: Gerry Callahan

From the Club's renaissance in 1939, the Seagulls made the finals fourteen times over seventeen playing seasons (the VFA went into recess 1942-44) for seven premierships, once runner-up, third on five occasions and fourth once. 1958 was the Club's ninth VFA premiership and the fourth in five years.

John Ramsay, Len Kent, Frank Sims and Jack Evans all brought up their 100th game during the season, taking to eight the number of players on the list to pass a century of games for the Club, the others being Ray Smith, Johnny Martin, Gerry Callahan and Max Munday - easily the highest ever recorded at Williamstown.

Johnny Martin, in his last season at Williamstown, also won the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for the Club best and fairest from Eric Beitzel and Bob Jones, in addition to polling the highest number of votes for the Club in the JJ Liston Trophy, which was won by Keith Woolnough of Northcote. Martin also won the Advertiser and Chronicle awards. Roy Cullinan topped the Club goalkicking with a total of 63, placing him third on the VFA list following his 5 majors in the Grand Final replay. Daryl Ward scored 39 to finish equal eighth. Neville O'Connor was best and fairest for the Seconds, while Doug Kellett took out the award for the Thirds.

The Seconds missed the finals by finishing seventh with eleven wins from the eighteen matches played, the first time the team finished out of the final four since 1952 and only the fourth time since 1941. The Thirds won the premiership for the first time since the formation of the competition under the coaching of 1949 senior premiership star Bill Sheahan (refer premiership team photo below), defeating Preston by 17 points. The Seconds and Thirds at Williamstown at the time had always operated as separate Clubs from the Seniors with their own president, committee, secretary, treasurer, training staff, life members, etc. and a strong ladies committee which enabled them to be self-supporting throughout the season. They also had their own annual reports (see below) and their own annual general meetings.

Captain-coach, Gerry Callahan, shifted to Beaumaris during the season after he married, and was approached by both Sandringham and Oakleigh to coach the next year but felt that would be disloyal to Williamstown. On the night of the premiership win he was advised of his reappointment for 1959, but he wanted three years and an increased salary to continue.  

Jack Evans and Johnny Martin were both selected to represent the VFA at the ANFC carnival held in Melbourne in July. 

The VFA Club Championship award was a tie in this year between Williamstown and Coburg. 

Former player from 1921-29, Vic Truman, became president of the Old Players and Officials Association in 1958, taking over from Bert Reitman. Con Sheehan continued on as secretary and Lou Salvas as treasurer. 

At the conclusion of the season a party of 23 players, officials and supporters headed to Launceston for the end-of-season trip aboard the TS Taroona.

Captain-coach of 1920 and a member of the 1921 premiership team, Harry Haughton, passed away on January 19 aged 72. Another former player, John Ballantyne 'Ivor' Lawson, nicknamed after the famous Swedish cyclist of the time, passed away at North Melbourne on December 2, 1958, aged 75. He played 25 games for Williamstown in 1902/03 before transferring to Collingwood where he played 7 games in 1904. He then played 30 games for St Kilda from 1905-07 and then ended up at Richmond when they joined the VFL where he played 32 games in 1908-09. He was vice-captain of the Tigers in 1909 and captained the team on 13 occasions when the appointed captain, Dick Condon, resigned after being urged by the board to do so. A journeyman, he moved on to North Melbourne in 1910 and then Northcote in 1911.  

Life memberships were awarded to Club president of 1955-57, Jack Carter, vice-president, Kevin Hynes, and former player of 1934-37, trainer from at least 1945-1955 and committeeman from 1956, Merv White, at the annual general meeting in respect of the 1958 season held at the Town Hall in January 1959. Apart from the best and fairest winners mentioned above, other trophy recipients at the meeting were Col Colquhoun (best first-year player), Gerry Callahan (inspiring leadership), Len Kent (most serviceable in finals) and Jack Ramsay (most consistent player).


Arthur Johnson became President in 1958 and served until 1965 and then again from 1969 until 1972, his 12 years making him the longest-serving President in the Club's history until Trevor Monti, who was President for 17 seasons from 1999 until early 2016. Johnson was also Club secretary in 1922-23 and was a vice-president in 1956-57 and 1966, and senior vice-president in 1967-68 and 1973-79.  He passed away in 1986, aged 94. His father, Arthur H. Johnson, was President in 1911 and Club secretary in 1908-10 and 1912-13.

