Season Summary: 2011
Missing from the 2010 playing list was Peter Faulks, who had been drafted to Fremantle, while the Frosty Miller Medallist of the previous season, Matthew Little, decided to join the Bendigo Bombers in a final attempt to get drafted. Brett Goodes was recruited to the Seagulls from North Ballarat, Adam Cook returned from Wodonga, 2009 TAC Cup best & fairest winner, Anton Woods, joined from the Northern Bullants, Jack Frost (Sandringham Dragons) and Steve Witkowski (Northern Knights) came from the TAC Cup along with Dylan Conway from the Western Jets, amongst 17 new players.
Gold Coast entered the AFL, meaning the competition reverted to 13 teams and bye rounds once again.
Peter German entered his second year as senior coach with Justin Plapp in charge of the Seconds, replacing Adam Potter. Chris Dixon was again football manager and David Bourke was assistant coach together with Western Bulldogs-listed player, Mitch Hahn. Terry Maloney was once again team manager of the Firsts and Seconds.
No football was played at Williamstown in this season due to the works being undertaken at the ground with most home games relocated to Werribee, where only one game was lost and that was to eventual premier, Port Melbourne, by just 5 points in round 16. Other home games were played at Torquay, Keilor & Wangaratta. In total, games were played at 15 different venues over the course of the year. Nonetheless the season opened promisingly with five wins in the first six rounds (there was a bye in round 2) including:
· A 51-point victory at Werribee against the ‘Bees in round one, 23.16.154 to 15.13.103;
· An 11-point win in the first ‘home’ game of the year over Box Hill at Werribee, 16.13.109 to 14.14.98;
· A 32-point victory over Geelong at Torquay on Easter Sunday, 19.20.134 to 15.12.102 (Mitch Hahn 5 goals, James Mulligan best);
· A 52-point win at Coburg in round 5, 17.16.118 to 9.12.66 (Mitch Hahn 4 goals, Ben Jolley best); and
· A six-goal victory over Sandringham at Werribee, 21.13.139 to 16.8.104, leaving Williamstown on top of the ladder undefeated.
The first loss of the year came in round 7 at Port Melbourne, going down to the stand-alone Borough 15.7.97 to 6.10.46, before bouncing back the following week at Victoria Park to down Collingwood, 15.16.106 to 11.10.76 (Barry Hall 4 goals, Jolley best). This was followed up with another comfortable win over Casey at Werribee by 40 points leading into the round 10 bye.
Another defeat was suffered out at Keilor against North Ballarat, 16.11.107 to 13.16.94, before five consecutive victories over Frankston at Werribee (127-53), over Bendigo at QEO (166-87), the Northern Bullants at Preston (109-80), Collingwood at Wangaratta (95-63) and Werribee again at Werribee (89-76).
The Seagulls then lost narrowly in consecutive weeks going down again to North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium in round 18 by just two points, 13.16.94 to 13.14.92, followed by a second loss for the year to Port at Werribee, 17.17.119 to 16.18.114. The season was wound up with a 101-point victory at Box Hill in round 21 (149-48) and a 93-point win at Frankston in the final game (138-45).
Williamstown finished 2nd on the ladder at the completion of the home-and-away rounds with 14 wins and 4 losses, with 2 of the defeats being by less than a goal. They beat North Ballarat convincingly in the qualifying final at Box Hill, 20.14.134 to 10.7.67, before demolishing Werribee in the preliminary final, 23.19.157 to 11.8.74 (Sam Reid 5 goals, Brett Goodes best).
This set up a Grand Final meeting, the senior team's first since 2003 and the first meeting in a premiership decider with Port since 1964, at the Docklands Stadium before a crowd of 11,896. The game began brightly enough with Williamstown kicking the first four goals to be up by 21 points at quarter time, 5.3 to 2.0, but from that point Port added 20 goals to the Seagulls 8, resulting in a 56-point drubbing, 22.12.144 to 13.10.88, to end the season. Port's team contained three former Williamstown players in Dean Galea (6 goals), Patrick Rose (5 goals) and Stephen Brewer. Best for the Seagulls were Bulldogs Matthew Panos (4 goals) and Christian Howard and 'Town's Brett Goodes.
