Season Summary: 1988
Players to depart over the summer included Mark Fotheringham (coach of Keilor), Kevin Sait (retired, after 94 games, 137 goals and the 1986 premiership), Andy Colenso (returned to Queensland) and Kevin Hughes (North Melbourne), whilst the recruits included Bruce 'Oysters' Mourney (from Port Melbourne via West Adelaide), Murray Cooper (Spotswood), Matt Johnson (Altona City), Wayne Morrisey (North Melbourne under 19's), Gerard Robertson and Russell Webster (Essendon), Brian Duggan (Deer Park) and Darrin Rowsell (Riddells Creek). Peter Shorthouse returned after a year playing in Queensland, and Wayne Muschialli went to Western Australia but was back at Williamstown by the middle of the season. Ross Hodges, Scott Whitzell, Ross Jackson & Craig Kelly were promoted from last year's Under 19's premiership side while Paul McKay, Tom McGowan, Gavin Johnstone and Glen Brooks all debuted during the year. 1986 Norm Goss Medallist, Tony Pastore, returned after a year at Richmond where he played one senior AFL game and won the Tigers Reserves best and fairest. Steven Knight transferred to Brunswick during the season. Larry 'No Legs' Simmons took over as coach of the Club's under 19 team after Bruce Davis moved on to Footscray as their Third's coach, but Simmons was left with only three players from the previous year's premiership side.
The Association contracted further over the summer with Northcote (after 80 years and 7 premierships), Mordialloc (30 years and one premiership), Waverley (28 years and one premiership), Berwick and Caulfield all leaving for various reasons. For the first time since 1981, VFA football was broadcast on a weekly basis by the ABC.
The season started badly with a scoreless first quarter which culminated in a ten-goal loss to the eventual minor premier, Coburg, at Port Melbourne, which saw the Seagulls on the bottom of the ladder. This was followed by a 13-goal victory over Frankston in the first home game for the year. It was the Seagull's fifth consecutive win over the Dolphins. A two-goal loss at Pt Melbourne in round 3 (newcomer Gerard Robertson 6 goals with all coming from free kicks in the third quarter) when scores were level just before time-on after Port led by 34 points at the four-minute mark of the last quarter, led to three successive victories to set up the season, including a 6-point win over Springvale in round 4 thanks to a late goal by Brett McTaggart, a 9-goal defeat of Brunswick in round 5 (in Rob Dimartino's 50th senior match) and a 50-point victory over Sandringham in round 6 (Bruce Mourney 5 goals in his senior debut and Lindsay Cahill's 50th senior game), after being 17 points adrift at half-time before adding 15 goals to two in the last half.
Some footage of the round 3 game between Williamstown and Port Melbourne can be seen at the following link
The Seagulls surprisingly went down in atrocious conditions at Toorak Park in round 7 by 3 goals to Prahran, who were on the bottom of the ladder and coming off six successive losses, before bouncing back to defeat Box Hill, who were coming off four consecutive wins, at Pt Gellibrand by 15 goals in round 8 to advance to second position on the ladder. 1986 premiership player, Sandy Morrison, appeared for the Mustangs in this game. Barry Round took 15 marks and kicked 7 goals in the 11-point win at Preston in round 9. After 10 rounds Williamstown had recorded seven wins and three losses, including the defeat of ladder-leaders, Coburg, by 22 points at Pt Gellibrand in round 10 to secure second place on the table, one game clear of Port Melbourne. This was an 84-point turnaround from the clash against the Lions at Port in round one and 'Town's first win over the 'Burgers since 1984 in a home-and-away game. The Seagulls led by 59 points at the 18-minute mark of the last quarter before Coburg added 5.7 for the remainder of the term. Barry Round played his 50th senior game for Williamstown in this clash.
Four consecutive defeats in rounds 11-14 to Frankston, with their first win in two months (by 28 points in Tommy McGowan's first senior game and the team missing Round, McTaggart, Mourney and Cahill due to VFA representative duties in WA), Port Melbourne (by just 4 points in front of a crowd of 8000 in Glenn Murphy's 100th senior game), Springvale (by 30 points in the mud at Springvale without McTaggart, Whillas, Pastore and Kershaw in Ricky Slevison's 100th senior game) and Brunswick (by 16 points in the wind and rain where captain-coach Wheeler was reported and subsequently suspended for striking former Seagull Steve Knight) were a setback, but a finals spot was ensured with four successive victories to round out the home-and-away games. This included a 5-goal win at Sandringham in round 15 (Rickman 5 goals), a 61-point defeat of Prahran in round 16 and a huge 114-point win at Box Hill in round 17 (Rickman 7 goals). This was the season's biggest haul to date for Rickman, who had taken over the full-forward position from Mark Fotheringham. The home-and-away rounds were completed with a 28-point victory over Preston at Williamstown (Rickman 6 goals) after trailing by a goal at three-quarter time following the Bullants' 7 goal third quarter with the wind.
