Season Summary: 1986

The off-season again proved very fruitful for the Club with the recruitment of several players who would go on to be dual premiership stars in Brett McTaggart (back from two seasons at Essendon), Tony Pastore (Spotswood) and Barry Round (Sydney) and Liston Medallists (McTaggart and Round). In addition, Stephen Eather rejoined the club after a year overseas, while Vin DiMartino, Tommy McGowan and Richie Raeburn were elevated from the Thirds. Nick & Frank DiMartino (Spotswood) joined their cousin Rob and brother Vin at the 'Town, while Grant Smith and Andrew Gibson also moved across from Spotswood. Peter Lane (Doutta Galla Stars), Andy Maher (returned from two seasons with Swan Districts in WA), Peter Shorthouse and Ricky Knight (both West Footscray), Sandy Morrison (Warragul) and Mark Kennedy (Footscray under 19's) also joined the club. Teenager Ron James completed a pre-season with Footscray but elected to return to Williamstown. Ricky Knight's brother, former Footscray player Steven, transferred from Port Adelaide SANFL team mid-way through the year. Murray Nilsson played one game in the seniors and five in the seconds then went back to Glenroy but returned in 1987. Best & fairest runner-up and star full-back, Greg Swann, was missing from 1985 due to work committments overseas and Stan Davidson retired. Mark Fotheringham was again made vice-captain with Glenn Murphy deputy vice-captain. Former Olympic silver medallist, Peter Norman, was engaged to assist with the fitness of the players over the summer. 

Round, the joint winner of the 1981 Brownlow Medal with Fitzroy's Bernie Quinlan, had played 328 games of League football with Footscray, South Melbourne and Sydney. Williamstown officials had heard in 1985 that Round's VFL days were finished and that Port Melbourne and Brunswick were after his services. The fact that the Seagulls were competing with Port to sign such an experienced player fired President Tony Hannebery into action. In the end it was Wheeler's influence that made Round a Williamstown player. Recruited primarily to play in the ruck, Williamstown was able to play Round at centre half-forward because Kim Kershaw was doing so well on the ball. Round was 36 by the time he made his debut with Williamstown. It mattered little because the big fellow continued to play well and was responsible for drawing a lot of people to games.

For more stories on Barry Round from some of the Club identities of the era please click on the following link to one of Bruce Davis' productions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1_H-Q92ppE

There was a major change to the VFA in 1986 with the number of teams in First Division being reduced from 12 to 10 by relegating the bottom three from the previous season. Brunswick, the 1985 Second Division premier, was promoted and met the Seagulls at Brunswick in the opening round, where Williamstown came from 38 points down just after three-quarter time, and with no interchange, to snatch a two-point win, thanks to final quarter heroics from Barry Round, on debut, Rob Dimartino with 3 goals on one leg and Ron James. Recruits Peter Lane and Grant Smith were also prominent in their first game. Two large defeats followed against Coburg (by 6 goals) and Preston (10 goals) before the team bounced back by beating Port Melbourne at Williamstown for the first time since 1974 in round 4. The win, by 49 points, with Fotheringham kicking 14 goals after returning from a broken nose was coach Wheeler's first victory against the Borough and the first over the old enemy since 1982. The wins by the seconds and thirds as well completed the first treble over Port since 1972. Three consecutive victories followed over Geelong West, Springvale and Camberwell by 189 points (Larry Simmons 9 goals, Fotheringham 7 despite suffering a second broken nose). Williamstown's score of 38.24.252 was the Seagulls seniors highest-ever at Pt Gellibrand. The seconds also won by an amazing 339 points (57.23.365 to 3.8.26) with newcomer Andrew Gibson booting 21 goals and 9 behinds, the greatest number of majors ever kicked by a Seagull in either firsts or seconds football. After seven rounds Williamstown was second on the ladder, one win and 20 percentage points behind Coburg. While there was no doubt Williamstown would reach the final four, a loss at Frankston in round 8 and a narrow defeat at Coburg in round 11 followed by a 39-point thrashing at the hands of Preston in round 12, with Fotheringham and Rickman both held goaless, kept the season in perspective. Although only one more game was lost for the season interspersed with some huge victories, including an 11-goal win at Port in round 14, the Seagulls first at North Port for 14 years, the Seagulls did not gain the double chance and had to start their quest for the flag from the first semi-final after finishing third with 12 wins and six defeats. They failed to beat any of the other three finalists - Coburg, Frankston and Preston - in the home and away rounds, although they did get to within 14 points at Frankston and 7 points at Coburg and 5 points of Frankston at Pt Gellibrand in the return game (Steven Knight 7 goals), despite the Seagulls having 29 scoring shots to the Dolphins 19. This was Brett McTaggart's 50th senior game for the Seagulls. 

