Season Summary: 2016
The structure of the VFL competition altered yet again in 2016 when North Melbourne ended its 10-year partial alignment with North Ballarat and moved to full affiliation with Werribee, while the Roosters continued as a stand-alone entity. The number of teams remained at 15.
Recruits for 2016 included delisted Western Bulldog, Ayce Cordy, and former St Kilda forward Arryn Siposs, Lachie Schultz from Bendigo Pioneers, Christian Buykx-Smith, a 20 year-old joint winner of Gippsland Power’s best and fairest, Nick Ebinger from Williamstown CYMS, Liam Griffiths from Ainslie, Josh Minogue from the Murray Bushrangers, and four players from the Western Jets in Brayden Monk, Mitch Norton, Liam Carter and Lachlan Knight, winner of the Jets best and fairest in 2015. Ariel Steinberg, Essendon’s VFL best and fairest winner from 2015, and Matt Dea, Richmond’s VFL best and fairest, were also recruited but never played due to Steinberg being suspended as part of the Essendon supplements scandal and Dea being picked up by the Bombers as a top-up player while many players were out for a year at the AFL club.
Six of the premiership team of 2015 departed the Club, including Scott Clouston (Avondale Heights), Mitch Banner (Darley), Adam Marcon (drafted to Richmond), Andrew Gallucci (drafted to Carlton), and Sean Tighe and Brad Mangan (Strathmore). Ben Casley transferred to the Northern Blues, Jake McKenzie to Port Melbourne and Josh Bench went to Albion.
The season opened with a 45-point victory over Richmond at Williamstown, 16.13.109 to 9.10.64, after the Tigers were 3 points up at half-time before the Seagulls kicked 10 of the last 12 goals of the game. Anthony Anastasio kicked 4 goals and was best player. This was followed by a 15-point loss to Box Hill at Pt Gellibrand in the grand final rematch, 17.10.112 to 14.13.97, after the ‘Gulls led by 10 points at three-quarter time but the Hawks kicked the last four goals of the game. Two flags were unfurled on this day with both team going down, the Development League team losing by 26 points. Sam Dunell booted 4 goals and Michael Gibbons was best for the seniors.
Williamstown then won four consecutive games, including:
· A 44-point win in round 3 at Casey under lights, 17.12.114 to 11.4.70, with recruit Arryn Siposs kicking 4 goals and Willie Wheeler best;
· A narrow 7-point victory over Port at Williamstown, 8.4.52 to 5.15.45, after the Borough led by 9 points at three-quarter time in a low-scoring match and the Seagulls went scoreless in the third term. The Development League side beat Port by a single point earlier in the day;
· A 12-goal win under lights at Werribee over the undefeated Tigers in round 5, featuring a burst of 10 goals in 20 minutes in the first quarter. 14 unanswered goals saw the Seagulls lead by 85 points during the second quarter, and the final score of 20.17.137 to 9.9.63 was Williamstown’s highest in 14 matches. Dunell kicked 5 goals and Siposs 4, with Gibbons best;
· A massive 143-point percentage-boosting win over the Northern Blues at Pt Gellibrand in round 6, after kicking 9 goals to just one behind in the first quarter. Ben Jolley racked up 47 disposals to be best player, while Dunell kicked 6 goals and Cordy 4 in the 25.22.172 to 3.11.29 victory.
Collingwood’s first win over Williamstown since the 2009 semi-final in the round 7 clash under lights at the Holden Centre brought the winning run to an end, narrowly, in the 13.8.86 to 12.9.81 loss, with Jolley and Gibbons best.
