Season Summary: 1970

The Club began the decade back in the top flight of VFA football after a dominant 1969 campaign which saw them rise as Division Two premiers. Fans and the Club alike were looking forward to a prolific season which would see Williamstown rise as one of the strongest clubs in the country again. Arthur Johnson was once again elected president, with Jack Carter as senior vice-president.

After success in the previous season, Williamstown's list remained much the same with a few handy inclusions such as full-back Alan Byers from North Adelaide and 19yo, 6'5" ruckman John Fanning, who crossed over from Essendon in June, but captain/coach Max Papley was of the opinion that it was the players believing in themselves which was the overriding factor in his team's ability to turn the Club around. Nevertheless, 38 players appeared in the seniors including 15 who made their debut during the season, including David Stark, Graeme Hemley and John Van Liempd. With tremendous support from assistant coach, former Hawthorn and Brighton player Norm Alvin, ruckman Ken Barnes as vice-captain and experienced full-back Tom Russell as deputy vice-captain the Club put in another fantastic season which got off to a promising start with a 5-goal victory at Oakleigh in round 1 (Dallas Patterson 5 goals). Blessed with good weather, a healthy crowd including VFA officials, members of Parliament, the Mayor (Cr. Ron Dawes), councillors and the local band, the stage was set for a great opening home game of the season. The three victorious teams from the previous year did a lap of honour and then lined up whilst the three pennants were unfurled. A 12-goal win over Geelong West ensued (Papley 8 goals, Patterson 5) to cap off a great day for the Club. 

Williamstown went on to win the opening five games, including a six-goal victory over eventual premier Prahran, to head the ladder until round 6. Losses to Dandenong by 6 goals and to Port Melbourne by 11 goals broke the run and precipitated a mid-season slump that saw the Seagulls slide down to sixth spot on the ladder after losing by 3 goals at Geelong West in round 11. They lost only one more home-and-away game, at Toorak Park in round 14 by 45 points, to finish in second place on the ladder with 13 wins out of their 18 games, behind Prahran and in front of Port Melbourne and Waverley. Big wins were recorded in round 2 against Geelong West by 73 points (Papley 8 goals), against Oakleigh in round 10 by 58 points (Dallas Patterson 6 goals), against Waverley in round 13 by 41 points (Patterson 10 goals), and against Sandringham in round 18 also by 41 points (Jackman and Papley 5 goals each). All these victories were at Pt Gellibrand. 

Finals football returned to St Kilda, and the second semi-final was played against Prahran before a crowd of 10,000 and 'Town went down narrowly 10.15.75 to 9.15.69 (Kevin Jackman 3 goals, best players Ian Johnson, Dallas Patterson, Ron Page, Jackman, Brian Harvey, David Stark, John Fanning and Max Papley). The Seagulls had six shots at goal in the last five minutes and could have won easily but failed to convert. 

The preliminary final at the same venue resulted in a big win against Waverley, 22.22.154 to 7.9.51 (Patterson 10 goals, Jackman more than 30 kicks), after trailing by two goals at quarter time, which set up a rematch against Prahran in the Grand Final. Although the Seagulls trailed by just 4 points at quarter time, the Two Blues under captain-coach Kevin Rose were too good on the day and won 17.18.120 to Williamstown's 10.10.70. Apart from a good first quarter, the Seagulls were never in the game and were down by 76 points at three-quarter time after the Two Blues added 7.8 to one behind in the third quarter. With an unbeatable lead, Prahran relaxed and allowed Williamstown to reduce the final margin to 50 points by kicking 5.5 to 1.3 in the last quarter. Papley and Jackman were the best for 'Town. The crowd at the Junction Oval was 22,000.

Williamstown's 1970 Grand Final side was:

B.     Ian Johnson          Alan Byers             Terry O'Mara

HB.  Graham Hemley    Ron Page                Brian Harvey

C.                                             Robert Percy

HF.  Bobby Smith          Bob Lane                David Stark

F.     John Van Liempd  Dallas Patterson     Paul Hayward

Foll. John Fanning        Max Papley (c.)