Williamstown was a 10-point winner in the first semi-final against Preston in a tight encounter (Fotheringham 7 goals) with Barry Round playing his best game for the Seagulls to date, in his first senior final victory after having played in two losing ones at Footscray. It also continued the 'Town's unbeaten run in finals games against the Bullants, having beaten them in finals in 1955, 1972 and 1985, despite full-forward Jamie 'Spider' Shaw's 10 goals for Preston. They then comfortably accounted for Frankston 19.19 to 12.17 in the preliminary final, with 15 year-old Ron James best-on-ground and defender Glenn Murphy amassing 36 kicks and 10 marks. Mark Fotheringham's 4th goal in the preliminary was his 500th for Williamstown. 

Video of the first semi-final can be seen by copying and pasting the following link into your internet browser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1WxHcJLT_I

 

Coburg, which had headed the ladder and easily won the second semi-final against Frankston by more than 10 goals, was a formidable opponent to meet in the Grand Final, the first meeting of the two Clubs for the premiership since the Seagulls' triumph in 1959. There had been seven previous finals clashes between Willi and the 'Burgers with the Seagulls victorious on six occassions. The game, played before a crowd of 20,146, also marked the 101st clash between Coburg and Williamstown. The 'Town were a goal up at the first break but then the Lions threatened to kick away in the second quarter when they opened up a 15-point lead, but Williamstown fought back to lead by four points at half-time. The 'Burgers grabbed the lead back with a snapped goal shortly after the long break, but kicking with the breeze in the third quarter, the Seagulls won the game with a devastating burst, adding 8 goals to just one by the 'Burgers after moving Round into the ruck about 10 minutes into the term. Coburg's momentum was upset when, at the eight-minute mark of the third quarter, captain-coach Phil Cleary was ordered from the ground for 15 minutes for unduly rough play which upset the Lions balance. Whether this cost Coburg the game is open to question because the way Williamstown played it would have won under any circumstances.

Video of Phil Cleary's send-off can be seen by copying and pasting the following link into your internet browser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhAlG-dO_ec

The Seagulls led by 45 points at three-quarter time and extended this to 52 points six minutes into the last term. By midway through the last quarter Coburg had rallied to slash the difference to 21 points, and there was a slim chance that it could cause an upset. Twice Williamstown goaled to steady, although Coburg eventually kicked eight goals to three for the term to cut the final margin to 13 points, 17.9.111 to 14.14.98. It was the Seagull's eleventh Division One flag and the first since 1959.  

Tony Pastore, a first-year player called in to replace suspended full back Mark 'Mopsy' Brierty and the injured Rob Dimartino, was outstanding for the Seagulls in his first-ever outing in that position and was awarded the Norm Goss Memorial Medal for best-on-ground. Captain-coach Wheeler and centre half-back Glenn Murphy - son of 1958 and '59 dual premiership player Lindsay Murphy - also shone in defence. Ruck-rover Grant Smith with three goals, Ron James on the half-forward line and Round were others to stand out. Fotheringham kicked five goals to give him 79 for the season and third place on the VFA list, while rover Lindsay Cahill booted four.