Williamstown's 2011 grand final team was as follows:
B. David Stretton James Mulligan* Dane Rampe
HB. Brennan Stack* Jason Tutt* Dylan Addison*
C. Christian Howard* Brett Johnson (C) Ben Davies
HF. Josh Hill* Ed Barlow* Brett Goodes
F. Sam Reid* Jordan Roughhead* Nathan Djerrkura*
Foll. Will Minson* Mitch Wallis*
Rover Ben Jolley
I/C Andrew Hooper*, Mitch Hahn*, Matthew Panos*, Matthew Cravino, Jack Frost
Coach: Peter German
* = Western Bulldogs-listed players
In August, the Seagulls won the inaugural Foxtel Cup by defeating eventual 2011 WAFL premier, Claremont, at Subiaco Oval by 21 points, 59-38, after travelling interstate on 3 occasions to defeat Swan Districts and West Adelaide and overcoming East Perth in Melbourne. Ben Jolley was voted best-on-ground and won the Coles Medal. 16 state league teams competed for the title of 'best football team outside of the AFL' in a knockout competition.
The Development League team also finished in 2nd place on the ladder in that grade at the completion of the home-and-away rounds with 14 wins and 4 losses and a percentage of 221.88, but lost the knock-out qualifying final to Coburg, 16.11.107 to 7.16.58.
Jolley finished third in the JJ Liston Trophy voting for the year, while Matthew Cravino was awarded his second A. Todd Medal for best and fairest in the VFL Reserves competition.
Jolley also won the first of four Gerry Callahan Medals for Club best and fairest after being runner-up in his first year at the Club in 2008. The honours didn’t finish there as he also took out the Ron James Memorial Trophy for most valuable player for the third time in his four years at the Club. Brett Johnson was runner-up in the best and fairest and recruit, Brett Goodes, was in equal third place with Western Bulldogs-listed Will Minson.
Cravino was awarded the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Reserves after winning it previously in 2009. First-year player, Kwame McHarg, was runner-up with Michael Fogarty in third place. Bruce Tait was voted the Bill ‘Darkie’ Raffle Memorial Trophy winner for best club person.
Life member and premiership wingman Frank Sims passed away on March 10 aged 80. Frank played 105 games and kicked 23 goals from 1953-58, and was a member of the 1954/55/56 and ’58 flag teams. He won the best first-year player award in 1953. Long-time property steward and volunteer, Ron 'Hambone' Johnson, also passed away in December 2011.
At the annual meeting in respect of the 2011 season held in February 2012, life memberships were awarded to long-time volunteer and former player (1968-69 8 games), Davey Utber. Davey played in the 1969 Seconds premiership and also won the Seconds best & fairest that year. He was voted best clubperson in 2006 along with wife, Carol, who was also a long-serving volunteer and who also received life membership at the same time as Davey. Other former players, David Stretton (2005-11 92 games 40 goals) and Ben Davies (2005-07 and 2009-11) also received life memberships. Ben returned to the Club in 2014 and finished up with 126 games and 54 goals. He played in the 2011 grand final and won the best and fairest in 2007. Ben also represented the VFL against WA in 2010 and made the VFL Team of the Year that same season. David also played in the 2011 grand final and won the Seconds best and fairest and also the A. Todd Medal for the VFL Seconds competition best and fairest in 2006. He also represented the VFL against SA in 2008.
Peter German entered his second year as senior coach in 2011.
2011 playing list, including future 2016 Norm Smith Medallist, Jason Johannisen #80
Former Richmond & St Kilda AFL player, Justin Plapp, coached Williamstown Reserves in 2011
Adam Cook returned to the Club in 2011 from the Wodonga Raiders after two seasons
David Stretton in a contest for the ball against Box Hill in round 3
Williamstown played Geelong at Torquay in round 4 on Easter Sunday in 2011
Bulldogs-listed Jayden Schofield takes a big grab against Coburg in round 5
Williamstown were undefeated and on top of the ladder until the round 7 loss at Port Melbourne
Williamstown centreman, Ben Jolley, won the first of his four Gerry Callahan Medals in 2011
Nick Sing takes a strong grab against Casey in the round 9 fixture at Werribee
Bulldog-listed, Will Minson, battles against North Ballarat in round 11 at Keilor, with Dane Rampe on the right
Defender Ben Davies in 2011
Seagulls won the inaugural Foxtel Cup in August, defeating Claremont at Subiaco Oval by 21 points, 9.5.59-5.8.38.
Matthew Panos celebrates after kicking a goal during the qualifying final against North Ballarat at Box Hill City Oval
Matty Cravino added another A. Todd Medal & Club reserves best & fairest in 2011
Dane Rampe in action during 2011
Western Bulldog-listed player, Will Minson, was named second-best player against Werribee in the preliminary final which Williamstown won by 83 points.
Williamstown's 2011 grand final squad
Western Bulldog-listed player, Andrew Hooper, played for Williamstown in the 2011 grand final against Port Melbourne.
4 time premiership player Frank Sims passed away in March
Long-time property steward and volunteer, Ron 'Hambone' Johnson, passed away in December 2011