Season Summary: 1969

The beginning of the 1969 season came on the back of a losing grand final against Geelong West in 1968, seeing the Seagulls remain in Divison Two for another season but with a greater determination than ever to spend only one more year in the lower division. Sunshine and Coburg also had strong ideas of quick promotion and both these clubs established an early grip on the top two positions and Williamstown just could not get above third to secure the double chance in the finals. The season also saw a change in Club president with Arthur Johnson returning to the role left vacant by the departing Ron Marrett who had moved to Tasmania to run a hotel at Mole Creek. He had served the club as president for the previous three seasons. Max Papley was automatically re-appointed captain-coach with Norm Alvin as his assistant once again. Ruckman Ken Barnes was appointed vice-captain with full back Tom Russell deputy vice-captain.   

The selling of superstar rover Ian Nankervis to Dandenong after 35 games and 82 goals over two seasons would leave the club in a compromised position for the season ahead, compounded by the loss of Jimmy O'Toole (86 games, 15 goals), Bob Ware (60 games, 57 goals) and Bob Cohen (51 games, 12 goals). Eddie Szyszka played a few unsuccessful games away from his normal full-forward position in the pre-season and then retired due to buiness committments. Even with an influx of new players to the Club, many with recognised experience in the VFL, such as Footscray trio Kevin Jackman, Bob Percy and Brian Harvey, plus Ron Viney (South Melbourne) and Bertie Johnson (North Melbourne), along with Bill Mitchell (Natimuk), the season started slowly for the Seagulls with a 25 point loss to western suburb rival, Sunshine, in the opening round and a 46 point defeat by Coburg in round 3, both at Williamstown. An easy 77-point victory at Box Hill (Camilleri 4 goals) was between these two defeats. The Club would then hit its straps however, storming home with only one more narrow loss (by six points at Coburg in round 12) to finish third on the VFA ladder and primed for a finals assault. The team claimed third position after round 5 and remained there for the rest of the season. Williamstown also inflicted ladder-leader Sunshine's only loss in the home-and-away rounds with a 34-point victory at Skinner Reserve in round 10 (Dallas Patterson 4 goals). Other good wins were a 12-goal victory over Camberwell in round 5 (Jackman 5 goals), a 10-goal win against Caulfield also at Pt Gellibrand in round 13 (Dallas Patterson 6 goals), a 20-goal victory at Camberwell in round 14 (Jackman and Papley both 5 goals), another 20-goal win over Mordialloc at Williamstown in round 16 (Patterson 11 goals) followed by yet another 20-goal victory at Pt Gellibrand against Frankston in round 17 (Patterson 10 goals). Sunshine finished on top of the ladder, followed by Coburg, which suffered only two defeats, Williamstown and Box Hill.

Entering the first final, Williamstown were in a good position to advance, playing Box Hill who had just scraped into the final four managing only nine wins, six behind 'Town. The gap in quality was evident with the Seagulls recording a resounding 20-goal victory before a crowd of 6,000 at Toorak Park, 26.18.174 to 7.11.53 (Patterson 8 goals, Mick Mulligan 5) to advance. This was a record score for a VFA first semi-final, boosted by a 12-goal third quarter, and Dallas Patterson had kicked 35 goals from his last 4 outings. The preliminary final loomed as a much tighter contest when the Seagulls went up against Coburg and, after trailing 4.2 to 2.4 at quarter time, were able to come out victorious by the comfortable margin of 43 points, 14.12.96 to 8.5.53 (Patterson 5 goals, Mulligan 4) with sole ruckman Ken Barnes leading the way against the 'Burgers four big blokes. The Lions were kept scoreless in the second quarter while the Seagulls added 7.4. Coincidentally the reserves and thirds also met Coburg in their respective preliminary finals, and were also victorious.

