Season Summary: 1965

Just prior to the start of the 1965 season, North Melbourne completed an agreement with the Coburg City Council to occupy the Coburg ground for the next seven years, despite the fact that ratepayers had already shown their disapproval of the arrangement at a by-election where a candidate supporting the takeover was badly beaten. A subsequent general election of the Council saw several others who backed the North deal kicked from office. During the season, Coburg trained at Brunswick and played at Port Melbourne.

Arthur Johnson was re-elected president of the Club despite intimating that he would step down at the end of 1964. Gerry Callahan acted as coach for the eighth successive year, while Daryl Ward was re-appointed as captain with Bob Ware his vice-captain. 

The writing was on the wall for the Seagulls in 1965, with the club losing a wealth of experienced key position players to coaching posts with other clubs coupled with the unexpected retirements of several players both before and during the season, which would make the task of challenging the top teams over the following years even more difficult.  Players departing included Lindsay Murphy (125 games, 146 goals) to Parkside, Leo Maloney (107, 115), Alan McAsey (80, 61) to Finley, Greg Taube (73, 2) and Bobby Turner (54, 90). Turner did return in 1966 and played a further three games. Furthermore, vice-captain Ware was restricted to only eight games due to a serious illness. The only recruit of note was former Footscray and South Melbourne player, Charlie Evans. 

This was made clearly evident by the poor season that followed, with the Club missing the finals for the second time in three years. Playing its fifth consecutive match at North Port Oval (the last home and away match of 1964 and three finals were all played at Port Melbourne), the season opened brightly enough for the Seagulls with a victory in the 1964 grand final rematch away against Port, 12.10.82 to 9.20.74 (Jim Jenkinson 4 goals, Bob Ware best player), and saw the Club in fourth position, the only time all season it was in the four. Ten losses in the next twelve games, headlined by the 46-point defeat at Pt Gellibrand by Waverley, second-last in 1964, meant the finals were out of question, although the Panthers would go on to win the premiership in 1965. The team fluctuated between seventh and eighth spot on the ladder all year. As the season progressed it was obvious that the lack of experienced key position players and injuries made serious inroads on the strength of the team, and by round 13 only three wins had been recorded and relegation to the second division seemed a possibility. Four successive victories in rounds 14-17 at home against Coburg (14.11.95 to 8.10.58) and Oakleigh (9.7.61 to 6.6.42) and away against Geelong West (5.13.43 to 4.5.29) and Yarraville (11.15.81 to 8.11.59), enabled the Club to finish seventh on the premiership ladder with a 7-11 win/loss record, five games out of the final four. More significantly, Port registered their first win at Williamstown since 1952, and Jim Jenkinson was the leading goalkicker with a total of 29, the lowest since Bob Addison's 23 majors in 1933. The team averaged just over nine goals per game in 1965. Only Oakleigh, the disadvantaged Coburg and the newly-promoted Geelong West did worse. Despite this, the Club re-appointed Gerry Callahan as coach for a further five years. 

Reliable full-back, Tom Russell, won the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for best and fairest from Jenkinson and captain Daryl Ward followed by Bob Ware, who played only 8 senior games for the year. Russell played his 100th senior match for Williamstown during the year and also tied with recruit, Charlie Evans, for the Advertiser award. 

Club captain and vice-captain, Daryl Ward and Bob Ware, were both selected to represent the VFA against WA at Subiaco in June, while John Murrie played against Tasmania at Toorak Park in July. Both teams were coached by Gerry Callahan. The Association led by two goals at half-time in Perth but eventually lost by just 9 points, the closest it ever came to beating WA. Ware was diagnosed with hepatitis after the game and only appeared for Williamstown one more time during the season. The Tasmanians were defeated by 7 points. At the behest of Richmond coach, Len Smith, who was forced to stand down due to ill-health, Callahan was encouraged to apply for the vacant job at the VFL Tigers but lost out to none other than Tommy Hafey. 

The reserves, under new captain-coach and best and fairest winner, Jocka Mellis, could manage only five victories and finished eighth. Former senior player player (1945/46, 11 games) and captain-coach of the Seconds premiership team of 1948, Jack Vinall, became president of the Seconds in this season, with Max Chamberlain as secretary and Ian McLeod as treasurer.   

The thirds, under new coach, former senior player of 1961-64 (24 games), John McConville, made the finals and won the first semi before losing the preliminary to finish in third place. Cyril 'Spike' Harris won his second successive best and fairest in that grade. Doug Nicholson commenced his long reign as president of the Thirds in this season, with support from secretary, John Grieve, and treasurer, John Raffle. 

Stan Whear stood down as secretary of the Club after 13 seasons in the position, a record with Larry Floyd's nine seasons spread over 14 years including the war recess of three years next best. He was replaced by Alec Bell in this season. Whear continued his connection with the Club by becoming a vice-president. 

Long-serving Thirds trainer, Wally Clark, committeeman from 1961, Fred Thompson, and former player, Bob Hyde (1933-36, 57 games & 22 goals), who had been a trainer since 1955, all received life memberships at the annual meeting in respect of the 1964 season that was held at the Town Hall in February. George Homewood, life member and committeeman from 1959-65, passed away during the year. 

George Holdsworth stepped down as vice-president in this year after having served in that role since 1951.

Werribee was admitted to second division in 1965 and the name of Brighton finally disappeared from the VFA when Caulfield dropped it from its name after operating as Caulfield-Brighton for the 1962/63/64 seasons. 

The Williamstown Chronicle ceased publication and was taken over by The Advertiser after recording events in and around the town for over 100 years. 

 

Charlie Evans from Footscray (1960-63, 42 games) and South Melbourne (1964, 8 games) was one of the new players for 1965.

 

Williamstown ruckman Ken Barnes during his stint at South Melbourne from 1964-67,

contesting with Gary Lazarus of Fitzroy.

 

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