Rov. Kevin Jackman

Res. Les Meyers           Lindsay Edgerton

Coach: Max Papley

In the short history of the VFA's divisional system, Williamstown became the first and only club to be promoted from the second division and then, in the following season, compete in the division one grand final. Under Max Papley over the three seasons since 1968 the Seagulls had recorded 51 victories from 62 matches at the incredible average of more than 82%, or four wins from every five games played. Kevin Jackman, whose fine season included finishing runner-up to Yarraville's Fred Cook in the Liston Trophy, won the Club's best and fairest award from Brian Harvey and Alan Byers. Dallas Patterson kicked 72 goals to finish second on the VFA list, just behind Dandenong's Jim 'Frosty' Miller who scored 80 majors for the year. The team kicked a total of 325 goals and 305 behinds (2255) to the opposition's 276 goals and 318 behinds (1974). Other players to kick ten or more goals for the year were Kevin Jackman (45), Max Papley (35), Bobby Smith (22), John Fanning (20), Ken Barnes, Andy Camilleri and Ron Page (all 15), David Stark (13), Paul Hayward, Bob Lane and Les Meyers (all 12), John Van Liempd (11) and Robert Percy (10). Brian Harvey and Kevin Jackman were the only players to appear in all 21 encounters during the season. David Stark was the winner of the best first-year player award, while Jackman was considered the most courageous player. 

Long-serving Reserves captain-coach Jocka Mellis retired after the completion of the season, where the team finished third after the home-and-away rounds before winning the first semi comfortably over Dandenong and then losing to Preston in the preliminary. Gary Fitch won the seconds best and fairest award from Terry Flint and F. Kellow. Ron Callander was team manager. 

The thirds, under the coaching of former Spotswood and Carlton player, Harry Dern, failed to make the final four. Trevor Claughton was captain with Neil Jamieson vice-captain while Phil Humphries won the best and fairest in that grade for the second year in succession with Claughton runner-up. Other players to impress were Peter Strachan and Mark Hynes. Doug Nicholson was again president with John Grieve secretary. 

The under 16 team, under first-year coach John Raffle, finished runners-up to Altona in their competition. 6'3' (190cm) and 92kg ruckman, Jim Hynes, took out the Fourth's (under 16's) best and fairest for the Club and also the Western Suburban League award. Ray Tyrrell was captain while Doug Nicholson acted as president of the Fourths with Dean Humphries team manager. 

The Club medical officer, Dr. Louis Joel completed 40 years of service in 1970 since commencing in that role in 1931 and the legendary Kelly Brent became head trainer while Bob Major was absent overseas. The Gulls supporter group was established in 1970 with a total of 36 members, and its initial office bearers being Arthur Kilpatrick (president), Ron Callander (secretary) and Fred Holdsworth (treasurer).  

President of the Ladies Committee from 1952-1970 and life member, Mrs Elsie Flett, grandmother of Les Twentyman, passed away during the year, as did fellow life member and 1921 premiership team member, Hugh Munro. Munro played exactly 100 senior games for the Club from 1921-26 and 1928-30 and kicked 47 goals. He was captain in 1925 and vice-captain in 1928 and also played for Williamstown in the 1924 grand final. He also played in two premiership teams with Williamstown Juniors in 1917 and 1919. Former committeeman in 1939, Bill 'Sussie' Conroy, and former president of 1938, Ernest W. Jackson, were others to pass on. Former player of 1911-15 and 1923, Tom O'Halloran (71 games 22 goals), also passed away on January 3 at the age of 77. He was vice-captain in 1914 and again in 1923, but captained the team for most of the season when the captain-coach, Charlie Laxton, stepped down after round 3 except for a comeback in round 12. O'Halloran played 62 games and kicked 12 goals for South Melbourne from 1918-21, including the 1918 premiership with fellow Williamstown players, Jim Caldwell and Phil Skehan, and represented Victoria three times. He went to Prahran in 1922 before returning to Williamstown and then transferred to Port Melbourne in 1924. 

Club secretary since 1965, Alec Bell, Thirds secretary, John Grieve, and trainer, Kelvin John 'Kelly' Brent, were all made life members at the annual general meeting held at the Town Hall in February in respect of the 1969 season. Tom Russell was also accorded the same honour after having served 10 years as a player.

1970 President Arthur Johnson. Born in July 1891, he was President of the Club from 1958-1965 and again from 1969-1972. He also served as a Vice-President in 1956 and 1957 and again in 1966, before becoming Senior Vice-President in 1967 and 1968. He was also Secretary of the Club in 1922 and 1923. He passed away in 1986 at the age of 94.

