Season Summary: 1984
Yarraville was effectively kicked out of the competition in 1984, when the VFA unanimously voted to decline the Club's continuing membership in the competition. The Club had won only a single game in the Seniors the previous year and had finished last in second division with a percentage of just 38.1. It was winless in both the Reserves and Third grades. It ended a 57-year connection with the Association, which yielded two premierships in 1935 and 1961. Yarraville was the first of fifteen Clubs to leave the VFA during the period from 1984 to 1996.
Brett McTaggart crossed to Essendon just before clearances closed on June 30 while Larry Simmons arrived from Werribee, Craig Nankervis from Sandringham, Jon Hummel after stints with Werribee, Collingwood, South Melbourne and Richmond and Stan Davidson from Footscray. Former Footscray and Brunswick player, Colin Dell, joined the Club as assistant coach and also playing coach of the Seconds and coach of the Thirds but was called up for Senior duties during the season. While newly-appointed captain-coach Terry Wheeler did not lead Williamstown to the promised land in his first season, he did succeed in improving the Seagulls' on-field performances markedly.
The season commenced with a ten-goal win at Frankston (Mark Fotheringham 12 goals) followed by another two victories, at home by 3 goals over Coburg and by 49 points at Springvale (Fotheringham 8 goals) over the previous year's Second Division premier. In the Coburg match, captain-coach Wheeler was sent from the field for 15 minutes in the last quarter after being reported by two umpires for striking a Lions player. It was the first time since 1970 that Williamstown had won the first three matches of the season in First Division.
This left the team in fourth spot on the ladder, a game clear of Preston. The Seagulls then went down to the previously winless Port Melbourne by 50 points at Pt Gellibrand in front of a crowd of 12, 172 in round 4, despite seven goals from Fotheringham. The Seagulls bounced back to defeat Prahran by 57 points at Toorak Park the following week in a high-scoring encounter, 33.16.214 to 24.13.157, with Fotheringham equalling his highest-ever tally of 13 majors in a game and passing the 600 career goal mark.
However, after three successive losses in rounds 6-8, 'Town had dropped to eighth on the ladder. One of these defeats was to top-of-the-ladder, Geelong West, when the Seagulls had 37 scoring shots to the Roosters' 27 and lost by 25 points. Mark Fotheringham missed this game with concussion. The side alternated between sixth and seventh position on the ladder for the remainder of the season, but finished strongly with a 14-goal victory over Sandringham at Williamstown in the final home-and-away game with Fotheringham booting another ten goals. 'Town booted 11.4 to 3.3 in the last quarter to sink the Zebras. Fotheringham booted 3 goals in the final three minutes of the match, while Rollo Goetz was ordered off the ground for 15 minutes in the first quarter for alleged abusive language toward field umpire, Frank Virgona. The Seagulls also won at Dandenong for the first time since 1966 in round 9 with a 15-goal victory and at Coburg for the first time since 1973 with a six-goal win in round 13.
Ten wins and eight losses lifted the Club to seventh place on the 12-team ladder, just one win plus considerable percentage away from a finals spot. This was the Club's best First Division performance since the 11 wins recorded in 1972. Kim Kershaw was awarded back-to-back Andy Taylor Memorial best and fairest wins, with captain-coach Wheeler runner-up and Tony 'Spud' Dullard in third place. Mark Fotheringham again easily won the Bert Hodge Memorial Trophy as Club leading goalkicker with 114, and also headed the VFA goalkicking list for the second year running. This was the most goals kicked in a season by a Seagull player since Ron Todd's VFA record of 188 majors in 1945. Fotheringham brought up his century with a 5-goal haul against Prahran at Williamstown in round 16 in a 25-point victory. Newcomer, Larry Simmons, was next best with 40. Glenn Murphy won the most consistent player award.
Paul John won the Seconds best and fairest award by one vote from Wayne Hodges with Mark Brierty in third place. Darren Greaves won the most consistent player award while John Sinnott was considered the best player in the finals. Gary Brook was leading goalkicker with a total of 59 and finished third in the competition goalscoring. The Seconds were captain-coached in this season by senior assistant coach Colin Dell and finished third on the ladder with 13 wins and five losses. They met Geelong West at St Kilda in the first semi-final and were defeated 19.24.108 to 8.12.60 to end the season.
Grant Doll took out the Under 18 award from Don Darcy and Darren Hickey. Doll also won the AG Gillon Medal for best and fairest player in the VFA Thirds competition, the Club's first recipient of the award since Ray Bamford in 1961 and just the sixth Seagull to win it since the inaugural season in 1952 when Peter Barnes was the winner. Bradley Grigg was the leading goalscorer in the Club's Third grade with a total of 106 to finish third in the competition award. Anthony Featherston was best clubman for the under 18's. The Thirds were also coached by Colin Dell which finished in eleventh position on the ladder with nine wins and eight losses.
