Season Summary: 1982
Despite the structural changes brought in by the VFA in 1981, the Channel 10 network did not renew its agreement to televise Association games in 1982. The network had shown live telecasts of VFA games over fifteen years from 1967 until 1981, but opted not to continue. One sticking point in the negotiations surrounded the use of a central ground with Ten keen for the televised game to be played at the same venue each week. The Association arranged for the Junction Oval to be available but Ten worried that the smaller crowds would give a poor atmosphere in such a large venue. Some clubs, including Prahran and Dandenong, struggled to find strong sponsorship after the television deal ended.
Two field umpires were used in all matches across both the home-and-away season and finals in Division 2 starting from this season. This change had been made in Division 1 in 1981. To coincide with the change in umpires, the voting system for the J. J. Liston Trophy and the J. Field Medal were both changed in 1982. Under the new system, the two field umpires conferred after the game, and awarded one set of votes to the best three players on the ground on a 3–2–1 basis.
The Club had three Presidents during the 1982 calendar year, as Jeff Bird stepped in to replace Junior Jackson who resigned due to ill-health mid-season. As the financial difficulties referred to below beset the Club at season's end, the coach from 1979-81, Merv Hobbs, then took over the role. Les Goding and Graham Oborne were appointed secretary and treasurer, respectively. New captain-coach Rod Oborne, formerly of Richmond and Collingwood and cousin of Club senior vice-president, Graham Oborne, was joined at Williamstown by Mark Fotheringham, the Yarraville full-forward who had kicked 357 goals in 73 games since 1978, along with former Eagles teammate and 1980 Field Medallist, Kevin 'Shark' Sait, who had spent 1981 with Footscray, future captain, Liston Medallist and premiership player, Brett McTaggart from Spotswood, Alun Owen from Altona City and future president Greg Swann, who joined after 42 games with South Melbourne Seconds. While success in first division was desired, it was not as important as in previous years because the VFA had decided, amongst the various other changes instigated in 1981, to dispense with the automatic promotion/relegation system to give the four clubs that had been promoted the chance to settle. The Club also became incorporated in this season.
The first win for the Seagulls back in the major division came in round 2 with a victory over Frankston at Pt Gellibrand by 39 points (Fotheringham 7 goals, Sait 4), then three consecutive defeats were experienced before a win again at Williamstown against Dandenong by 70 points (Fotheringham 7 goals, Oborne 6, Fairley 5). One of the defeats was to Geelong West by 5 points after 'Town was 10 goals up at one point during the match. Another four successive losses from rounds 9-12 left the Seagulls second last on the ladder, five games out of the four. With finals looking a distant prospect, a victory in round 13 was then followed by another run of four defeats before downing Prahran at Williamstown in the last game of the home-and-away round by 50 points (Fotheringham, Oborne and Michael Kelly 5 goals each). This meant Williamstown won five of the 18 games to run 11th or second last, with only Waverley below them on the ladder. The percentage of 86.3 indicated a fair degree of competitiveness and the basic aim of the Club, to consolidate its place in First Division, had been achieved.
Fotheringham, who kicked 98 goals to finish second on the VFA list behind Fred Cook, showed that he could score just as freely in First Division as he had in the lower grade, with big bags of nine goals against Sandringham in round 8, eight against Camberwell in round 12 and also Geelong West in round 15 and Coburg in round 16, seven against Werribee in round 14 and also the games mentioned above. A deadly kick for goal, he was destined to have a big impact on Williamstown's fortunes in the next few years. Oborne also kicked a swag of goals from the half-forward flank, his 60 earning him ninth position on the VFA list. Fotheringham's efforts were crowned by winning the Club's Andy Taylor Memorial best and fairest award, from Ian Mathews and fellow first-year player Kevin Sait, as well as the Bert Hodge Memorial Trophy for leading goalkicker. Fotheringham also took home the most consistent player trophy, while Ian Matthews was most improved player. Bob Pearman was awarded the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy for best clubman.
The Reserves best and fairest was awarded to Jeff Ind, with Neil Coates runner-up and Duane Doyle in third place. Phil McTaggart was again captain-coach of the Seconds as well as assistant to new coach, Rod Oborne and the team finished in sixth position with 9 wins, 8 defeats and a draw with Frankston.
After losing the second semi-final to Preston by nearly 20 goals, 32.19.211 to 14.8.92, the under 19's, again coached by Dave Hughes, beat Dandenong in the preliminary final to reach the grand final in that grade for the second year in succession but went down to Preston by four goals on the Bullants' home ground, 17.19.121 to 15.7.97, which had won their last fourty-one games in a row by taking the flag. They outscored Preston in the second half, 9.5 to 6.6, but an early leeway proved too big to overcome. Best player was full-forward, John Crombie, who booted 6 goals to take his tally for the season to 151, a Club record in that grade, including 24 majors against Dandenong in round 17. The previous record was held by Phil Chapman, who kicked 132 goals in 1979 after booting 129 in 1978. Other good players on the day were Mark Cannon, Robert Weiderstein, Gary Goding, Alun Owen, Peter Brierty, Michael Duckworth and Michael Lovell. Crombie's record goal haul was only enough to make him the runner-up to Mark Cannon in the best and fairest in that grade. Robert Wiederstein finished in third place. Crombie also took out the VFA goalkicking award for the Thirds. Brian Robbins won the best clubman award in the under 19's, while Cameron Phillips was most improved. The award for best player in the finals went to Michael Lovell. In 1982, the Thirds completed their greatest-ever run of 12 consecutive victories by winning three on end, including the flag, in 1981 and then being victorious in the first nine round of 1982.
