Season Summary: 2000
With the cessation of the AFL reserves competition, eighteen clubs competed in the VFL in the 2000 season with the addition of seconds teams from Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong, Richmond and St Kilda, along with the Murray Kangaroos. Coburg formed a partnership with the old Fitzroy club to play as the Coburg-Fitzroy Lions and Preston became the Northern Bullants. There were four stand-alone VFL clubs in Bendigo, Frankston, North Ballarat and Springvale, and alignments between Melbourne/Sandringham, Hawthorn/Box Hill, Port Melbourne/Sydney and Western Bulldogs/Werribee/Williamstown. There was a 19 game home-and-away season and a final eight system was adopted to decide the premiership. There was also an experiment with Monday night football at Waverley which was televised on Optus pay-TV but it only lasted the one season.
Brad Lloyd returned to the Club after trying out with Hawthorn, where he won the Gardiner Medal for the League Reserves best and fairest player in 1997. Craig Smoker was also recruited from Melbourne. Players departing included Danny Del Re after 114 games and 246 goals, 1995 best and fairest and Fothergill-Round medallist Julian Shanks, 100-game player Ritchie Hore, assistant coach, Keenan Reynolds, Darren Stanley, Lazar Vidovic and Steve Zavalas. Andrew Bews continued on as coach and Troy West replaced Saade Ghazi as captain. Bruce Davis returned to the Club as an assistant coach and also coach of the reserves.
As in the previous season, Williamstown made an impressive start with a 6-goal win over Werribee at Whitten Oval in the opening round (Smoker 5 goals on debut) and a big victory over Collingwood by 9 goals in round 3 before suffering their first defeat in the sixth round. The side then rebounded with a 100-point win over Essendon in round 8 and another huge victory over Collingwood in round 19 by 81 points. There was also a 14-point defeat of eventual premier Sandringham at Williamstown in round 13. The Seagulls finished up with thirteen wins and six losses for the year to finish in sixth place on the ladder and a return to finals football for the first time since 1996. The Reserves also made the finals, finishing in sixth spot with just eight wins and nine defeats. Former captain, best and fairest winner, leading goalkicker and Liston Medal winner, Saade Ghazi, played his 200th senior game in the round 17 game at Port Melbourne which the Seagulls won by two goals.
An elimination final meeting with Box Hill was won comfortably 22.17.149 to 15.14.104, with Bulldog Patrick Bowden kicking seven goals and Peter Christoforo with five. Best were Troy West, Bowden, Christin Macri and Smoker.
The first-semi the following week against Carlton was disastrous with the Seagulls going down badly 19.11.125 to 7.9.51. This game marked the end of veteran rover Saade Ghazi’s eleven-year career with the ‘Town, during which he played 204 matches to finish as one of only three players to amass 200 games in Royal Blue and Gold, behind Ray Smith on 205 and in front of Tom Russell on 200. (Troy West and Ben Jolley would later join this trio in the 200-game club). Records of games played were not kept until Larry Floyd began the practice in the 1930’s, so it is possible that long-serving players such as Walter Warren, who played for seventeen seasons and was captain six times during the 1880’s and 1890’s, could have played more games than any of these men. Warren passed away in 1953 at the age of eighty and won the Club goalkicking in 1884.
Williamstown’s best and fairest award, known since 1951 as the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy, was renamed the Gerry Callahan Medal in honour of the former champion player and coach of the period 1951-67. It was taken out by Brad Lloyd by one vote from Christin Macri with Troy West in third place. Macri led the goalkicking with a total of 35 and Lloyd was also awarded the Ron James Memorial Trophy as most valuable player at the Club.
The Reserves exited the finals in the first week as a result of a massive defeat from Port Melbourne, going down 26.17.173 to 10.6.66. The Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Seconds was won by Matthew Montebello from Luke Collins and Nathan Tresize.
One highlight of the 2000 season was the release of the CD ‘Anthem For a Seafaring Man’, which was a musical history of the Club written by Reserves coach Bruce Davis, who was awarded the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy as best clubman for his efforts.
At the end of the 2000 season, the Western Bulldogs decided to cease the dual alignment with Williamstown and Werribee and opt to align with the 'Bees only. The Seagulls sounded out three AFL clubs about an alignment going forward and eventually decided on Collingwood and an agreement for three years was signed before the end of the year.
Season 2000 vice-captain and Gerry Callahan Medal winner, Brad Lloyd
Former captain, best and fairest & JJ Liston Trophy winner, Saade Ghazi
Saade Ghazi played his 200th game for Williamstown in round 17 against Port Melbourne
Craig Smoker marks spectacularly against Box Hill in the elimination final
Former Seagull Paul Dooley was back at Willi in 2000 as a Bulldog-listed player
Bulldogs-listed player Jimmy Plunkett turned out for the Seagulls in 2000
Mark West was another Bulldog to play for Williamstown in the 2000 season
The inaugural Gerry Callahan Medal for senior best & fairest was won by Brad Lloyd in 2000
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 ...