Season Summary: 1963

The early 1960's was a controversial time for Victorian football, and 1963 would be no different with the relationship between the VFA and VFL continually becoming strained. One major cause of the fall out was due to VFL clubs, particularly North Melbourne and St Kilda, looking to take over some VFA football grounds.

Gerry Callahan was once again coach with Daryl Ward captain and Lindsay Murphy vice-captain. Ruckman, Ken Barnes, was the major loss from the 1962 playing list as he went to try out with South Melbourne after three games of the season. On the field, the Seagulls were having their own battles, with the club finishing 8th and winning just six games from 18, with a draw against Dandenong. The draw was the first home Sunday fixture for Williamstown, played on August 4 on a wet and windy day and which saw police come onto the ground in an attempt to stop the players brawling. It was the lowest finish since 1938 when the team ended up twelfth, and last, on the ladder with just two wins. Potentially still reeling from the experienced losses of Ray Smith and Jack Evans and unable to attract older and experienced key position players, the Club commenced the season with several players promoted from local junior competitions, most notably George Savige (who played 17 of the 18 games and won the best first-year player award) and Barry Beamish, and embarked on a 'team building' policy, which resulted in three losses from the first three games to Moorabbin, Brunswick and Northcote, albeit the last two by narrow margins, for the first time since 1937 when the first six were lost. Four victories in the next five games followed and, after the nine-goal round 12 victory at home against Northcote, the team was in fifth position on the ladder. However, five losses and the draw in the last six games meant an eighth place finish and its run of ten consecutive finals appearances was ended, its worst result for a quarter of a century.

Ruckman Leo Maloney had a fine season, winning the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for best and fairest from captain Daryl Ward and Greg Taube, ran fifth in the JJ Liston Trophy and won both the Advertiser and Chronicle best player awards. Keith James kicked 42 majors to win the goalkicking and finished third on the VFA list, just two behind Bob Bonnett of Port Melbourne. 

The reserves, once again under the control of captain-coach Neville O'Connor, won only half their matches but finished just one game out of the final four. Former senior player, Laurie Davies, was vice-captain. Ron Leonard played only eight games but won the best and fairest in that grade. The thirds finished seventh under the coaching of Wally Ward. Kevin Dooley won the best and fairest in that grade.  

Former President of 1945-1946, Bill Dooley, passed away on August 19 at the age of 64 after a long illness. Dooley was a bookmaker who first became involved with the Club in 1938 when he joined the committee but was unable to attend most of Williamstown's games due to Saturday race meetings. He also served as a VFA vice-president in the late 1940's and early 1950's and was involved in a lot of charity work for which he received an MBE. He was also instrumental in luring Ron Todd to Williamstown from Collingwood in 1940 and regaining his services in 1945, as well as the recruitment of many other players. Former vice-president from 1956-62, Herb Worlley, also passed away in January, 1963, at the age of 55. He was the husband of Ethel Worlley, who was on the Ladies Committee for many years since 1946 and who also passed away in 2004, and the father of Rolda Burnell, who was heavily involved in the Club's fightback from a merger with Werribee in 1995. Another long-time vice-president, Joe Connery, was another to pass on during the year, as did Bert Paterson. Dooley and Connery were both life members of the Club.

The grandstand at the Williamstown ground was named the W.L. Floyd Pavilion in 1963 in honour of the former football club secretary (1935-1939, 1945-1946 and 1948-1949), Williamstown councillor and State MP for the district. The plaque that still adorns the grandstand was unveiled by Mayor Knight in a ceremony before the round 2 home game against Brunswick. Larry was the brother of life member Myrtle Deller and uncle of Janet Dooley, and saw his first game at Williamstown in 1921 when the Seagulls took on Essendon Town in their last season in the VFA. 

Long-serving committeeman, George Homewood, and vice-president, Fred Holdsworth, were both made life members at the annual general meeting earlier in the year, as were trainers, Bob Cairncross and Bill Taylor, as well as Mrs M. Cherry due to ten years service to the Club.  

Geelong West was admitted to the VFA in 1963 and won 3 games and finished second-last in second division but did provide the winner of the competition best and fairest, the J. Field Medal, which went to Dick Perry. The club would go on to win the second division premiership in 1964. 

The ABC, and sometimes commercial channels, televised parts of VFA games during the season. 





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