Jeff Ind was awarded the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy for best clubman.
Kim Kershaw and Kevin Sait both ran equal second in the JJ Liston Trophy. Sait won the Syme Community Newspaper Award for 'player of the year', beating Kershaw who missed the last few games of the season with an injured knee. Glenn Murphy finished in third place.
Terry Maloney was team manager of both the Firsts and Seconds in this season while former Thirds premiership coach, Dave Hughes, was manager of the under 18's.
Players to depart at the end of 1984 included Greg Towns (22 games, 20 goals), Leigh McConnon (28 games, 17 goals), Jon Hummel (14 games, 31 goals) and Steven Eather (17 games, 0 goals). Assistant coach and coach of the Seconds and Thirds, Colin Dell, moved on to West Footscray after just one season and was replaced by Bruce Davis, coach of Port Melbourne's under 18 team in 1984.
At the annual general meeting in respect of the 1984 season held in February 1985, life memberships were bestowed upon Joe Saidy (committeeman 1976-78, ran bingo sessions), Bob Jones (played 1958-63, 53 games 36 goals, premiership 1959, trainer & runner) and Tony Hannebery (played 1972-75 41 games 8 goals, committeeman 1975-82, president 1983-85).
Williamstown's generous benefactor, Grace Smith, had a scholarship named after her in 1984 that was to be awarded to one or more junior Williamstown footballers to encourage their intellectual and sporting development. Grace had won $200,000 in Tattslotto in 1983 and donated $4,000 to the Club when she learnt it was deeply in debt and then bought 500 tickets at $2.50 each in the Club's car raffle. In 1984 she bought a car for the Club to raffle, the proceeds of which were partly used to fund the scholarship scheme.
Former coach (1979-81 and part 1983) and president (1982 and part 1983), Merv Hobbs, became a director in 1984.
The Club appointed 157-game Footscray defender, Terry Wheeler, as captain-coach for the 1984 season.
Former Footscray and Brunswick player, Colin Dell, was appointed assistant coach to Terry Wheeler in 1984 as well as coaching the Seconds and Thirds in his only season with the Seagulls. He played 4 senior games, kicking 2 goals before transferring to West Footscray in 1985. The Seconds made the finals but were defeated in the first semi-final against Geelong West at St Kilda.
1984 playing list
The season began promisingly for Mark Fotheringham and the Club with a ten-goal victory at Frankston in round 1, 24.13.157 to 14.12.96, with the gun full-forward booting 12 majors. Fotheringham would go on to kick 114 goals for the season to lead the Association goalscoring.
Captain-coach, Terry Wheeler, was reported by two umpires and sent off the ground for 15 minutes in the last quarter of the round 2 match against Coburg at Williamstown. Although a player short, the Seagulls hung on to win by three goals.
Tony 'Spud' Dullard kicked 6 goals from centre half-forward at Springvale in the round 3 clash with the 1983 Second Division premier, which Williamstown won by 49 points. This was 'Town's third consecutive victory, the best start to a year in First Division by the Seagulls since the five wins to start the 1970 season.
Willi V Port, round 4 1984, crowd 12,172 - the photo, taken by Jim Barberi, was used for the Team of the Century print.
Werribee recruit, Larry Simmons, kicked three goals in the 50-point loss to the previously winless Port Melbourne at Williamstown in round 4 in front of a crowd of more than 12,000 spectators. Simmons booted 40 majors in his first season with the Seagulls to finish runner-up to Mark Fotheringham's 114.
First rover, Kevin 'Shark' Sait, was named best player for Williamstown in the 25-point loss to ladder-leader, Geelong West, at Williamstown in round 6. The Seagulls had ten more scoring shots in the 20.7.127 to 13.24.102 defeat, the first of three consecutive losses that saw 'Town slide from fourth position on the ladder to eighth.
First year player from Werribee, Jon Hummel, was Williamstown's best player in the round 7 loss at Sandringham, 29.10.184 to 24.16.160, where for the second game in a row the Seagulls had more scoring shots than their opponents but lost. Originally from North Blackburn, Hummel also had stints at Richmond, South Melbourne and Collingwood before joining 'Town. He stayed for just one season, playing 16 games and kicking 31 goals, including five against Port Melbourne in round 4 in just his second appearance in gold and blue.