Williamstown's 1986 premiership team line-up was:

Backs:               Terry Wheeler        Tony Pastore         Wayne Muschialli

Half-backs:        Sandy Morrison     Glenn Murphy         Brett McTaggart

Centre:                                                             Alun Owen

Half-forwards:    Rick Slevison         Barry Round         Ian Rickman

Forwards:          Andrew Gibson  Mark Fotheringham  Lindsay Cahill

Followers:          Kim Kershaw         Grant Smith

Rover:                Kevin Sait

Interchange:       Ron James          Larry Simmons

Captain/Coach:  Terry Wheeler

Video of Williamstown celebrating the premiership win can be seen by copying and pasting the following link into your internet browser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gUdI-G2CAk

By also winning the seconds and thirds premierships in 1986, both coached by Bruce Davis, Williamstown made it a clean sweep and underlined the depth of talent within the Club. This feat had been achieved previously in 1969, but that was in Second Division. Preston was the only other First Division club to achieve the trifecta, doing it in both 1983 and 1984. So this was arguably the greatest season in the 122-year history of the Club. Ironically, the Reserves 20.16.136 defeated Preston 18.15.123, with Ricky Knight booting 6 goals and being judged best-on-ground, after the scores were level at the 25-minute mark of the final quarter. The under 19's won 18.11.119 to Preston's 16.11.107, helped by a 9-goal second quarter, with 17 year-old full-forward, Scott Whitzell, kicking six goals and bringing up his century for the season (he finished with 103) in his first year at the Club. Glen Brook and Richie Raeburn both booted four. Raeburn was voted best-on-ground. It was the Seconds' 11th premiership and the Thirds' sixth. The Reserves had finished on top of the ladder in that grade after the completion of the home-and-away rounds with 15 wins and 3 losses and a percentage of 201%, while the Thirds finished in second place with 14 wins and 4 defeats and a percentage of 315%. 

The reserves 1986 premiership team line-up was:

Backs:                  Nick Dimartino    Craig Nankervis    Gavin Johnstone

Half-backs:        Mark Kennerdy    Andy Maher     Steve Weir 

Centre:                                             Kevin 'Hap' Hughes

Half-forwards:    Ricky Knight      Tony Dullard     Steve Knight

Forwards:          Doug Cooper     Tommy McGowan      Bill Mitchell

Followers:          Peter Shorthouse    Peter Lane

Rover:                Richie Raeburn

Interchange:       Steve Eather    Vin Dimartino    Phillip Brook    Chris Sandells

Coach:                Bruce Davis 

Several records were set when the Seagulls visited Camberwell on August 10 that year. Williamstown's score of 55.17 to 4.8 was the highest kicked in any senior VFA game in 109 years, eclipsing Waverley's 52.31 against Sunshine in 1981 in second division and Port Melbourne's 43.29 against Sandringham in 1941. The winning margin of 315 points was the greatest of all time and Andrew Gibson's total of 22 goals was a Club record, surpassing the 20 goals kicked by both Ron Todd in 1945 and Harry 'Soapy' Vallence in 1941. It was still three short of the 25 kicked by George Gough for Northcote against Prahran in 1924, but put him in equal second place with Bob Pratt (22 for Coburg in 1941) and Peter Schofield (22 for Moorabbin in 1954). Barry Round also helped himself to 7 majors. The Seagulls percentage went up by 20 points as a result of the massacre. Williamstown's previous highest score had been 42.18 against Box Hill in 1985. While the big score against Camberwell was a feat, it was by no means Williamstown's proudest moment due to the opposition being so demonstrably weak. Thankfully, Mark Fotheringham did not play in this game due to a shoulder injury. The Seagulls had also won by 189 points when the teams met earlier in the season, although the Cobras did defeat the 'Town in 1985. Gibson had also kicked 21 goals in the seconds against Camberwell in that earlier clash. The Reserves also won by 357 points, kicking 60.22, while the Thirds finished with 57.34 to win by 369 points, meaning the three sides won by a total of 1041 points.