Nick Meese and Ed Carr celebrated their 100th VFL game against Footscray at Whitten Oval in round 9 with a 72-point win, kicking 13 goals to 4 after half-time, in the 19.14.128 to 7.14.56 result. Dylan Conway booted 3 goals and Gibbons was best again. Carr got to play his 100th game for Williamstown (he had played one game for Casey as 23rd man when with Gippsland Power) the following week against Frankston at Pt Gellibrand in a 30-point victory, 10.17.77 to 6.11.47, after the Dolphins led by 4 points at three-quarter time. Willie Wheeler was best. This game also marked Arryn Siposs’ 50th VFL appearance and Jack Johnstone’s 50th match for Williamstown.
The season’s third loss came in round 12 against Geelong at Pt Gellibrand, going down by 16 points despite having 22 scoring shots to the Cat’s 13, and kicking just 7 behinds in the second term. Final scores were 10.3.63 to 5.17.47, with Gibbons best yet again.
The Seagulls then had five consecutive victories in rounds 13-17, including:
· A 28-point win over North Ballarat at Williamstown, 14.19.103 to 11.9.75, with Cordy and Anastasio both kicking 3 goals and Jack Charleston best;
· A 10-point win at Box Hill in Nick Meese’s 50th game for Williamstown, on a day where the Development League team lost by 130 points. Final scores were 13.12.90 to 12.8.80, with Jake Owen kicking 3 goals and Wheeler best player;
· A 38-point defeat of Coburg at Williamstown to jump to top spot on the ladder with 10 wins and 3 losses for the year. The Lions led by two goals at quarter-time before going down 11.19.85 to 7.5.47 with Cordy best and kicking 3 goals;
· A victory over Port at North Port by 33 points, 14.12.96 to 10.3.63, to go one game clear on top of the ladder. In Ayce Cordy’s 50th Club game (he had played previously for the Seagulls during the alignment with the Western Bulldogs), Leigh Masters kicked 4 goals and was best;
· A 4-goal win at Sandringham, 11.16.82 to 6.22.58, where Williamstown kicked the first 7 goals of the game and the Zebras had just one goal on the board at three-quarter time. Siposs and Conway both kicked 3 goals and Wheeler was best again.
Two losses followed in rounds 18 & 19, firstly to Footscray by 4 points at Williamstown (Wheeler best again) and then by 3 goals at Windy Hill in Willie Wheeler’s 100th VFL game (he played 33 with Coburg in 2011-12). Wheeler joined Jolley, Lockwood, Meese and Carr as centurions. It was also the 50th game for Dylan Conway and David Fahey. Cordy kicked 4 goals and Gibbons was best.
The last home-and-away game for the season resulted in a 55-point win at Carlton, 13.20.98 to 6.7.43, with Dunell kicking 4 goals and Tim Currie best against his old side. The Seagulls finished in 3rd place on the ladder with 13 wins and 5 losses, while the Development League team finished 4th with 9 wins and 7 losses.
The team returned to Carlton to play Collingwood in the qualifying final and lost badly by 46 points, 16.6.102 to 7.14.56, with Currie best again. Williamstown then met Sandringham at North Port in the first semi-final and this time won by the same margin of 46 points, 14.11.95 to 7.7.49, to go through to the seventh consecutive preliminary final and 10th in the last 11 years. In Michael Gibbons’ 50th game, the Seagulls led all day and kicked six goals to one in the final term. Dunell and Cordy booted 3 goals each and Wheeler was best yet again.
The preliminary final was against Casey at North Port and resulted in a disappointing 7-goal defeat. The Seagulls trailed all day to lose 12.13.85 to 5.13.43, with Wheeler best for Williamstown.
Vice-captain Cameron Lockwood was injured in the semi-final and missed the preliminary and then announced his retirement after starting in 2007, playing a total of 124 games, winning the 2013 Gerry Callahan Medal, being a State representative in 2014, being voted best player in the successful 2015 finals series & gaining life membership after playing 100 games for the Club.
The Development League team beat Port in the elimination final, 18.16.124 to 9.11.65, with Dylan Conway kicking 4 goals and Josh Minogue best player. However, they lost the preliminary to Casey by six points, 16.9.105 to 14.15.99, with Nick Ebinger and Tom Condon both kicking 4 goals while Tyler Curtis was best.