The visit to Williamstown by the then-Governor, Sir Dallas Brooks, was in 1954, not 1956, and Jack Carter was a Vice-President. Harold Hosking was President in 1954. Jennifer Byrne would become a leading Australian journalist, television presenter and book publisher and marry comedian and film producer, Andrew Denton.

John 'Sticks' Fanning, at rear, during his time at Essendon (1968-70 6 games, 1 goal), crossed to Williamstown in June 1970 and went on to play 132 games and kick 94 goals up until the end of 1980, excepting 1971 due to study committments and 1979 when he went to Brunswick for one season. He was first ruck in Williamstown's 1976 premiership side and the 1970 grand final team and won the Club best and fairest award in 1974. He was captain-coach of the team in the disastrous 1978 season. Fanning was selected as captain and first ruck in the Williamstown 1970's Team of the Decade and is a member of the Williamstown Hall of Fame. 

Williamstown played at Oakleigh in the first game back in Division One, with the Seagulls winning 19.15.129 to 14.14.98

1970 team list.

The three premiership flags from 1969 unfurled at the opening home game of 1970 v. Geelong West on April 26

                         Captain-coach, Max Papley, addresses the players before the game against Geelong West in round 2 

              Ron Page and Bobby Smith close in on a Geelong West opponent in pursuit of the ball 

                             Fullback Tom Russell punches the ball away against Geelong West

Ron Page stands over a Geelong West opponent in the season-opener at Williamstown, 1970

                                                   Players untangle themselves from a skirmish in the Round 2 encounter at Williamstown 

Dallas Patterson kicked 5 goals in the big win over Geelong West in round 2 at Williamstown 

Williamstown won the round 5 fixture at Pt Gellibrand against eventual premier, Prahran, 15.16.106 to 10.11.71

Future captain-coach, John Fanning, made his debut at Sandringham in the round 9 defeat 

Round 9, 1970, Williamstown lost to Sandringham, 15.13.103 to 13.10.88, the 3rd defeat for the season

Round 13, 1970, Williamstown 22.10.142 defeated Waverley 13.23.101, with Dallas Patterson kicking 10 goals 

Advertisement leading up to the round 15 clash between 3rd-placed Dandenong & 4th-placed Williamstown

Photos from the round 15 clash at Williamstown, which the Seagulls won by 5 points, 13.11.89 to 12.12.84

                            Defender Graham Hemley at Port Melbourne in the round 16 clash, behind him is full back Alan Byers. 

Photos from the round 16 clash at Port Melbourne, which Williamstown won 13.17.95 to 11.16.82 

Long-serving Reserves captain-coach Jocka Mellis retired after the completion of the season, where the team finished third after the home-and-away rounds before winning the first semi comfortably over Dandenong and then losing to Preston in the preliminary. Gary Fitch won the seconds best and fairest award from Terry Flint and F. Kellow. Ron Callander was team manager. 

The Age, September 14, 1970

                                             Bob 'Penny' Lane in pursuit of Kevin Rose 1970 GF

Williamstown ruckman, John Van Liempd, punches the ball away during the 1970 grand final v. Prahran

                                             Western Suburbs Advertiser, September 23, 1970

Williamstown defender, Brian Harvey (#11) reaches for a mark while Prahran captain-coach, Kevin Rose, crashes in 

                                                  Western Suburbs Advertiser, September 23, 1970

19yo Williamstown centre half-back, Ron Page, collides with Prahran's Maurie Bartlett (#4) in the grand final

                                              Western Suburbs Advertiser, September 23, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

 Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

Weekender, September 25, 1970

VFA Team-of-the-Year, featuring Kevin Jackman (second rover), Brian Harvey (17th man) & Max Papley (coach)

Weekender, September 25, 1970


John Raffle, son of Bill 'Darkie' Raffle, became coach of the Fourths in 1970 which were runners-up to Altona in the Western Suburban League under-16's. John had played 5 senior games and kicked one goal from 1967-69, including the 1968 Second Division grand final against Geelong West as well as the Seconds' premierships of 1966 and 1969. He won the Seconds best and fairest 1968 and was best clubman in 1969. John was Thirds treasurer from 1965-69 and was Thirds coach in 1975 after coaching the Fourths to three consecutive premierships in 1972-74. He is a life member of the Club.   

Sporting Globe, June 10, 1970

Williamstown Advertiser, July 29, 1970

  An extract from Larry Floyd's book on the history of the VFA and Williamstown - the games played and goalscorers of 1970. The second column in the games played and goals scored records is the player's cumulative total.


















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