Season Summary: 1994
With the future of the VFA very much in doubt, Williamstown went into 1994 with Mark Cross, a tough former captain and rover from the 1970's and member of the 1976 second division premiership team (74 games, 125 goals), as coach and Tony Pastore as captain, replacing the retired Brett McTaggart. Simon Lloyd was appointed vice-captain and Andrew Howlett deputy vice-captain. Bill Swan was the new coach of the Reserves and Trevor Davies was in charge of the Thirds. Among the recruits was former Williamstown Under 19's and North Melbourne/Carlton/St Kilda player Mark Arceri who was appointed assistant coach. Mark's father, Tony, had been 'Town president in 1975. Troy Carrick from the Under 19's, future Liston Medallist Paul Dooley, 22 year-old Troy West from West Perth, 18 year-old Brad Lloyd, younger brother of vice-captain Simon, Andrew Venner from North Melbourne and Gary Barrow from Footscray were other recruits. Troy Mitchell returned after a season at Yarrawonga, and 27 year-old Phil O'Keefe transferred over from Werribee mid-season in a swap with Jason 'Square' Williams. O'Keefe kicked four goals on debut, ironically against Werribee, in a 22-point victory in round 10.
In March, president Graham Oborne revealed that, after two major sponsors pulled out, the Club needed $100,000 in the short-term to survive and owed $40,000 to players for the last half of the 1993 season. He launched a public appeal, including a door-knock in the Williamstown area, and the Club managed to obtain a loan of $100,000 from Williamstown Council to help matters. Oborne stepped down as President in July and was replaced by Kim Walsh and a new board of directors.
After losing the opening three games rather badly to Oakleigh by 5 goals, to Sandringham by 50 points and to Dandenong by 45 points (Turcinovich 7 goals, Mitchell best), the Seagulls improved to win the next three games, including a 62-point victory over Prahran at Williamstown in round 6, to square the ledger after six rounds. Future premiership co-captains, Troy West and Brad Lloyd, both debuted in the round 1 fixture at Oakleigh, as did Aceri and Carrick. Another three consecutive defeats was a setback, particularly when Williamstown led Springvale by 17 points at the 12-minute mark of the final quarter in the round 8 fixture at Pt Gellibrand and lost by 15 points, 90-75. This led to a physical confrontation between coach and a player after the match, and threats by the coach to quit. He was talked out of it after a meeting with the Club, but general manager, John Sell, who came with Cross from Melbourne, did not return, and the player involved also left the Club. Sell was replaced by Mark Dunphy. There was also a 77-point defeat at Port Melbourne in round 7. Four victories in the next five games gave hope of a finals berth, including a 2-point win over Port in the return game in round 12 and a 12-goal victory against Oakleigh in round 14, before three losses in the last four rounds of the home-and-away season ended a disappointing year where Williamstown won just eight of the 18 games for the year to finish in eighth place, three wins and substantial percentage out of the final five.
Troy Mitchell took out his third Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for senior best and fairest from recruit Gary Barrow while fellow newcomer Phil O'Keefe led the goal-kicking with a modest total of just 24 majors to take out the Bert Hodge Memorial Trophy. Another first-year player in Brad Lloyd was awarded the most consistent player trophy, while yet another recruit, Troy West, took out the Ron James Memorial MVP award.
Ricky Knight won the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Reserves from Simon Parsons. David Patterson was leading goalkicker in the Seconds, while 1990 premiership player, Stevie Johansen, was the most consistent player in the Reserves.
Robbie Penna won the Harold Hosking Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Under 19's with Michael Brown runner-up. Matthew Swinton was leading goalkicker in the Thirds while James McCutcheon was most consistent player and John Issa was best player in the finals.
The Thirds made the grand final against Sandringham in the final year of that competition but were unsuccessful, going down to the Zebras 12.20.92 to 11.10.76. Footage of the game can be seen by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser:
Former President, Graham Oborne, was awarded the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy for best clubman. Ricky Knight was awarded the A. Todd Medal as the best and fairest player in the VFA Reserves, his second following his win in 1993. Terry Maloney was again team manager for the Firsts and Seconds.
Andrew Howlett played his 100th senior game for Williamstown against Frankston in round 11 in a 122-point defeat. The Thirds again ended runners-up, this time to Sandringham which won the flag in all three grades. 1994 was to be the final year of the Under 19's VFA competition.
At the annual meeting held in November, life memberships were awarded to founder and editor of the Dogtown Dialogue newsletter, Stuart Brown, Club doctor from 1983 to 1993, Manu Gilani, and long-time volunteers Ernie Poole, Ray Grzonek, Kevin Bury and Bryan 'Pro' Hamment. The honour was also bestowed upon former captain-coach, Barry Round (110 games 103 goals 1986-91, premierships 1986/90, Liston Trophy 1987, Club B&F 1987/88/89) and Keith Reitman, 1948 Seconds premiership and Seconds president 1966/67, who was the son of 1907 premiership hero, Bert Reitman.
Before the end of the year, former Geelong player Damien Christensen had been appointed coach for the 1995 season, and Sharon Walsh was back at the Club as general manager, replacing Mark Dunphy.
1976 premiership rover Mark Cross replaced Barry Round as coach in 1994
Newly-appointed captain for 1994, 126 game veteran Tony Pastore
some of the 1994 recruits to the Club
1994 assistant coach, Mark Aceri
A sign of troubled times ahead
Andrew 'Ghost' Howlett gets in a fist to spoil against Springvale in round 8
1994 general manager, John Sell, did not return to the Club after the altercation in round 8 at Williamstown
Mark Dunphy succeeded John Sell as general manager, until Sharon Walsh took over later in the year
Kim Walsh took over as President in July when Graham Oborne stood down, Sharon became GM in late 1994
A new board took over the running of the Club in July when Kim Walsh became President
Phil O'Keefe, four goals on debut after transferring from Werribee mid-season
The volunteers at the Club in 1994, as detailed in the Dogtown Dialogue
Here Andy Howlett takes a text-book grab against Coburg in round 17
Julian Toby, 1994 chairman of selectors
Ricky Knight won the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Reserves in 1994
Gulls coterie member, Graeme Shortt (left) with Gulls president, Geoff Dougall, playing one of the lottery machines that the Gulls had in several Williamstown hotels before the advent of poker machines.
Three-time best & fairest winner Troy Mitchell
18 year-old Brad Lloyd made his debut in round one against Oakleigh at Warrawee Park Oval.
Legendary property steward, Ron Johnson, with star wingman, Ashley Koenig, back from a knee reconstruction suffered in 1993
Steve Symons and Greg 'Nuts' Minett
1990 premiership hero Bill Swan, was retired and coaching the reserves in 1994.
Trevor Davies, the last coach of Williamstown Under 19's before the competition was abolished
Seagulls to wear #6, Tony 'Spud' Dullard (41 senior games, 43 goals 1980's) and Joey Patterson (debuted in 1991 after graduating through the Thirds & Seconds, 7 senior games to the end of 1993).
Williamstown Reserves footballer, Craig Sheedy, trained with Victoria' Sheffield Shield squad in 1994
Article from Dogtown Dialogue during 1994 in reference to Williamstown Thirds' record goal-scoring spree in 1983.
1994 presentation night, from left Phil O'Keefe, Marcus O'Connor, David Patterson, Brian Patterson, Joe Patterson and Greg Minett.
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