Kim Kershaw won his fourth consecutive Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for best and fairest player in the seniors, surpassing the record he had held jointly with Arthur 'Porky' Sykes (1930-32) and Ray Smith (1959-61). Glenn Murphy was runner-up with Grant Smith in third place. For the fifth year in succession, Mark Fotheringham won the Bert Hodge Memorial Trophy for leading goalkicker with a total of 79 in an injury-interrupted season, including a broken nose twice during the year. He booted his 500th for Williamstown in the preliminary final. Barry Wright was awarded the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy for best clubman. Fifteen-year old Ron James won the inaugural Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Reserves, from Mark Kennedy and Steven Eather. He also finished 5th in the Todd Medal for best & fairest in the VFA seconds. Andrew Gibson was leading goalkicker in the Seconds with 86, including 9 in the second semi, and took out the VFA Reserves goalkicking award. He also kicked over 50 in the seniors during the year, including 22 in the game against Camberwell. Ian Argus took out the under 19's best and fairest from Ross Hodges and Glen Brooks. Scott Whitzell was the leading goalscorer in the Thirds. Defender Alun Owen played his 50th senior game in round 3 at Preston. 

Before the start of the season, the Coasts, Open Space and Waterways branch of the State Government Ministry of Planning and Environment advised the Williamstown Council that the football ground did not 'support a coastal dependent use' and that the football and cricket clubs should be 'encouraged to relocate inland'. There was an immediate and vociferous protest and the Ministry backed down. More worryingly, the declaration of the W.L. Floyd pavilion as a fire hazard was serious and the Council subsequently spent about $100,000 rectifying the problem along with the sub-standard toilets at the ground.

Former long-serving president Arthur Johnson (1958-65 and 1969-72) passed away in 1986, aged 94, and the Club also lost life-members Myrtle Deller at the age of 76, former vice-presidents Tom Orange and 89yo George Holdsworth, along with 1945 and 1949 premiership teammates and best & fairest winners 70yo Colin Wilcox (173 games) and 64yo Fred 'Snowy' Matthews (100 games). Wilcox also played in the 1939 flag side. 1949 premiership wingman Bill Sheahan and 78yo former full-back of about 50 games, Alf Bliss, who was Harry 'Soapy' Vallence's brother-in-law, also passed away during the year. The Seconds best and fairest award was named in Bill Sheahan's honour from this year onwards. Mrs Deller was the mother of Janet Dooley, grandmother of Merryl Dooley and sister of Larry Floyd. Janet Dooley was on the Club's ladies committee and worked in the canteen from 1953 until 2018, an amazing 65 years! 

Players to depart during 1986 included Rollo Goetz (1977-1985 76 games, 54 goals) who went to Spotswood and Rob Semmens (1985 20 games, 8 goals) due to a severe leg injury sustained at training during match practice in the 1985 finals. After some games in the reserves, he transferred to Wangaratta during 1986 but returned to play some games in the seconds in 1987. Murray Nilsson played one senior game and five reserves matches then went back to Glenroy. 

 

Barry Round on his first night of training, pictured with captain-coach Terry Wheeler and president Tony Hannebery

      Brett McTaggart returned to the Club in 1986 after spending 1984/85 with Essendon

        Star Spotswood goalkicker, Andrew Gibson, joined Williamstown in 1986

           Tony Pastore also crossed to Williamstown from Spotswood in 1986 

Peter Lane crossed from Doutta Galla Stars in 1986. He had won the Morrish Medal with Essendon under 19's in 1980

 Grant Smith joined Williamstown from Spotswood in 1986

Tom McGowan was elevated from the Thirds but played in the winning grand final team in that grade 

Sandy Morrison was recruited from Warragul

Ricky Knight and Peter Shorthouse both came to Williamstown from West Footscray in 1986

Peter Shorthouse crossed from West Footscray along with Ricky Knight

Stephen 'Speed' Eather rejoined Williamstown after spending a year overseas

Paul John acted as a selector and helped out in the coaching box while recovering from a leg injury in 1986

                                                                                 1986 playing list

Williamstown came from 38 points down just after three-quarter time in the opening match of the season at Brunswick with no interchange available to snatch a two-point win, thanks to final quarter heroics from Rob Dimartino who kicked 3 goals in the last term while suffering from a leg injury 

                               Life member Myrtle Deller, left, sister of Larry Floyd and mother of Janet Dooley, passed away in 1986 at the age of 76

George Holdsworth, life member and vice-president from 1951-1965, passed away in early 1986

Volunteers Andy Daly (training assistant) and Terry Maloney. 'Pee Wee' Maloney was reserves team manager from 1972-82 and then became both senior and reserves team manager from 1983, taking over the senior role from his great mate, Bob Pearman. 

