Season Summary: 1955

Apart from the seniors winning the 1955 pennant, the seconds bettered their effort from the previous season and also won the premiership, the third that the Club had won following success in 1941 and 1948. The thirds, which headed the ladder after the home-and-away rounds, had to be content with runners-up. This was only the second time after Coburg in 1928 that the seniors and reserves won premierships in the same season.

At the annual general meeting, incumbent President Harold Hosking, content with a premiership finally, stood down  as he said he would and handed over the reins to Jack Carter. Dr L. Joel was made a life member after more than twenty years service as the honorary medical officer.

Wally Carter, Gerry Callahan and Alby Linton were all re-appointed to their 1954 positions. Departures included Don Rogers and Reg Harley, who both took up country coaching appointments, and Johnny Walker similarly moved to coach Footscray and Yarraville Socials. Kevin Taylor, Keith Abberton and Noel Alford were the other main absentees. Recruits included Maurie Gear from Geelong, local lad Alan McPherson from South Melbourne, R. Ogden, Albert Outen, Allen Laurie and future Team of the Century back pocket Eric Beitzel.

As in the previous season, sixteen matches were won out of the twenty home-and-away games played, but on this occasion it earned the Club only third place. The first match at Yarraville resulted in a comfortable win, 17.18 to 11.11, but the opening home match the following week resulted in an 8 point defeat to Preston after the unfurling of the 1954 pennant. Brunswick did the same thing in 1950 except that defeat was the opening match of the season.  It was also the first time Preston had tasted victory at Williamstown since 1938, and the Bullants repeated the result later in the season at Preston in round 14 by delivering the Seagulls’ heaviest defeat of the season, 10.10 to 4.7. Port inflicted one of the other defeats rather easily at Port in round 16, winning 10.11 to 5.12, but the absence of Callahan was a mitigating factor. He had been suspended for two matches after being reported by umpire Irving for striking Preston’s Ray McBean.  As a result of that incident a policeman came onto the ground and requested that Irving stop the match. At three quarter time the officer took McBean’s  name and address and spoke with Callahan in the Williamstown rooms at the end of the game but fortunately no action was taken by police. Moorabbin broke through for its first ever victory against Williamstown at Pt Gellibrand in round 6.  Box Hill nearly caused an upset away, again on a mudheap, with a slim two-point win to the 'Town, while other close wins were against Port and Camberwell at home by the same margin of 4 points. Oakleigh could only manage 2.7.19 to the 'Town's 15.14.104 at Williamstown and Brighton fared little better with 3.9.27. Port again headed the list at the end of the home-and-away games with only two losses and a draw, followed by Preston with three losses, Williamstown then Moorabbin. It was to be Preston’s first finals appearance since 1941.

The finals were again played at the Junction Oval and, with Williamstown needing to win three matches for a second successive pennant, Port started as favourites because of its talented team and willingness to use strong-arm tactics. The first semi-final against Moorabbin before a crowd of 11,000 resulted in a comfortable win 12.12.84 to 10.9.69. Star ruckman Harry Simpson incurred the wrath of the committee during the season and was suspended but commonsense prevailed and he returned to the team nearing the finals to make a most effective contribution.

The preliminary final against Preston, in front of a crowd of 16,000, was not a great spectacle as both sides were overly-anxious, but Williamstown led Preston by 32 points at half-time before the Bullants rallied to hit the front eight minutes into the final term. Inexperience ultimately cost the Bullants the game as the 'Town was still trailing by a few points in time-on in the last quarter when a Preston player marked in the goalsquare and remarkably decided to play on. Tackled, the ball spilled free and the Seagulls took advantage by rushing the ball to the other end of the ground to take the lead before goaling again to run out winners 11.16.82 to 10.13.73.