The grand final was set to be a match for the ages with Williamstown coming up against western-suburban rivals Sunshine, with the events leading up to the fateful game being nothing short of controversial. Firstly, in the week leading up to the preliminary final a gratuitous telegram was received by the Seagulls from Sunshine exclaiming, 'We kept you in third place. Hope to see you in the First Division some time.' Such words came back to the Crows with severe repercussions however when it was Williamstown who they were to face in the grand final, and not the highly fancied Coburg. Secondly, on the Monday night after training, captain Max Papley was driving home from training with fellow players Dallas Patterson and Bert Johnson when what was believed to be a large dog ran onto the road, forcing the car to swerve and hit a telephone pole on Footscray Road, near the old fruit and vegetable market. Papley and Patterson both went through the windscreen and received head and rib injuries whilst Johnson was unharmed. Such an event was very unsettling as the Club's captain and leading goal scorer were no certainty to play in the biggest match of the season, while rover Andy Camilleri had been seriously injured in the preliminary. All three players were not named in the initial team with the Club allowing them as much time as possible to be right for the game. Come game day, both Papley and Patterson were confirmed fit and ready to take the field, while Camilleri took his place on the bench. Papley was heavily bandaged while Patterson wore a guard to protect his face. Patterson had kicked 40 goals in the five matches preceding the grand final. 

With the telegram, the injuries and the intense rivalry between the two western suburbs neighbours, it was little wonder that players were jostling and shoving one another before VFA president Alex Gillon had even finished presenting Field Medal winner, Jim Sullivan of Coburg, with his medal. It was obvious that umpire McMaster would have his hands full during the game as he had to speak to several players before he had even bounced the ball. The game itself was played on a blustery Sunday afternoon at Toorak Park in front of 6000 fans. Sunshine took a slender lead early in the game as a result of kicking with the wind in the first quarter to lead 4.3 to 2.2 at quarter time. Both teams traded leads as they kicked with the wind, but the Seagulls were able to provide the fans with a sterling final quarter performance, coming from nine points down at the last change, kicking 5.5 to a solitary goal to run away with a 20-point premiership win, 15.14.104 to 12.12.84, on the back of a resounding performance from injured captain Max Papley, who kicked three goals. Rover Kevin Jackman booted four majors for the day and Bob Smith also scored 3 goals. Patterson kicked only one goal and was replaced by Ron Viney after several futile attempts to mark. Camilleri was given a run in the last quarter. Best on the day were Jackman, Smith, Papley, Ken Barnes, Terry O'Mara and Tom Russell.

Williamstown's 1969 premiership team was:

B.     Brian Harvey        Tom Russell (d.v.c.)          Bill Mitchell

HB.  Ian Johnson          Ron Page                John Whittington

C.                                            Terry O'Mara

HF.  Paul Hayward        Bob Lane                 Mick Mulligan

F.     Robert Percy         Dallas Patterson     Bob Smith

Foll. Ken Barnes (v.c.)           Max Papley (c.c.)

Rov. Kevin Jackman

Res. Andy Camilleri     Ron Viney

Coach: Max Papley

Some rare footage of this game can be seen by copying and pasting the following link into your internet browser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiLoKlXwkMc

On top of the incredible efforts from the first team, both the Seconds and Thirds at the club were also able to come away victorious in their grand finals, beating Sunshine by 25 points and Mordialloc by five points respectively, meaning Williamstown was the first in VFA history to win all three pennants in the one season. The reserves, like the seniors, finished third on the ladder with just the three defeats, equal with Coburg and Sunshine while Frankston made up the four. Williamstown easily accounted for the Dolphins in the first semi, 25.17.167 to 12.6.78, and then met Coburg in the preliminary, which was a curtain-raiser to the same two teams in the seniors. The Seagulls were again victorious, 20.20.140 to 12.3.75, and went on the following week to defeat Sunshine in the grand final, 16.8.104 to 11.13.79, under captain-coach Jocka Mellis. Robert Young kicked 4 goals and best players were Graeme Buchanan, David Madigan, Mel Tisdale, Phil Rowlands, Gary Fitch, Bertie Johnson and Ron Wilson. Young was leading goalkicker in the Second Division reserves for the league with a total of 71. 40 players represented the Seconds during the season. 

The Third's task was a little easier as they finished second on the ladder to Mordialloc after the home-and-away rounds had been completed, but were up against teams that they did not defeat during the season. As in the seniors and seconds, Coburg and Sunshine made up the final four. The Bloodhounds defeated Williamstown in the second semi, 17.14.118 to 13.14.92, and, as in the seniors and reserves, the Seagulls then met Coburg in the preliminary final and were also victorious, 7.17.59 to 4.9.33. In a thriller, Williamstown took out the pennant, 15.12.102 to 14.13.97, inflicting Mordialloc's second defeat for the season. Dean Humphries kicked 6 goals and best players were David Stark, Humphries, Trevor Claughton, Rod Lawerson, Phillip Humphries, Paul Foster, Ian Barker, Jeff Kendall and Gary Craddock. Des Hosking was the successful coach and Paul Foster was captain with Brian Kenny vice-captain. John Grieve doubled as secretary and team manager of the thirds while Doug Nicholson was president. 