       The Williamstown Backers Group, formed in November 1985, was another supporter fund-raising arm of the Club at the time  

 

 

Williamstown beat Port Melbourne at Williamstown for the first time since 1974 in round 4. The win was coach Wheeler's first victory against the Borough and the Club's first over the old enemy since 1982. The wins by the seconds and thirds as well completed the first treble over Port since 1972

There were three Dimartinos on the senior list in 1986 and a fourth, Frank, in the Thirds 

Steven Knight joined his brother, Ricky, at Williamstown from Pt Adelaide SANFL half-way through the 1986 season

Andy Daly was technical assistant to coach, Terry Wheeler, in the 1986 season 

Phil Brook played in the 1986 Reserves premiership side 

Craig Nankervis played in the Reserves side most of 1986

Andy Maher returned to Williamstown in 1986 after spending two seasons with Swan Districts in WA

Round 7 v. Camberwell,  Williamstown's score was the Seagulls seniors highest-ever at Pt Gellibrand. The second's huge win was highlighted by newcomer Andrew Gibson booting 21 goals and 9 behinds, the greatest number of majors ever kicked by a Seagull in either firsts or seconds football. Ron Todd and Harry 'Soapy' Vallence had both kicked 20 goals in games previously. 

                  Larry 'No Legs' Simmons, 9 goals against Camberwell at Williamstown in round 7

Kevin 'Hap' Hughes, four goals and named second-best in the massive round 7 win over Camberwell  

Round 16 v. Camberwell at Camberwell, the VFA's highest-ever score & winning margin.

Not a bad day for the club, 172 goals kicked across the three grades.

Andrew Gibson meets the great Ron Todd following his record 22-goal haul v. Camberwell in round 16, passing Todd's 20-goals v. Oakleigh in 1945

1968 Olympic silver medallist, Peter Norman, helped out with fitness and conditioning during 1986

Robert Semmens did not play seniors in 1986 due to a severe leg injury sustained at training during match practice during the 1985 finals. After some games in the reserves, he transferred to Wangaratta during the season 

Alun Owen, voted most consistent player for 1986, clears at Sandringham in round 18  

Tony Pastore gets a handball away at Sandringham in the eight-goal victory, 24.21.165-18.9.117, in round 18 

Team lists, First semi-final, Williamstown v. Preston at Junction Oval, August 31, 1986

 

Both Clubs also played in the Thirds second semi-final on the same day at Werribee, with the Seagulls triumphant 22.15.147 to 11.11.77

         Grant Smith gets a kick away against Preston in the first semi-final at the Junction Oval, St Kilda 

                                   1986 first semi-final action, Mark Fotheringham (7 goals) and Preston captain, David Brine 

Grant Smith (#37) flies for a mark in the first semi-final against Preston at Junction Oval

 

Some footage of the 1986 first semi-final between Williamstown and Preston can be seen at the following link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1WxHcJLT_I&t=159s

 

Williamstown Reserves met Preston in the second semi-final and won 21.14.140 to 12.14.86 with Andrew Gibson kicking 9 goals

Grant Smith marks in the preliminary final against Frankston in front of Barry Round and Mark Fotheringham

VFA Thirds grand final teams, featuring future senior players Brett Gould (1989-1998 143 games, 31 goals), Glen Brook (1988-1990 8 games, 8 goals), Gavin Johnstone (1988 two games, no goals), Ross Hodges (1988 two games, no goals), Ian Argus (1987 3 games, one goal) and Leyton Miles (1990-1992 20 games, 15 goals).

Thirds (Under 19's) winning Grand Final result, with 17yo Scott Whitzell bringing up his century of goals for the season

 

 

VFA leading goalkickers up to Grand Final day - Fotheringham kicked 5 to finish the year with 79. Andrew Gibson played in the senior Grand Final so finished up with 86 goals in the Reserves and over 50 in the Seniors. Scott Whitzell booted six in the Grand Final in the Thirds to bring up his century of goals for the season, a feat he repeated in 1987. 