In a particularly even season, Coburg headed the ladder with 13 wins, one more than Preston, then came the Seagulls with 11 wins and Port Melbourne with 10, which edged out Springvale on percentage. Wooden-spooner Prahran still managed to win five of the 18 home and away games. Williamstown was certainly a premiership contender despite having to make its assault from the first semi against Port on their home ground. After playing all First Division finals at the Junction Oval for 18 years, the VFA were forced to make a change in 1988 after the MFB declared the grandstands a fire hazard. The semi-finals and preliminary were played at Port Melbourne, with the Grand Final at Windy Hill, Essendon.
In a high-scoring encounter, Port led by 20 points at the first break, 7.8. to 5.0, and, had they kicked accurately in the first half, the season for Williamstown may well have been all over. The home team had 16 more scoring shots but led by only 21 points at the long break, 9.16 to 8.1. Twelve minutes in to the third term and Williamstown trailed by just one point and by three-quarter time the margin was only three points, 13.21.99 to 15.6.96. Port's Greg 'Biff' Dermott flattened Rickman and was sent off, and Williamstown took the lead from the resultant free which heralded a nine goal to one final quarter which was reminiscent of the previous year's first semi-final victory over Frankston. Rickman kicked nine goals in Williamstown's 51-point victory, but Port had just one less scoring shot in the 24.15 to 14.24 scoreline. Ruck-rover Grant Smith was judged best afield to go with his three goals and 30 possessions. Round, Raeburn and Wheeler were also prominent.
A goalless first quarter had the Seagulls trailing by 15 points at quarter time in the preliminary final against Preston, who booted the first four goals of the match, before a similar withering burst of nine goals to one in the second term had Williamstown 33 points up at the long break. Barry Round marked and goaled four times in the quarter. An even third quarter and a 5-goal final term resulted in a 50-point win, 18.17.125 to the Bullant's 11.9.75, with Round booting six goals in a dominant display. Rover Lindsay Cahill chimed in with four. Best players on the day were Murphy (24 kicks, 10 handballs, 8 marks and a goal playing on Shane Halas), Kershaw, Raeburn, Cahill, Round, Rob Dimartino and Pastore. This saw Williamstown enter their third grand final in four years.
The first-ever VFA Grand Final at Essendon's Windy Hill, before a crowd of 22,000, was also the first VFA game played at that ground since 1921, when it was still home to the Essendon Town Association Club. Coburg got away to a good start and led 6.3 to 3.5 at quarter-time, but Williamstown fought back, adding three goals in the first 8 minutes of the second term to take the lead, but were still trailing by eight points at the main break. The issue was well and truly settled in the third quarter when Coburg added 7.6 to 1.3 to jump out to a 47-point lead at the last change. Williamstown outscored the 'Burgers in the final quarter, and were just 16 points in arrears at the 21-minute mark of the final term, but still went down 16.18.114 to 12.15.87. Rickman kicked three goals in the 27-point defeat, and Cahill scored two. Better players were Cahill, Rickman, McTaggart, Murphy and Wheeler. The Seagulls had improved marginally by reaching the Grand Final in 1988, their third appearance in four years, although on the day it never looked like beating minor premier Coburg.
The game marked the end of the playing career of captain-coach Terry Wheeler after 94 games for Williamstown, who was to return to Footscray as coach of the reserves in 1989 and ultimately become senior coach in 1990. He guided the Seagulls to one premiership, two grand finals and one preliminary final in his 5 years at the Club. He was runner-up in the best and fairest award in 1984, was selected as coach and back pocket in the Club's 1980's Team of the Decade, is a member of the WFC Hall of Fame and is a life member. Also playing his final game for Williamstown was four-time best & fairest winner, Kim Kershaw, after six seasons and 81 games. He bowed out with one premiership, two grand finals, was runner-up in the Liston Trophy in 1984, first ruck in the WFC 1980's Team of the Decade, an interchange in the WFC Team of the Century, is also a member of the Club's Hall of Fame and a life member. He left to captain-coach Sunshine YCW.