During the season, Greg Tweedly played his 100th senior game for the Club in round 10 at Preston, while Laurie Taylor made his 75th senior appearance in round 16 against Coburg.
Bob Pearman was team manager of the Seniors once again, with Terry Maloney managing the Seconds and Ron Black in charge of the Thirds.
After the season president Merv Hobbs was approached by the players, who wanted payment for their services and were threatening a mass walk-out. The Club was about $90,000 in the 'red', but In the space of about six weeks Hobbs raised $40,000 to liquidate the debt to the playing group. Tony Hannebery, later to become Williamstown president and then the last VFA president, said the Club would not have survived without the input of Hobbs. The mercurial nature of Hobbs certainly gave 'Town the spark it needed to again become a VFA force.
At the annual meeting held in December, life memberships were awarded to John Clifton (committeeman 1974-82) and Les Goding (committeeman 1969-81 and Club secretary 1982).
Stan Whear, life member and the longest-serving secretary of the Club (1952-64), passed away during the year.
Mark Fotheringham, the Yarraville full-forward who had kicked 357 goals in 73 games since 1978 joined Williamstown in 1982 along with former Eagles teammate and 1980 Field Medallist, Kevin 'Shark' Sait, who had spent 1981 with Footscray.
Graham Oborne became senior vice-president & treasurer in 1982 and assisted in luring his cousin, Rod Oborne, to the Club as captain-coach.
Greg Swann arrived at Williamstown in 1982 after playing 42 games with South Melbourne Seconds and 12 with Perth in the WAFL before that. He would play 62 games up until the end of 1985, including the grand final in that season and was runner-up in the best and fairest award also before heading overseas for work. He would return as president in 1995 to guide the Club during the merger upheaval of that season.
1982 playing list
Mark Fotheringham joined Williamstown from Yarraville in 1982, kicked 98 goals and won the best & fairest
Geoff Bebend was vice-captain in 1982 in his last season with the Seagulls. Recruited from Altona City, Bebend played 81 games and kicked 46 goals from 1978-82 in the #24 jumper. He was awarded the most determined player trophy in 1978 in his debut season and the most consistent player trophy in 1980. Bebend won the best and fairest player award in 1981. He was selected as 18th man in the WFC 1980's Team of the Decade. Bebend went to Spotswood as captain-coach in 1983.
Back row: David Paton, Jim Mounas, Brian Robbins, Gary Brook, Alun Owen, Ian Fairley, Laurie Taylor, John Crombie, Denis Selvidge, Steven Bratby
Centre row: Les Goding (general manager), Bob Pearman (senior team manager), Duane Doyle, Phillip Bottams, Glen Sampson, Mark Fotheringham, Bryan Edwards, Shawn Drysdale, Glen Holder, John Kassis, Graeme Crocker (time keeper), Terry Maloney (reserves team manager)
Front row: Greg Swann, Dale Foster, Phil McTaggart (reserves captain/coach), Rod Oborne (senior captain/coach), Jeff Bird (President), Greg Tweedly (deputy vice-captain), Ian Mathews, Paul Eudey, Clinton McRae
Sitting: Kevin Sait, Gary Goding, Michael Kelly, Ray Powley, Jeff Ind
Back row: Paul Barrett (runner), George Lerias, Gary Goding, John Crombie, Robert Wiederstein, Michael Lovell, Michael Duckworth, Victor Holub, Dennis Selvidge
Middle row: Les Goding (General Manager), Graeme Crocker (time keeper), Craig Stewart, Alun Owen, Gary Brook, Paul Szumski, Danny Mitrevski, Brian Robbins, Jim Mounas, Kelly Brent (head trainer), Norm Whetton (trainer)
Front row: Pat O'Sullivan, Cameron Phillips, Ron Black (team manager), David Black (captain), Dave Hughes (coach), Steven Bratby (vice-captain), Graeme Bratby (statistician), Mark Cannon, Wayne Freeman
Sitting: Michael Bratby (mascot) Absent: Noel Shield (deputy vice-captain), Mark Mitvalsky, Brett Gabriel, Rohan Lane, Greg Luckhurst, David Paton, Peter Brierty, Terry Cox
Williamstown Thirds grand final team list
Stan Whear, life member and the longest-serving secretary of the Club (1952-64), passed away during the year