The fourths, captained by Stuart Hodgson and playing in the Western Suburbs League under 16's, started badly but recovered to make the finals but did not progress any further. The best & fairest was won by Tommy Welsh and the most consistent award went to Ken Smith. The best clubman trophy was won by Paul Johns. 

The win in the seniors also saw the Seagulls return to the top flight of VFA football in first division. Vice-captain, Ken Barnes, won the Club best and fairest award from Paul Hayward and Bob Percy, while Dallas Patterson was the leading goalkicker for the season with a total of 58, including hauls of 11 against Mordialloc at Williamstown in round 16 and 10 against Frankston at Williamstown in round 17. Kevin Jackman booted 42 and Papley 40. The team kicked a total of 346 goals and 304 behinds (2380) to their opponent's 204 goals and 225 behinds (1449). Other players to kick more than ten goals over the course of the season were Mick Mulligan (34), Andy Camilleri (30), Paul Hayward and Bobby Smith (18) and Ken Barnes (11). Barnes and Tommy Russell were the only players to appear in all 21 encounters during the year. Bob Percy was also awarded the best first-year player trophy and the Williamstown Advertiser best player award. The best clubman award was shared between Terry O'Mara, Bob Smith and John Raffle, while Ian 'Hucky' Johnson was considered the most courageous player. 

Davey Utber won the best and fairest in the Reserve grade from Bertie Johnson and David Madigan, while Kenny Thompson was the most improved player trophy recipient. Phil Humphries won the thirds best and fairest from David Stark and Brian Kenny. Leading goalkicker was Dean Humphries. 

During the year the Club lost life member, Mick Moloney, who had been involved in the Club since 1929 as a committeeman until 1956 and as a vice-president from 1957-66. Committeeman in 1935-36, treasurer from 1937-39, Club secretary from 1940-42, treasurer from 1945-57, vice-president from 1958-59 and fellow life member, Jim McConville also passed away in June. McConville was a signatory to the contract that enticed Ron Todd away from Collingwood. Another former vice-president in 1938 and the premiership season of 1939, Henry Hall, who was also a former licensee of the Rose of Australia Hotel in Ferguson Street, was another who died during 1969.

The end-of-season trip was to Tasmania, which included a visit to former president Ron Marett's Mole Creek Hotel. 

At the annual meeting in respect of the 1969 season, held at the Town Hall in February 1970, life memberships were awarded to vice-presidents Bill Dooley jnr and Bert Hodge and former player and 1969 Thirds premiership coach, Des Hosking. 

 

Kevin Jackman was recruited from Footscray in 1969 after 33 games with the Bulldogs 

 Record from 1969 Second Division first semi-final v. Box Hill

Sunshine's Grand Final Prayer 1969

'The Sunshiners Prayer'

One night a Sunshine supporter

Knelt down beside his bed

This silent prayer he muttered

His hands clasped to his head.

 

Oh dear and Holy Mary

Please listen to my prayer

and make the Sunshine team like Willi

A team beyond compare.

 

Make 'Allen' just like 'Percy'

As agile as a cat

Make 'Kenny Dean' like 'Smith'

'The Dirty Little Rat'.

 

And 'Hipworth' just like 'Kenny Barnes'

With courage, class and speed

A ruckman incomparable

That what Sunshine needs.

 

Make 'Benson' like 'Tommy Russell'

The hardest player of all

Who never stands for nonsense

And always plays the ball.

 

Make 'Ibrahim' like 'Ronnie Page'

A wonder it is true

On second thoughts dear Mary

Half as good will do.

 

A 'Shiner like 'Max Papley'

Would fill our hearts with joy

For surely no-one could surpass

This mighty wonder boy.

 

'I've listened to your prayer my child

I'd like to help you too

Your only chance of lasting joy

BECOME A SEAGULL TOO!'

Author unknown. 

