1980s

Among changes introduced by the VFA from 1980 was the order-off rule for senior games - it had been used in thirds matches for some years - and the playing of seconds fixtures as curtain-raisers to first 16 games. The two-umpire system was adopted in the finals.One of the highlights of the 1980 season was the round 16 game against Box Hill when Ian Fairley made his debut at only 15 years, 10 months and kicked eight goals to help the Seagulls to win 25.15 to 8.9. Fairley, a nephew of former Williamstown player Ron Page, went on to have a distinguished career with North Melbourne.Williamstown seconds signalled that better days were ahead for the club by winning the premiership in 1980.Williamstown slipped three rungs to seventh place in 1981, winning nine, losing eight and drawing one game.
 
The Seagulls were three clear games and considerable percentage outside the final four. While the Seagulls showed occassional good form, a finals place was never likely. The club, like the VFA, was drifting and living on past glories. Whether it would have gathered enough strength over the next few years to have won the Second Division title and returned to First Division was not tested because, rather fortuitously, that problem was taken out of Williamstown's hands by the VFA. Immediately after the Second Division finals, Williamstown found itself back in First Division.
 
This represented an enormous opportunity to revive and how well the club grasped that chance became evident as the 1980's unfolded.By the start of the 1983 season the Seagulls had added former Melbourne player Tony Dullard, whose father Adrian had played with 'Town from 1950-53, and Greg Towns, formerly of Carlton and Footscray. Ian Fairley had been cleared to North Melbourne. A 97-point win at home against Werribee in the opening round and an 82-point win at Camberwell in round 5 added credence to Williamstown's expected rise up the ladder. However, two further losses convinced Hobbs that Oborne was not the right man to coach the Club and sacked him. Hobbs chose to relinquish the presidency in favour of Hannebery and took over the coaching role for the rest of the season while the Club looked for a new captain-coach.
 
The Club's upheaval did not sit well with the players and the Seagulls won only four games for the season, remaining in 11th position. Relegation was never a threat because Waverley lost all 18 games. Despite the side's lack of success, Fotheringham kicked 108 goals - or 37.5 per cent of the team's total - to head the VFA list. He and Dullard also were selected in the VFA side that played the VAFA. Recruit ruckman Kim Kershaw, who had played with League clubs Richmond and Hawthorn, won the first of four consecutive best and fairest awards.
 
Whereas Williamstown had started season 1984 with three wins, it began 1985 with three losses before winning the next eight. An uneven competition meant at least 12 wins would be needed to claim fourth spot and when 'Town lost to Camberwell by five points in round 16 it faced a hard task to reach the finals ahead of Port Melbourne, now a game clear. Both clubs had a chance to boost their percentages in round 17 when they met lowly opponents. Port took advantage by beating Prahran by 76 points to strengthen its grip on fourth position, while the Seagulls had a 22-point win over Werribee. This meant that not only did Williamstown have to win well away against sixth-placed Geelong West in the last round, but rely on home side Coburg (second) inflicting a solid defeat on Port to reduce its percentage. At that stage Port had a percentage of 140.8 to Williamstown's 133.1. Williamstown did its best, kicking 14.16 to Geelong West's 8.10, but Coburg played an even bigger part by trouncing Port 21.15 to 5.9. This pushed Port's percentage down to 131.4, while Williamstown's rose slightly to 134.5. Port was out and the Seagulls were in the finals! 
 
 

Season by Season Summaries

1980  

 

 

1981  

 

 

1982  

 

 

1983  

 

 

1984  

 

 

1985  

 

 

1986  

 

 

1987  

 

 

1988  

 

 

 
1989

 


Year     

     President     

     Coach     

     Captain     

     Best & Fairest     

      Leading Goalkicker     

     1980

     Sid Wookey    

  Merv Hobbs

     Neil Courtot    

     Paul John

     Peter Enright (52) 

     1981

  Ernest 'Junior' Jackson    

     Merv Hobbs   

     Greg Tweedly

     Geoff Bebend

     Ian Fairley (39)