Williamstown's 1988 Grand Final line-up was:
Backs: Laurie Taylor Robert Dimartino Murray Nilsson
Half-backs: Terry Wheeler Glenn Murphy Brett McTaggart
Centre: Rick Slevison
Half-forwards: Mark Kennedy Barry Round Tony Pastore
Forwards: Danny Del Re Ian Rickman Richie Raeburn
Followers: Kim Kershaw Grant Smith
Rover: Lindsay Cahill
Interchange: Darrin Rowsell Vin Dimartino
Captain/coach: Terry Wheeler
While the Grand Final wasn't a success for the Seagulls, the Club did provide the Liston Trophy winner when half-back flanker Brett McTaggart tied for the award with Coburg's Gary Sheldon. The pair finished one vote ahead of the previous year's recipient, Barry Round, while Richie Raeburn finished equal fifth. McTaggart, the team's vice-captain, is the son of former Williamstown player Jack McTaggart, who later joined Yarraville where he captained the 1961 premiership side which defeated the Seagulls in the grand final.
The Reserves side, once again under Tony Dullard, were on top of the ladder nearly all season and lost only three home-and-away encounters but went down in the second semi-final to Springvale by 3 goals, 21.14.140 to 19.8.122 (McKay and Simmons 6 goals each) in a spiteful game where 5 Seagulls were reported and sent off but only one was subsequently suspended. The Seconds then went down badly to Coburg in the preliminary final, losing by 54 points, 16.24.120 to 9.8.62 (Rowsell 4 goals), to end their season. The under 19's lost the final home-and-away game of the season in a play-off for a finals spot with Preston by 4 goals and finished in fifth place on the ladder and missed the finals in new coach, Larry Simmons', first year in charge.
Despite his Liston success McTaggart did not win the Club's Andy Taylor Memorial best and fairest award, which went to Barry Round for the second year running, with Lindsay Cahill and Grant Smith tied for second and McTaggart third. Leading goalkicker for the year was Ian Rickman with 49, who finished fifth on the VFA list. Robert Dimartino won the most consistent player award while the best finals player trophy went to Lindsay Cahill.
First-year ruckman, Wayne Morrissey, took out the Reserves' Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in that grade from Larry Simmons and Peter Shorthouse tied in second place and Ross Hodges in third spot. Hodges also took out the most consistent player award while Scott Whitzell was leading goalscorer in the seconds with 40 and finished third on the VFA list. Scott Evans was leading goalkicker and also won the Under 19's award from a three-way tie for second placing between Anthony Langham, captain Joe Zahra and Marcus O'Connor, with Ian McCullagh and Mark Tkocz also tied in third place. Tkocz also won the most consistent player award in the Thirds. The late Terry Maloney was named the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial best clubman for the year. Maloney was again team manager of the Firsts and Seconds while Geoff Van Wyngaarden looked after the Thirds with Damien Martin, son of Club legend, Johnny Martin, his assistant.
At the annual meeting held in December, life memberships were awarded to ladies committee member of 10 years, Merrill Dooley, daughter of Janet Dooley, granddaughter of Myrtle Deller and great niece of Larry Floyd, long-time volunteer and committeeman from 1978-82, Bill Hill, and committeeman from 1977-82, Ian Callander.
Before the end of the year, the Club had appointed ruck-rover, Grant Smith, to be the Club's first general manager and Barry Round as captain-coach to replace Terry Wheeler for the 1989 season.
During the season the Club mourned the loss of former player and offfcials:
- former president of 1947-49 and vice-president of 1945-46 and 1950-66, Alf Urban, in June at the age of 86;
- former president of 1955-57 and vice-president of 1953-54 and 1958-76, Jack Carter, on August 5. He was also president of the Thirds from 1952-54;
- Roy Deller, who played 71 games and kicked 7 goals from 1930-35 before crossing to North Melbourne and later Footscray, passed away on July 2 at the age of 75;
- Maurie Gear, a rover in the 1955 and 1956 premiership teams, passed away on December 29 at the age of just 54. He played 68 games and kicked 81 goals from 1955-58;
- Alan Williams, captain-coach of 1946 & 1947, was another to pass away at the age of 70 on November 6. He played 60 games and kicked 34 goals from 1946-48, including the losing 1948 grand final. He was runner-up in the 1948 Club best and fairest award and won the Williamstown Advertiser best player award in 1948; and
- 157cm (5'2") rover of 1933 and part of 1934, Bob Addison, who played 27 games and kicked 33 goals and led the goalkicking in 1933 with 23 majors, was another to pass away on March 8 at the age of 79.
