Season Summary: 2012
The Bendigo Bombers changed its name to Bendigo Gold in preparedness for the end of its alignment with Essendon at the conclusion of the season, and the Northern Bullants became the Northern Blues and adopted a more Carlton-style jumper in the 10th year of its affiliation with the AFL club.
Meanwhile, home games returned to Williamstown with the completion of the ground refurbishments and the opening of the renovated WL Floyd Pavilion.
New players to join the Club included TAC Cup players Anthony Anastasio and Jack Charleston, while Ben Jolley was appointed captain after the departure of Brett Johnson at the end of 2011. Other players who moved on included Ben Davies, David Stretton, Dane Rampe and Matthew Grossman. Dual best & fairest winner James Wall and Michael Stockdale, both former VFL Team of the Year members, joined the Club from the Casey Scorpions, while Clinton Proctor returned after four years at Frankston and former West Coast Eagle, Jamie McNamara, moved over from East Fremantle where he was vice-captain and runner-up in their best and fairest in both 2010 and 2011.
Coaching changes included the departure of Seconds mentor, Justin Plapp, to TAC club Sandringham Dragons and assistant coach, David Bourke, who resigned due to family reasons. Plapp was replaced by Brett Henderson from Echuca.
The season opened with a two-point loss at Casey (87-85), a 14-point win at Carlton (84-70) and defeat by Geelong at the first home game since August 2010 by 7 points (85-78). The Seagulls then enjoyed the first win at Eureka Stadium since round 19, 2005, with a 52-point victory over the Roosters (109-57, Justin Sherman best). Two further wins at Sandringham (101-82) in round 5 and at Werribee (110-103, Tom Hill 4 goals, Ben Jolley best) in round 6 saw Williamstown in third place on the ladder.
Four losses and a draw in the next six rounds meant the ‘Town had slipped out of the top eight and a finals spot was in the balance. However, a big victory over Collingwood at Williamstown, 16.22.118 to 11.4.70, in round 15 preceded another four consecutive home-ground wins over Werribee (91-89), Port (56-45), Northern Blues (66-42) and Sandringham (104-38). A narrow four-point victory at Geelong in the last home-and-away game (77-73) saw the Seagulls finish in 5th place with 11 wins, 6 losses and the draw at Frankston.
Victories in the elimination final against Bendigo, 11.17.83 to 10.11.71, and Casey in the first semi-final, 11.9.75 to 5.8.38 (James Wall best), signalled eight consecutive wins for ‘Town from rounds 15-22 and the two finals. There were two byes during this run of victories. The season came to an end with defeat by Port Melbourne at North Port in the preliminary final, 12.15.87 to 7.11.53. Jack Frost, Stevie McCallum, Ben Jolley and Bulldog Michael Talia were best for the Seagulls.
The Reserves team, which changed names to the Development League in this season, finished undefeated on top of the ladder with eighteen wins, but lost its knockout semi-final to Coburg narrowly, 11.5.71 to 10.7.67, to bow out of the finals. Matthew Cravino was best player and also runner-up in the A. Todd Medal for the VFL Development League best and fairest, after having won it in 2010 and 2011. It was also his last year at Williamstown after seven seasons.
Ben Jolley won his second Gerry Callahan Medal for best and fairest this year, with newcomer James Wall runner-up. Matthew Cravino won his third Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for the Development League best and fairest from Michael Fogarty in second place. Jolley was also awarded the Ron James Memorial Trophy for most valuable player for the third year running and fourth time overall. Statistician Damien Carter was voted best club person and received the Bill ‘Darkie’ Raffle Memorial Trophy.
2012 senior playing list
Anthony Anastasio joined the Club in 2012 from TAC Cup Sandringham Dragons
Western Bulldogs-listed player, Mitch Wallis, in action in the 52-point victory at North Ballarat in round 4
Bulldogs-listed Andrew Hooper kicked 3 goals in the round 5 win at Sandringham
Bulldog-listed forward, Matthew Panos, was the leading goalkicker in 2012 with a total of 23
Future Williamstown premiership player & captain, Adam Marcon, in 2012
Another future Williamstown premiership player, Willie Wheeler, pictured in 2012 with Coburg
Statistician Damien Carter was voted best club person in 2012.