                                                                         The Age, September 29, 1958

George Mazouris about to kick a behind that bought Williamstown within one point of Moorabbin late in the final quarter of the drawn grand final. To the left of George is Daryl Ward, who played out the game after breaking his leg in the second quarter and missed the replay. Moorabbin players are, from left, Bert Stanley, Bill Waldron, Alan Tresize and Alan Boyd. Williamstown's Roy Cullinan is behind Tresize.  

After the 1958 drawn Grand Final, Moorabbin's captain Alan Murphy with Gerry Callahan

                                                     The Age, September 29, 1958

                                                                                   The Age, September 29, 1958

                       The Age, September 29, 1958 - best player for each team in the drawn Grand Final 

                                                                      The Age, September 29, 1958


                                                                     The Age, September 29, 1958

VFA Recorder, 1958 Grand Final replay, Williamstown v. Moorabbin played at the Junction Oval 

                    The Sporting Globe, October 4, 1958 - Starting line-ups in the 1958 Grand Final replay

Williamstown Advertiser, October 10, 1958

Williamstown Advertiser, October 10, 1958

Williamstown Advertiser, October 10, 1958

                                                                                                          The Sporting Globe, October 4, 1958

                                                           Part of the crowd at the 1958 Grand Final

                                                                 The Age, October 6, 1958

                                                                       The Age, October 6, 1958

                                                                   The Age, October 6, 1958

Williamstown Chronicle, October 9, 1958

Full forward Roy Cullinan kicked 5 goals in the Grand Final replay to give him 63 for the season

                                          Williamstown Chronicle, October 9, 1958

                                                                                                  Williamstown Chronicle, October 9, 1958

                                                                                          Williamstown Chronicle, October 9, 1958

Williamstown Chronicle, October 9, 1958

                                          Williamstown Chronicle, October 9, 1958

1958 premiership medallions presented to Williamstown players after the grand final win


Williamstown Team of the Century full back, Max Munday, bowed out after an injury-interrupted 1958 season with 120 games and three premierships in 1954/1955/1956 to his name.

Johnny 'Dasher' Martin finished up with Williamstown after the 1958 premiership win to captain-coach Wentworth in the Sunraysia League. He played a total of 133 games from 1952, kicking 15 goals and playing in the 1954/55/56/58 premiership teams. He won the Liston Medal in 1956 and the Club best and fairests in 1956 & 1958 and was runner-up in 1955. He was named on a wing in the WFC Team of the Century and is a member of the WFC Hall of Fame. 

Williamstown Advertiser - Johnny Martin took out the Advertiser player of the year award in 1958.

Williamstown Advertiser, October 16, 1958 


                                                                          Williamstown Thirds, Centenary Premiers 1958

Back row: Graham McDonald (Thirds Committee), Graham Clough, John 'Adam' Hill, Jim Stafford (Social Secretary), Graham Seymour, Dennis Merrett, W. O'Connor (Thirds Committee)

2nd. back row: Wally Clark (Trainer), Jimmy O'Toole, Des Hosking, Tom Russell, Don Davies, Harry Wragg, Graeme Hendy, Terry Power, John Shields, A. Merrett (Thirds Treasurer)

2nd. front row: Bill Sheahan (Coach), Graeme Rogers, Jimmy Forsyth, Doug Kellett (Captain), Tom Johnson (Thirds President), Jack Jarrad, Terry Gathercole, Mick Barry, Les Dooley (Thirds Secretary)

Front row: Mick Rieger, Alan Harris, Gary Ward                   Absent: Jack Smith (Vice-Captain), Tom Hewitt, T. Little 

4-time premiership wingman (1954/55/56 & 58), Frank Sims, finished up after 105 games since 1953 to coach Terang


Former player, John Ballantyne 'Ivor' Lawson, nicknamed after the famous Swedish cyclist of the time, passed away at North Melbourne on December 2, 1958, aged 75. He played 25 games for Williamstown in 1902/03 before transferring to Collingwood where he played 7 games in 1904. He then played 30 games for St Kilda from 1905-07 and then ended up at Richmond when they joined the VFL where he played 32 games in 1908-09. He was vice-captain of the Tigers in 1909 and captained the team on 13 occasions when the appointed captain, Dick Condon, resigned after being urged by the board to do so. A journeyman, he moved on to North Melbourne in 1910 and then Northcote in 1911.  










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