Willie Wheeler won the Gerry Callahan Medal for best and fairest, from Michael Gibbons and Sam Dunell. Dunell was also leading goalkicker with a total of 37. Jake Owen received the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Development League with Alex Carr runner-up and Lachie Schultz third. Ben Jolley received his seventh Ron James Memorial Trophy for most valuable player and Ed Carr was awarded life membership for playing his 100th Club game in round 10 against Frankston. Jan Dandridge was voted best clubperson, following on from her son’s win of the Bill ‘Darkie’ Raffle Memorial Trophy in 2013.
Notable events that occurred during the year included:
· Michael Gibbons winning the JJ Liston Trophy, the first Williamstown recipient since Paul Dooley in 1996, and the 10th Seagull to win the award. Ben Jolley finished equal third. Gibbons became the first player to win the Liston, as well as a Norm Goss and Frank Johnson Medal, after being Victoria’s best player in the State game clash with SANFL in May ;
Willie Wheeler, Sam Dunell, Peter Faulks, Nick Meese, Leigh Masters, Michael Gibbons and coach Andy Collins all represented the VFL in the inter-league clash with the SANFL;
· Trevor Monti stepped down as president of the Club in April after a record 17 years in the role, and was succeeded by board member, Fred Hall;
· October 27 marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Seagulls Nest gaming venue;
· Ethel (Melba) Maloney passed away in late April. Melba was a life member and her family claimed that she saw every Williamstown game for more than 50 years. Her father and uncles all played for Williamstown;
· Former senior player Ben Kelly tragically passed away at the age of 35 in June. From Heyfield, he played 13 senior games from 2001-2003, and was co-captain of the 2002 and 2003 reserves premiership teams, and received the Fred Hill Memorial Trophy for best-on-ground in the 2003 triumph;
· 10-year Gulls coterie member 61 year-old Henry Ismailiw also passed away in June;
· Captain-coach of 1952-53, Billy Williams, passed away in July. He played 41 games and kicked 89 goals for the Seagulls and ran several different hotels in the ‘Town for many years after he finished playing. He was the father of life member, Rod Williams; and
Former vice-president from 1960-73 & life member Kevyn Holdsworth passed away in November. The son of George Holdsworth, also a long-term vice-president and life member of the Club, Kevyn was involved with Williamstown from the early 1960’s until the early 1980’s and was a founding member of the Gulls coterie group.
Delisted St. Kilda forward, Arryn Siposs, was the star signing for 2016
2016 playing list
Trevor Monti finished up as President in April after 17 years in the job & was succeeded by board member, Fred Hall
Brayden Monk, best & fairest winner at the Western Jets in 2014, was one of the new recruits in 2016.
Lachie Schultz joined Williamstown from TAC Cup side Bendigo Pioneers in 2016
Mitch Norton, one of the players recruited from the Western Jets in 2016
Nick Ebinger from Williamstown CYMS was another new player to the Club in 2016
Sammy Dunell in action during 2016
Michael Gibbons with the ball during a game at Williamstown in 2016
Ed Carr fires off a handball against Richmond in round 1, 2016
Williamstown opened the 2016 season with a comfortable victory over Richmond at Pt Gellibrand
Jacob Chisari send the ball forward against Box Hill in round 2
Dylan Conway celebrates a goal at Williamstown in 2016
A determined captain Ben Jolley in 2016
Defender David Fahey marks against Richmond in 2016
Defender Billy Myers in 2016
Willie Wheeler gets a kick away during 2016
Former St Kilda forward, Arryn Siposs, was recruited to the Club in 2016 & marks against Casey in round 3
Jack Dorgan has eyes only for the ball in this round 3 clash with Casey in 2016
Captain Ben Jolley and Arryn Siposs against Casey in round 3, 2016
Sammy Dunell celebrates a goal v. Port Melbourne in the round 4 fixture at Williamstown
Jack Dorgan and Dylan Conway celebrate a goal against Port Melbourne at Williamstown in round 4, 2016
Michael Gibbons with the ball in the round 4 fixture at Williamstown v. Port Melbourne
2016 Gerry Callahan Medallist, Willie Wheeler, applies a tackle against Port Melbourne in round 4
Sam Dunell kicked 5 goals under lights against Werribee in round 5
Ruckman Nick Meese in action under lights against Werribee in round 5
Ben Jolley racked up 47 disposals in the massive 143-point win over the Northern Blues in round 6.