Captain-coach, Terry Wheeler, leads the team out for the round 9 clash at Dandenong. By breaking a three-game losing streak, Williamstown won at Shepley Oval for the first time since round 6 of 1966 with a big 91-point victory, 22.20.152 to 8.13.61, with Mark Fotheringham kicking 5 goals and Rollo Goetz best player. Earlier in the day, the Seagull Seconds won by 171 points, 32.27.219 to 6.12.48, with Paul Sinnott booting 8 majors and being named best-on-ground.
Captain-coach, Terry Wheeler, played a virtual lone hand in Williamstown's 69-point loss at Camberwell in round 10. Jon Hummel with 4 goals was another to play well. Mark Fotheringham also kicked 4 majors.
Mark Fotheringham outmarks future Test cricket star, Merv Hughes, in the round 11 clash with Werribee at Williamstown. After the Tigers led by six goals at three-quarter time, the Seagulls piled on 8.7 to NIL to run out winners by 19 points. Fotheringham kicked 6 goals while Kim Kershaw was best-on-ground. Earlier in the day, Williamstown Seconds won their eighth consecutive game witha 53-point victory over the 'Bees Reserves.
Kevin 'Shark' Sait returned to the side after injury in the round 14 game against Springvale and was best afield in a 27-point victory at Williamstown.
Mark Fotheringham booted seven goals in the round 15 game at Port Melbourne to take his tally for the season to 97 but Williamstown went down by 10 goals to end their finals chance.
Mark Fotheringham & Kevin Sait (#12) pictured during the round 15 game at Port Melbourne which the Seagulls lost, 23.24.162 to 15.12.102.
Craig Nankervis acted as fill-in ruckman for the injured Kim Kershaw in the round 17 match at Geelong West that was lost by 39 points.
Leigh McConnon arrived at Williamstown in 1983 after playing 26 games and kicking 4 goals with Carlton in 1976-77 and 23 games and 4 goals with Fitzroy in 1980-81. He was originally from Tasmania and played in North Hobart's 1974 premiership team. He played 28 games and kicked 17 goals with the Seagulls in 1983-84 before embarking on an extensive coaching career with Hadfield, Sunbury, North Hobart, Clarence, Kingston, Huonville and Glenorchy.
The Williamstown Seconds team list for the first semi-final against Geelong West at St Kilda which was lost 19.24.108 to 8.12.60. Although the coach is shown as Terry Wheeler the team was actually coached by senior assistant coach, Colin Dell, who also coached the Thirds in this season.
Geoff Van Wyngaarden pictured in 1984 with future senior Williamstown players, Tommy McGowan and Joe Patterson, who were playing with Williamstown Junior Football Club at the time. Tommy would go on to play 83 senior games and kick 51 goals from 1988-97, excepting 1992 when he went to Casterton for a year. He would play in the Seconds and Thirds premiership sides of 1986 and finish runner-up in the Seconds best & fairest of 1991. He was the Thirds vice-captain in 1985, finished in third place in the best & fairest and kicked 143 goals for the year. Joe Patterson kicked 7 goals in 7 senior games in 1991 and 1993.
1984 Under 14 Sherrin Cup team, featuring a 13y.o. Ron James (#21).
1984 Under 14 Sherrin Cup team
Back row: Wade O'Toole, Andrew Horsburgh, Justin Bergin, Colin Harris, Cameron Cooke, Chris Gaunt
Third row: Shaun Richards, Scott Bell, Gavin Money. J. Krznar, P. O'Brien, Michael Cassidy, S. Gerdon
Second row: Gary Ward (assistant coach), John Hogg (trainer), Jason Everson, Damien Ferris, Brian Bourchier, Steve Ivelja, Alan Hoffmann, Anthony Carlyon, J. Farrugia, Kevin Beehre, Wayne Palmer (team manager), Damian Martin (coach), Gary Chick (runner)
Front row: Ernie Poole (community development officer), Ross Hughes, Dale Height, Ian McCullagh (captain), Luke Wenlock (vice-captain), Roger Palmer, Bob Purves (president Williamstown Junior Football Club)
Ground: K. Rudge, Bill Chick
1984 Under 12 Brandella Cup team
Former player from the early 1930's, Tom Byrne, passed away in November 1984 at the age of 76. Byrne was recruited by Carlton from Ararat in 1929, playing 4 games before transferring to Williamstown mid-season in 1930 and went on to play 39 games and kicked 33 goals from 1930-33. He represented the VFA in a match against the VFL at Princes Park in June, 1932, which the League won by just 8 points. Byrne crossed to Fitzroy in 1934 but did not play a senior match and finished the season with Prahran. He was then recruited by Hawthorn, where he went on to play 61 games and kick 70 goals from 1935-39. Byrne's brother, Rex, also played 8 games for Williamstown in 1930 before returning to his original club, Northcote, and playing in the losing 1931 grand final and then a hat-trick of premierships in 1932-34.