Season Summary: 1998
Traralgon, which had managed only four wins and a draw to go with 31 defeats in its two seasons in the VFL, dropped out and returned to the Latrobe Valley Football League and was replaced by a Bendigo team in 1998. There was also a question mark over Preston's future in the competition but it ultimately made the finals, finishing in fifth position.
Saade Ghazi took over the captaincy from Tony Pastore in this season after 'Paz' moved to Springvale, with Merv Keane entering his third year as coach. Danny Delre was vice-captain and Brett Gould deputy vice-captain. New players included Michael Brown, Peter Christoforo, Brad Hollow, Matthew Bettin, Robert McMahon, Andrew Lattenstein, Rob Railton, Todd McHardy, Matthew Forys and Daryl Griffin.
An indifferent start to the season cost Williamstown the chance of playing in the finals. With only two wins in the first eight games, the Seagulls then played consistently to win the next five. The 'Town then had to play four of the five eventual finalists and lost every one, confirming that a finals berth was beyond them. A victory over Bendigo in the last round gave Williamstown eight wins from 18 home-and-away fixtures, missing out on a spot in the final six by just one game. Fifth-placed Preston was defeated twice by the 'Town, while fourth-placed North Ballarat was also beaten. There were also narrow losses to the other finalists, Sandringham (6 points), Frankston (11 points), eventual runner-up Werribee (15 points) and premier Springvale (19 points).
Centre half-forward and vice-captain, Danny Delre, proved useful in attack and his 60 goals for the season was the best by a Williamstown player since Ian Rickman's 82 in 1992. His fine season also earned him the club's Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for best and fairest to go with the Bert Hodge Memorial Trophy as leading goalscorer. Midfielder, Lee Fraser, was runner-up in the best and fairest. Full-back Troy West was awarded the Ron James Memorial Trophy for most valuable player to go with VFL representation and selection in the VFL All-Star team, while Cameron Beazley won the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy as best and fairest in the Reserves, coached by Mick Baker, which made the finals. The Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy for best clubman went to Kevin Johnson.
Before the end of the year, former Geelong grand final player and captain and Brisbane defender, Andrew Bews, had been appointed coach, replacing Merv Keane, with former Footscray and North Melbourne player, Keenan Reynolds, his assistant.
Western Times report from February 1998 on the Club's gaming venue, Seagulls, which opened in December 1997. Pictured are coach Merv Keane, captain Saade Ghazi, player Steve Zavalas and Club legend Barry Round.
Brownlow medallist Nathan Buckley made his return from a hamstring injury through the VFL with Williamstown in 2007 in a best on ground performance.Read more ...