Jubilant Williamstown supporters at the 1969 Grand Final against Sunshine played at Toorak Park

Umpire McMaster runs in to break up a scrimmage between Williamstown and Sunshine players in the 1969 Grand Final

Players celebrating after the 1969 Grand Final victory, from left Ian 'Hucky' Johnson, Kevin Jackman, Ron Viney, Ken Barnes, Dallas Patterson, Terry O'Mara

 Bobby Smith chaired from the ground after the 20-point Grand Final victory over Sunshine


Players celebrating after the 1969 Grand Final victory, clockwise from left Paul Hayward, Robert Percy, Ron Page, Bobby Smith, John Whittington, Mick Mulligan, Kevin Jackman, Brian Harvey

                                          1969 senior premiership squad

Back row: Ian Johnson*, Paul Hayward*, Robert Percy*, Brian Harvey*, Owen Madigan.

Second row: Graham Buchanan, Ron Page*, Ron Viney*, Terry O’Mara*, Bill Mitchell*, Dallas Patterson*.

Front row: Andy Camilleri*, John Whittington*, Ken Barnes (Vice-Captain)*, Max Papley (Captain/Coach)*, Tom Russell (Deputy Vice-Captain)*, Kevin Jackman*, Bobby Smith*.

Absent: Bob Lane*, Mick Mulligan*

* = played in the grand final v Sunshine.

    1969 senior squad
 
Back row: Gary Fitch, Ray Titter, John Allard, Russell Knight, Mel Tisdale, Robert Young
2nd back row: Richard Lewczuk, Brian Harvey, Paul Hayward, Robert Percy, Ian Johnston, Owen Madigan
Middle row:  Les Meyers, Graeme Buchanan, Ron Page, Ron Viney, Terry O'Mara, Bill Mitchell, Dallas Patterson, Damien Hynes
2nd front row:  Kenny Thompson, Bertie Johnson, John Whittington, Ken Barnes, Max Papley,  Jocka Mellis, Tom Russell, Kevin Jackman, David Utber
Front row:  Alan Cocks,  Andy Camilleri, David Madigan,  Peter Ryan, Bob Smith, John Raffle, Ron Wilson
 
Team lists for the Seconds' first semi-final, won by Williamstown 25.17.167 to 12.6.78. They went on to defeat Coburg in the preliminary final, 20.140 to 12.3.75, and the following week downed Sunshine in the grand final, 16.8.104 to 11.13.79, under captain-coach Jocka Mellis.
 
Damien Hynes (left) and Gary Fitch preparing for the first semi-final against Frankston at Sunshine. Trainers, Kelly Brent and Jack Rivett, can be seen in the background.
 
 
Ken Thompson, Davey Utber, Jocka Mellis, Graeme Buchanan, Robert Young and John Raffle (#7) preparing for the first semi-final against Frankston at Sunshine.
 
 
Russell Knight, Peter Ryan and Ronnie Wilson preparing for the first semi-final against Frankston at Sunshine. Les Meyers can be seen in the background between Ryan and Wilson.
 
 
Bertie Johnson and Port Melbourne recruit, Phil Rowlands, preparing for the first semi-final against Frankston at Sunshine. Between the two players is senior vice-president, Ron Campbell. 
 
Davey Utber (left) and Richard Lewczuk prior to the Seconds' first semi-final against Frankston at Sunshine.
 
 

Scores in the 1969 Third Grade Grand Final

                                                      Williamstown Thirds premiership squad 1969

Back row: Dean Humphries, Dallas Halemba, Graham Jarrad, John McAleese, Denis Watson, David Stark, Ian Barker, Rod Lawerson, Jeff Kendall, Gary Richards

Middle row: Neville Brent, Wally Clark (trainers), Terry Humphries, Neil Jamieson, Jim McNeilage, Murray Townsend, John Grech, Tim Malberg, Wayne Cavender, Ray Lawerson, John Grieve (Secretary/Manager), Doug Nicholson (Thirds President)

Front row: Gary Craddock, Phillip Humphries, Trevor Claughton, Paul Foster (captain), Des Hosking (coach), Brian Kenny (vice-captain), Russell Schultz, Billy Tobin

Mascot: Paul Johns

                                                                                                1969 Thirds premiership team 

             

Des Hosking, Thirds premiership coach           Dean Humphries, 6 goals in Grand Final                  

          

  

The three premiership pennants from 1969

Committeeman in 1935-36, treasurer from 1937-39, Club secretary from 1940-42, treasurer from 1945-57, vice-president from 1958-59 and life member, Jim McConville, passed away in June 1969. McConville was a signatory to the contract that enticed Ron Todd away from Collingwood.

 An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the games played and goalscorers of 1969. The second column in the games played and goals scored records is the player's cumulative total.