Season Summary: 1962

The VFA's decision to split into two divisions was deemed a success after it's first year in 1961, with better quality and closer matches being played across both first and second divisions.

The end of the 1961 season also saw a wealth of experience leave the club, with Williamstown champions Ray Smith (205 games, 162 goals) transferring to Cora Lynn and Jack Evans (171 games, 92 goals) departing for Newport as coach, while Bob Jones (130 games, 22 goals), Tom Pelly (63 games, 118 goals) and Col Colquhoun (55 games, 0 goals) were also missing from the 1961 line-up, although both Jones and Colquhuon had already retired during the previous season. Gerry Callahan was re-appointed non-playing coach with Daryl Ward as captain in place of Smith, a role he would hold until the end of the 1966 season, and Morrie Collins vice-captain.

During the summer, fire had destroyed the press box which used to stand on the southern wing of the ground and with it went the last bell to be used on a senior football ground in Melbourne. A new box was built in front of the grandstand, together with a siren for signalling the start and finish of each quarter. The scoreboard was also destroyed in a storm and was replaced with a smaller board by the Council. 

Supporters anxiety levels were tested in the opening three rounds, with a four-point loss at home to Yarraville (Keith James 5 goals), which failed to make the finals, a four-point win at Oakleigh followed by a two-point victory at Coburg (James 5 goals). A lucky win at Mordialloc followed in round 6 when Williamstown got home by 7 points despite being outscored by the home side when the Seagulls had the lead and the wind at the last change. After a 7-goal defeat in round eight at Port, which left them in sixth position, the team then won eight of the next ten matches to finish third with 12 wins and a draw (against eventual premiers, Sandringham) from 18 games. The team only entered the four after the penultimate home-and-away game with a 12-goal win at home against Port (135-63, James and Merv Williams four goals each). This was the Club's tenth consecutive finals appearance, which was a VFA record, eclipsing the nine finals series achieved by Port Melbourne and North Melbourne. Moorabbin headed the list with Sandringham only two points behind, courtesy of the draw with the Seagulls, then Williamstown followed by Coburg.  

A considerable number of injuries were sustained in the last home-and-away game against Brunswick, forcing the team to play in the first semi-final against a strong Coburg outfit with a much depleted side. Nonetheless, having beaten Coburg twice already that season, Williamstown were confident of victory, but wretched kicking for goal in the first half proved costly. Only two goals were kicked with the team's first 11 scoring shots and full-forward, Keith James, had plenty of opportunities but was goalless for the match. The Seagulls kicked five goals straight in the third term to briefly take the lead and a good display was put on in a close struggle all day before the Seagulls went down by just seven points, 11.12.78 to 10.11.71. Carmichael, Cope, Williams and Murphy were best for the 'Town.

John Cope won the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for best and fairest, from Graham Clough and Don Carmichael. Clough also ran sixth in the JJ Liston Trophy. Keith James booted 40 goals to run equal fifth place on the VFA list. Lindsay Murphy played his 100th senior game for the Club during the season. Ken Barnes was awarded the Reserves best & fairest, and Haydn McAuliffe took out the Thirds award. 

The Club's seconds, under captain-coach Neville O'Connor, finished fifth, missing the finals by percentage only. Williamstown thirds, coached by Wally Ward, could only manage four wins and finished seventh. 

In the round 5 game at Sandringham on May 26, umpire Trewin awarded an astonishing total of 98 free kicks, the highest number ever in any VFA game, 82 of which went to the home side and only 16 to Williamstown. Not surprisingly, the Seagulls lost by 26 points that day, 13.12.90 to 9.10.64. In the return match at Williamstown, the Zebras had the game won but the Seagulls put in a magnificent finish to tie the game, 11.14.80 to 12.8.80, and prevent the first Sandringham win at Pt Gellibrand since 1951. 

Treasurer, M.J. Power, and assistant secretary, P. D. Collins, were made life members at the annual general meeting earlier in the year. 

  

                                                           Williamstown Chronicle, April 12, 1962

                                                      Williamstown Chronicle, April 12, 1962

                                                            Williamstown Chronicle, April 12, 1962

 

 

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