No. 1 season ticket for 1988 awarded to George Mazouris, 1958 & 1959 premiership rover
Williamstown representatives in the VFA team for the Australian Bi-Centennial Football Carnival in Adelaide, March 1988
Standing: Kelly Brent (trainer), Bruce Mourney, Barry Round (captain), Brett McTaggart, Ian Fairley, John Grieve (chairman of selectors)
Kneeling: Tony Pastore, Terry Wheeler (coach), Ron James, Ray Green (runner and fitness advisor)
1988 playing list
Vin Dimartino in action during a pre-season practice match against Springvale
Alun Owen and a Springvale opponent during the pre-season practice match at Williamstown
Bruce Mourney arrived at Williamstown in 1988 from West Adelaide after playing previously with Port Melbourne (13 games in 1986)
WFC volunteers as per Dogtown Dialogue 1988.
Terry Wheeler entered his fifth and final year as captain-coach of Williamstown in 1988.
Action from the opening round at Port Melbourne where Williamstown went down by 62 points, 17.21.123 to 8.13.61, with a team missing captain-coach, Terry Wheeler, best and fairest ruckman, Kim Kershaw, as well as Grant Smith.
Barry Round played a lone hand in the opening round loss to Coburg at Port Melbourne.
Robert 'Bertie' Dimartino in action against Frankston in round two at Williamstown.
Williamstown met Frankston in the opening home game of the season and won by 13 goals, 20.14.134 to 7.15.57, with Kangaroo Flat recruit, Paul McKay, taking a spectacular mark and kicking four goals. The Seagulls booted 9.7 to three behinds in the last quarter to seal the win.
Nick Dimartino in action in the round two clash with Frankston in the first home game for the season, won by Williamstown by 13 goals.
Canteen volunteer, Jean Roberts, was KO'd by an errant kick from Peter Shorthouse early in the season.
Barry Round in action during the round 4 game at Williamstown against Springvale, won by the Seagulls by just six points, 13.11.89 to 11.17.83. Brett McTaggart kicked a behind late in the game to level the scores and then followed up with a goal from a free kick to seal the victory.
Captain-coach Terry Wheeler captured during the game against Springvale at Williamstown in round 4.
Murray Nilsson is caught by a Springvale opponent during the round 4 game at Williamstown, won by the Seagulls by 6 points.
Brett McTaggart takes a great mark over Brunswick's Neil Connell in the round 5 clash, won by the Seagulls by 56 points.
Photo from the round 6 match against Sandringham at Williamstown, won by the Seagulls by 50 points, 23.17.155 to 15.15.105, after the Zebras led by 17 points at half-time.
Mark Kennedy with Bob 'Bumper' Jones, seniors property steward who first came to Williamstown in 1912 at the age of four to watch his uncle, Bobby Gibbs, who played in Williamstown's first premiership team in 1907.
Bob 'Bonah' Jones, son of 'Bumper', was at Williamstown as a player (1958-63 53 senior games, 36 goals, 1959 premiership player), trainer and runner for more than 30 years.
Vin Dimartino and Barry Round both kicked 5 goals against Box Hill in the round 8 game at Williamstown, won by the Seagulls by 15 goals.
First-year Spotswood recruit, Murray Cooper, applies a tackle against Box Hill in the round 8 game at Williamstown.
Barry Round marks in the round 9 game at Preston, which the Seagulls won by 11 points, 15.18.108 to 13.19.97. Round took 15 marks and kicked 7 goals in a best-on-ground display.
Photo from the round 10 game at Williamstown against Coburg which the Seagulls won by 22 points, 16.13.109 to 12.15.87, an 84-point turnaround from the clash against the Lions at Port in round one and 'Town's first win over the 'Burgers since 1984 in a home-and-away game.
Grant Smith marks against Coburg in the round 10 game at Williamstown, won by the Seagulls by 22 points.
Lindsay 'Cods' Cahill applies a tackle against a Coburg opponent in the round 10 game at Williamstown, won by the Seagulls by 22 points.
Laurie Taylor in action against Coburg in round 10 at Williamstown.
Bruce 'Oysters' Mourney sets himself for a mark against Coburg full-back, Robbie Evans, in round 10 while the Lions' captain, Brad Nimmo, looks on.
Richie Raeburn was Williamstown's best player in the four-point loss to Port Melbourne at Williamstown in round 12, 12.20.92 to 12.16.88, after the Seagulls led by 28 points at half-time. This was Glenn Murphy's 100th senior game for 'Town.
Barry Round and Port's Brett Chadband do battle in the round 12 game at Williamstown, won by the Burra by 4 points.
David Whillas, named in the best players against Port Melbourne in the round 12 game at Williamstown, won by the Burra by 4 points.
Richie Raeburn, 3 goals and named second-best for the Seagulls against Port Melbourne at Williamstown in round 12.