The 30,000 who attended the grand final were treated to an excellent match, although early indications pointed to an easy Port victory, leading 7.3 to 1.3 at the first change, after having first use of the wind. Port was again without Fraser, who had been suspended for four games on a charge of striking Preston’s McBean in the second-semi. By early in the second term this advantage had been extended to 43 points, but the situation had improved slightly by half-time with Port's lead reduced by 8.6 to 5.10. Williamstown’s use of a battery of six ruckmen in short bursts and three rovers to allow Linton to do most of his work around goal enabled the Seagulls to creep within 14 points by the long break, but the ‘Town’s poor kicking for goal and rain during the break seemingly made Port’s position more secure. Playing with confidence Port looked like breaking away in the third term but the vigour of Fisher and Simpson helped to steady the side, and Port didn’t use the strengthening wind as well in the third quarter as it had in the first, but still led by 31 points shortly before three-quarter time. A late goal by the Seagulls cut the difference to 25 points but, with 12.8 on the board to Willi's 7.13 at the last change, it looked like Port's pennant. The ridiculous spectacle of the Port players crouching around the boundary fence so that their suspended captain-coach Don 'Mopsy' Fraser could address them from amongst the crowd should have been avoided. Kicking with the breeze in the last and with belated determination, Williamstown took control of the game and gradually reduced the lead, firstly by a goal off the ground by Linton at the four-minute mark, and another by Callahan three minutes later reduced the margin to two goals. The crowd, which had settled down to see how much Port would win by, suddenly livened up. Led by Simpson and Callahan in the ruck and Martin dominating the centre, the Seagulls steadily brought the scores closer. Bonnett had the chance to steady for Port when he received a free kick but missed. Gear snapped a goal for the Seagulls followed by Linton goaling on the run to put the ‘Town only a point down. Port added a behind before Smith and Callahan added points to tie the scores. As was often the case with Port players in a crisis, they started using unnecessary vigour and umpire Irving didn't hesitate to hand out free free kicks. Linton was felled behind play but soon dashed back into action to mark and goal, which made him the Association leading goalkicker with 84 for the season and put ‘Town ahead after 17 minutes. A behind to Smith made the difference seven points, which was cut to one when Miller kicked Port’s only goal for the quarter. The Seagulls managed another two behinds and then finished off with a goal while Port could only muster 1.2 for the term and, from an almost impossible position, Williamstown had its second consecutive pennant well in hand with minutes to play. The final scores were Williamstown 13.19.97 to Port's 13.10.88. Alby Linton kicked six goals and best players were Linton, Beitzel, Callahan, Martin, Smith, Simpson, Sims and Outen.

Williamstown’s 1955 premiership side was:

B.    Alby Outen        Max Munday     Sid Wookey

HB. Eric Beitzel         John Ramsay     Jack Curran

C.    George Taafe    Johnny Martin   Frank Sims

HF.  Ray Smith          Gerry Callahan   Neil Whitaker

F.       Reg Fisher               Jack Evans      Maurie Gear

Foll.   Harry Simpson       Bob Jones

Rov.   Alby Linton

Res.   Alan McPherson    Allen Laurie

Alby Linton took out the Club's best and fairest award, the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy. He also finished third in the Liston Trophy behind Moorabbin rover Les Moroney and Camberwell centreman Lloyd Holyoak, and won the Association goalkicking honours with a tally of 84 to cap off a wonderful season. This was the first occasion where a rover headed the list. Lou Barker won the reserves best and fairest and Brian Stafford the third's. Syd Wookey brought up his 100th game during the season.

The second's season was very similar to the seniors in that each won sixteen home-and-away matches of the twenty played and both finished third and with a similar percentage. Then, as did the seniors, the seconds won their three finals matches to bring the third reserves pennant to Williamstown, defeating Moorabbin 9.10.64 to 6.8.44 in the first semi, Coburg in the preliminary 8.15.63 to 9.8.62 and downing Oakleigh in the grand final by 7 points, 10.10.70 to 9.9.63. Apart from the club best and fairest, captain-coach Lou Barker also won the competition award and vice-captain Dick Roberts was voted the competition's best full back.

The thirds, under the coaching of Murray McRae, headed the ladder after the home-and-away round but lost the second-semi to Yarraville 13.8 to 7.5, before winning the preliminary against Box Hill 7.8 to 5.8. The grand final was lost to Yarraville at Northcote 9.4 to 5.3.

                   From The Argus, 18 July, 1955

From The Argus, August 24, 1955

 

From The Argus September 3, 1955

From The Argus, September 21, 1955

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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