Season Summary: 2001
2001 signalled yet another change in the life of the Williamstown Football Club when the alignment agreement with the Western Bulldogs was terminated and a new three-year affiliation was formed with Collingwood in respect of playing, training and coaching. There were financial advantages in the move, in that the Magpies would pay for the coach and any player on their list who played with the Seagulls would have their match payments covered. Compensation would also be paid if Williamstown was drawn to play a curtain-raiser to a Collingwood game when a home fixture was scheduled.
The number of teams in the competition was reduced to sixteen with this arrangement, and also the new alignments of Coburg with Richmond and St. Kilda with Springvale. Tasmania was also admitted to the competition on a 12-month probationary licence, which eventually became permanent. The Western Bulldogs went to a solitary alignment with Werribee. This meant that there were eight alignments, three AFL stand-alones and five stand-alone VFL clubs.
Matthew Pearce (South Fremantle) and Ben Kelly (Heyfield) joined the Club in 2001 along with former Western Bulldogs rookie-listed player, Justin Wood. Former players, Allen Nash (Yarrawonga) and Steve Zavalas (Parkside), both returned to the Club, while 204-game veteran Saade Ghazi retired at the end of the previous season and went on to captain/coach Epping in the Diamond Valley League. Cameron Beazley went with him while Peter Cristoforo transferred to Avondale Heights.
The season started well with big wins at Williamstown over Bendigo in round one (100-48) and Coburg in round 3 (77-32), but these were the only victories in the first eight games, although one of the losses was at Windy Hill by 2 points to an Essendon side containing 5 quality AFL players. Anthony Rocca of Collingwood played in the victory over Bendigo. Also, in the round 6 game at Coburg against the Corey McKernan-inspired Murray Kangaroos, the Seagulls trailed at half time by 11 goals before kicking 17 goals in the second half to twice draw level in the last quarter only to fall short by 7 points. Things improved in the second half of the season whereby the team had registered 8 wins and 8 losses by round sixteen, including defeats of the eventual premier Box Hill at Pt. Gellibrand (90-71) in round 15 and runner-up Werribee by 7 points in round 18, a 99-point victory at Bendigo (182-83) in round 16 and a 5-goal win over a full-strength Essendon side in round 19 at Williamstown.
By season’s end, the Seagulls finished in ninth position with 10 wins and 10 losses, one game outside the final eight. The Reserves finished second on the ladder with 12 wins and 5 losses, and were runners-up to Werribee in the grand final 114-87 in Bruce Davis' final game as coach. Ruckman, David Round, son of Club legend Barry, took out the A. Todd Medal for best and fairest in the VFL Reserves competition.
Brad Lloyd won his second consecutive Gerry Callahan medal from Craig Anderson and Heath Scotland, and Brent Tuckey from Collingwood won the goalkicking with a total of 41. The Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Seconds was won by Anthony Eames with Steve Zavalas and Matthew Pearce in second and third place, respectively, while Craig Anderson won the Ron James Memorial Trophy as most valuable player. Statistician Ian Cashill was voted best clubman and won the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy.
Andrew Bews finished up as coach after three seasons and was replaced for 2002 by Brad Gotch.
During the year two former multiple-premiership winning coaches passed away. Wally Carter, who gloriously coached the Club from 1954-57, died in June at the age of 92, and in August, the 1939 and 1949 premiership coach Gordon Ogden passed on, also aged 92.
Club legend Kelly Brent retired as head trainer at the end of the season after giving the Club 42 years of service, including the last 32 years as head trainer, and life member, long-time supporter, fund raiser and volunteer Kevin Bury sadly passed away in November.
This was also the year that the goal and behind posts from AFL Park, Waverley, were installed at Pt Gellibrand.
Ben Kelly joined the Club in 2001 & played 13 senior games as well as co-captaining two Reserves premierships in 2002-03. He won the Fred Hill Medal for best-on-ground in the 2003 triumph. He died in 2016 at 35 years of age.
220-game Collingwood forward Anthony Rocca played for Williamstown in round 1.
Brad Lloyd won his second consecutive Gerry Callahan Medal in 2001
1939 and 1949 premiership coach Gordon Ogden, pictured here in 1985, passed away in August aged 92.
Triple premiership coach (1954/55/56), Wally Carter, also passed away at the age of 92 in 2001
Life member, long-time supporter, fund-raiser, bar manager and volunteer Kevin Bury sadly passed away in November at the age of just 59
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 ...