Rob Dimartino takes a fine grab over Dean Cooper against Port at Williamstown in round 12, 1988
Williamstown defender, Rob Dimartino, takes a fine mark over Port's Dean Cooper in the round 12 clash with Port Melbourne at Williamstown.
Barry Round was Williamstown's best player in the Seagulls' 30-point loss at Springvale in round 13 in Ricky Slevison's 100th senior match.
Barry Round in action in round 15 at Sandringham, a game won by the Seagulls by 5 goals.
Captain-coach, Terry Wheeler, covered in mud, marks at Box Hill in the round 17 clash, won by the Seagulls by 114 points, 24.8.152 to 6.2.38. Ian Rickman booted 7 goals in 'Town's 12th consecutive victory over the Mustangs, going back to round 13 of the 1978 season.
1988 JJ Liston Medal results, showing the tie between Williamstown's Brett McTaggart and Gary Sheldon of Coburg, with Barry Round one vote behind & Richie Raeburn in equal fifth place.
Williamstown vice-captain, Brett McTaggart, shared the 1988 Liston Trophy with former Essendon Seconds' teammate, Gary Sheldon of Coburg in a dead-heat, with each polling 19 votes. 1987 winner, Barry Round, was one vote behind in second position.
Williamstown met Port Melbourne on their home ground in the 1988 first semi-final and, after trailing an inaccurate Borough team by 3 points at the last change, having had 13 fewer scoring shots, stormed home booting 9.9 to 1.3 to win by 51 points, 24.15.159 to 14.24.108. Ian 'Chops' Rickman kicked 9 goals in a wonderful display, with his 7th major shortly after the start of the final term putting the Seagulls in front for the first time in the match.
Grant Smith was best afield in the 1988 first semi-final victory over Port Melbourne at North Port Oval.
Ian Rickman, 9 goals in the first semi-final against Port Melbourne.
A scene from the first semi-final at North Port Oval against Port Melbourne which the Seagulls won by 51 points.
Williamstown met Preston in the 1988 preliminary final and triumphed by 50 points, 18.17.125 to 11.9.75, with 38 yo Barry Round kicking 6 goals and Lindsay Cahill four.
Barry Round being interviewed by the ABC TV's Ross Booth during the finals series at Port Melbourne.
The Williamstown team breaks through the banner at Windy Hill prior to the 1988 grand final
Kim Kershaw battles with Coburg's Greg Reynoldson in the 1988 grand final at Windy Hill, Essendon. This was Kershaw's last game for Williamstown.
Williamstown ruckman, Kim Kershaw, in a contest for the ball during the 1988 grand final.
Vin Dimartino attempts to leap over a Coburg opponent in the 1989 grand final at Windy Hill.
Williamstown's Danny Del-Re is out-positioned for the ball during the grand final at Windy Hill while Coburg' Brian Allison (#4) rushes in to assist.
Dejection after the 1988 Grand Final, from left Rick Slevison, Darrin Rowsell, Vin Dimartino and Glenn Murphy
The Reserves side, once again under Tony Dullard, were on top of the ladder nearly all season and lost only three home-and-away encounters but went down in the second semi-final to Springvale by 3 goals, 21.14.140 to 19.8.122 (McKay and Simmons 6 goals each) in a spiteful game where 5 Seagulls were reported and sent off but only one was subsequently suspended.
The Seconds went down badly to Coburg in the preliminary final, losing by 54 points, 16.24.120 to 9.8.62 (Rowsell 4 goals), to end their season.
The late Bob Pearman stepped down as Club secretary at the end of 1988, after 5 years in the role
Mark Kennedy, came to Williamstown from Footscray under 19's and played in the 1986 reserves premiership team in his first year at Pt Gellibrand
Senior player from 1984-88 (65 games and 118 goals), including the 1986 premiership and 1985 grand final, Larry Simmons, coached the Thirds in 1988. They lost the final home-and-away game of the season in a play-off for a finals spot with Preston by 4 goals and finished in fifth place on the ladder and missed the finals.
WFC president of 1955-57, Jack Carter, passed away in 1988
WFC President 1947-49, Alf Urban, also passed away during 1988.
Alan Williams, captain-coach in 1946 & 1947, passed away at the age of 70 on November 6, 1988. Williams had played 115 games and kicked 91 goals for the Magpies from 1938-45 are being recruited from Parkdale Amateurs. He played in Collingwood's grand final teams of 1938 and 1939, alongside Ron Todd. He would go on to play 60 games and kick 34 goals with Williamstown up until the end of 1948, including the grand final in his final year. He was also runner-up in the Club best and fairest award in 1948. He then retired at the age of 31 to run a guest house in Healesville.
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