Season Summary: 1981
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.
As the VFA drifted into the 1980's, having virtually exhausted its options to remain a counter attraction to League football, the Association executive under new president Alan Wickes decided to implement a radical move to improve its standing. Aware that the gap between the two divisions had grown into a gulf, it was decided to take the best out of the minor division and form a First Division with 12 rather than 10 clubs. Two new clubs, Springvale and Kilsyth, were admitted to Second Division to give it 10 teams. The decision on who to choose was based on playing performance, financial stability and the ability to raise money, location and the potential to succeed.
Those clubs entrenched in First Division were by no means automatic choices - questions were asked about Geelong West and Coburg - and the bottom two clubs, Caulfield and Brunswick, were relegated. Five of the Second Division clubs - premier Camberwell, runner-up Waverley, fourth-placed Werribee, Oakleigh (fifth) and Williamstown (seventh) - were in line for promotion. Camberwell had to go up by virtue of its premiership, Werribee was considered to have great potential because the club had improved on the field and was in a growth area, while it was felt that Williamstown could build on its tradition and enjoy a resurgence. This left the last place between Waverley and Oakleigh. Whilst Oakleigh had tradition and Waverley didn't, it was believed that Waverley was a better proposition because it was further from the city.
Thirds premiership team featuring future senior premiership player Ricky Slevison, who would go on to play 140 senior games from 1982-1991, kicking 105 goals. Stephen Bratby would play two senior games in 1985 (no goals), Gary Brook three games in 1983 for one goal, Chris Sandells seven games in 1983-84 for one goal and Glen Holder 17 games for 16 goals from 1982-1985.
End-of-season trip to Gold Coast, from left John Hogg (Dec), Ron Black, Les Fletcher (Dec), Alun Owen, Jeff Ind, Rod Smith, John Sinnott, Brendon Bailey, Tony Walsh, John Cutajar, Ian Fairley, Terry Maloney (dec) Kevin Yates, John Clifton.