Nick Meese & Ed Carr both played their 100th VFL game against Footscray at Whitten Oval in round 9
Michael Gibbons was best afield in the round 9 game against Footscray at Whitten Oval
Nick Meese after his 100th VFL game in the 12-goal win at Whitten Oval in round 9
Vice-captain, Cameron Lockwood, fires off a handball against Frankston in round 10, 2016
Willie Wheeler, best-on-ground in the round 10 victory over Frankston at Williamstown
Ed Carr after his 100th game for Williamstown v. Frankston in round 10, 2016
Jake Greiser prepares to handball against Geelong in round 12
Jack Johnstone searching for the ball in the round 13 fixture against North Ballarat at Williamstown
Ben Jolley in action during 2016
Jake Owen kicked 3 goals against Box Hill in the round 14 encounter
Dylan Conway celebrates one of his two goals in the 10-point victory at Box Hill in round 14
Williamstown went to the top of the ladder with a comfortable victory over Coburg in round 15
Leigh Masters, 4 goals and best-on-ground at Port Melbourne in the round 16 33-point victory
Ben Jolley at Port Melbourne in round 16
Nick Sing in a contest for the ball at Sandringham in the round 17 fixture
Arryn Siposs kicks one of his three goals at Sandringham in round 17, 2016
Willie Wheeler played his 100th VFL game v. Essendon at Windy Hill in round 19
Ben Bese marks strongly in the qualifying final v. Collingwood at Princes Park
Jake Owen in the Development League elimination final
Development League team list for preliminary final v. Casey Scorpions, lost by just six points 105-99
Sean Hetherington in his last season at Williamstown
Cameron Lockwood in his last game for Williamstown in the first semi-final v. Sandringham at North Port Oval.
Jack Johnstone clearing from defence in the first semi-final v. Sandringham at North Port Oval.
Michael Gibbons played his 50th game for Williamstown in the first semi-final v. Sandringham
Tim Currie prepares to handball while being tackled against Sandringham in the first semi-final
Leigh Masters about to mark against Sandringham in the first semi-final
Sean Hetherington celebrates his goal in the first semi v. Sandringham at North Port Oval
Ben Jolley gets away a handball against Sandringham in the first semi-final
Senior team list for preliminary final v. Casey Scorpions, lost by seven goals 85-43
Ed Carr fires off a handball in the losing preliminary final v. Casey at North Port
Leigh Masters clears from defence against Casey Scorpions in the 2016 preliminary final
Leigh Masters with the ball in the preliminary final
Anthony Anastasio on the attack in the preliminary final
Ayce Cordy gets a tap away against Casey Scorpions in the preliminary final
Jack Johnstone takes a mark against Casey Scorpions in the preliminary final
Jake Greiser goes for a run with the ball in the preliminary final
Coach Andy Collins during the 2016 preliminary final
Nick Meese gets his hand to the ball during the preliminary final
Defender Tim Currie during the preliminary final
Michael Gibbons won the JJ Liston Trophy, the first Williamstown recipient since Paul Dooley in 1996.
Life-long Seagull fan, Melba Maloney, passed away in April
Former player Ben Kelly tragically passed away in June 2016 at the age of just 35.
10-year Gulls coterie member Henry Ismailiw passed away in June.