     1982

    Merv Hobbs  

     Rod Oborne   

     Rod Oborne      

     Mark Fotheringham

Mark Fotheringham (98)

     1983

    Merv Hobbs/Tony Hannebery 

 Rod Oborne/Merv Hobbs     

Rod Oborne/Mark Fotheringham 

     Kim Kershaw

 Mark Fotheringham (108)

     1984

     Tony Hannebery     

     Terry Wheeler     

     Terry Wheeler

     Kim Kershaw

Mark Fotheringham (114)

     1985

     Tony Hannebery     

     Terry Wheeler   

     Terry Wheeler

     Kim Kershaw    

Mark Fotheringham (106)

     1986

     Tony Hannebery     

     Terry Wheeler 

     Terry Wheeler

     Kim Kershaw 

Mark Fotheringham (79)

     1987

     Tony Hannebery     

     Terry Wheeler 

     Terry Wheeler

     Barry Round 

Mark Fotheringham (66)

     1988

     Tony Hannebery     

     Terry Wheeler 

     Terry Wheeler

     Barry Round 

     Ian Rickman (49)

     1989

     Tony Hannebery     

     Barry Round 

     Barry Round 

Barry Round/Bill Swan

     Ian Rickman (125)


    Year    

  Reserves B&F  

     Thirds B&F     

     Best Clubman     

 Most Consistent 

     Coach's Trophy

     1980

Paul Eudey

 Chris Sandells

Phil McTaggart

      Geoff Bebend

 Neil Courtot

     1981

John Sinnott

 Gary Goding

Phil McTaggart

Paul Eudey & Ian Fairley

 Geoff Bebend

     1982

Jeff Ind

 Mark Cannon

 Bob Pearman

Mark Fotheringham

 Mark Fotheringham

     1983

Paul Eudey

 Ray Arandez

 Keith McKay

 Laurie Taylor

 Paul Sinnott

     1984

Paul John

 Grant Doll

 Jeff Ind

 Glen Murphy

 

     1985

Wayne Hodges

 Ritchie Raeburn

 John Clifton

 Kevin Hughes

 Andy Daly

     1986

Ron James

 Ian Argus

 Barry Wright

 Alun Owen

 Graeme Bratby

     1987

Stephen Weir

 Brett Gould

 Kelly Brent

 Brett McTaggart

 Ray Green

     1988

Wayne Morrissey

 Scott Evans

 Terry Maloney

 Robert DiMartino

 Laurie Taylor

     1989

Wayne Morrissey/

Marcus O'Connor

 Wade O'Toole/

Mark Tkocz

 Doc Gilani

      Andy Howlett

 Ron Simmons

 

     Year     

     Secretary     

     Treasurer     

     1980

Brendan Bailey

 Rob Harding

     1981

Brendan Bailey

 Rob Harding

     1982

Les Goding

 Graham Oborne

     1983

Les Goding

 Graham Oborne

     1984

Bob Pearman

 Paul Stebbing

     1985

Bob Pearman

 Paul Stebbing

     1986

Bob Pearman

 Paul Stebbing

     1987

Bob Pearman

 Paul Stebbing

     1988

Bob Pearman

 Paul Stebbing

 

     Year     

     General Manager/CEO     

     1989

     Grant Smith    

 

 Competition Award Winners
1982 Under 19's Competition Leading Goal Kicker - John Crombie
1983 Division One Leading Goal Kicker - Mark Fotheringham 108
1984 Division One Leading Goal Kicker - Mark Fotheringham 114
1984 Runners-Up JJ Liston Trophy - Kim Kershaw, Kevin Sait
1984 Winner AG Gillon Medal (Under 18's) - Grant Doll
1986 Winner Norm Goss Medal - Tony Pastore
1987 Winner JJ Liston Trophy - Barry Round
1988 Winner JJ Liston Trophy - Brett McTaggart (tied with Gary Sheldon, Coburg)
1989 Winner JJ Liston Trophy - Saade Ghazi
1989 Division One Leading Goal Kicker - Ian Rickman 125

 

Photos