Suspended full back Mark 'Mopsy' Brierty was replaced in the Grand Final by first-year player Tony Pastore, who was awarded the Norm Goss Memorial Medal for best-on-ground. 

 

        Defender Alun Owen clears the ball during the Grand Final against Coburg 

 

                 Glenn Murphy traps the ball during the 1986 Grand Final v. Coburg

Grant Smith takes one of his 12 marks in the Grand Final over Barry Round and Coburg's Brad Nimmo 

Glenn Murphy (#14) gets a defensive fist in to spoil Coburg's Ross Christensen

                             Wayne 'Roo' Muschialli marks in the Grand Final 

Mark Fotheringham takes a grab in the Grand Final under pressure from Coburg's Mark Zanon

                  Mark Fotheringham fires off a handball during the Grand Final 

 

  Wayne Muschialli about to mark in the Grand Final while Glenn Murphy looks on 

Grant Smith in a contest for the ball during the Grand Final while Barry Round looks on 

Deputy vice-captain Glenn Murphy marks strongly in the Grand Final against Coburg 

                                                                      Weekly Times, September 24, 1986

               Captain-coach, Terry Wheeler, receives the premiership cup from Victorian Premier, John Cain 

Captain-coach Terry Wheeler with the premiership cup

Terry Wheeler addresses the crowd while Mark Fotheringham holds the Cup. President Tony Hannebery is behind. 

          Tony Pastore receives the Mitsubishi Motors Best Player Award from Graeme Longbottom of Mitsubishi

               Williamstown ruckman, Barry Round, is chaired from the ground at the end of the Grand Final 

Ricky Slevison, Sandy Morrison, Ron James and Mark Fotheringham celebrate the win in the 1986 grand final

Mark Fotheringham with the premiership cup while President Tony Hannebery looks on 

                              Barry Round and Ian Rickman back in the rooms after the Grand Final victory 

                                                                                                                  Weekly Times, September 24, 1986

                                                                                         Weekly Times, September 24, 1986

Captain-coach Terry Wheeler, leader in the most successful year in the Club's long history

                                  1986 Reserves winning Grand Final result

                                                                          The Mail, September 24, 1986

                                                                                              The Age, September 22, 1986

                                                                            Williamstown Advertiser, September 24, 1986

                                                          The Mail, September 24, 1986

                                                        The Mail, September 24, 1986

Thirds players with the premiership cup won in that grade, from left, captain Craig Steinhardt, vice-captain Gavin Johnstone and Tommy McGowan 

Back row: Andy Maher, Bill Mitchell, Tom McGowan, Phillip Brook, Peter Shorthouse, Rob Dimartino, Alun Owen, Wayne Muschialli, Vin Dimartino, Stephen Eather, Steve Knight

Third row: Peter Lane, Laurie Taylor, Grant Smith, Andrew Gibson, Barry Round, Kim Kershaw, Tony Dullard, Glenn Murphy, Tony Pastore, Ian Rickman, Sandy Morrison

Second row: Mark Kennedy, Ricky Knight, Ricky Slevison, Bruce Davis (assistant coach), Terry Wheeler (C/C), Kevin Hughes, Chris Sandells, Doug Cooper

Front row: Lindsay Cahill, Brett McTaggart, Ron James, Steven Weir, Paul John, Larry Simmons, Nick Dimartino, Kevin Sait

Absent: Mark Fotheringham (vice-captain) 

Williamstown Football Club - 1986 VFA Under 19s - Premiers
BACK ROW: Leyton Miles, Craig Dawson, Ray Arandez, Vin Dimartino, Frank Dimartino, Brett Gould, Mick Corum, Richie Raeburn, Wayne Taylor, Joe Ferguson
MIDDLE ROW: Mark Anderson, Shane Roache, Ross College, Scott Daykin, Mark Owen, Bob Purves, Scott Whitzell, Tom McGowan
FRONT ROW: Ross Hodges, Brad Stafford, Ian Argus, Craig Steinhardt (Captain) Bruce Davis (Coach), Gavin Johnstone (Vice Captain), Ross Jackson, Glenn Evans, Glen Brook

Absent: Bill Rashid