Season Summary: 1982


Williamstown decided to appoint a playing coach to head its return to First Division and chose Rod Oborne, formerly of Collingwood and Richmond. Mark Fotheringham, who had kicked 357 goals in 73 games with Yarraville since 1978, quit the ailing Eagles for the Seagulls and was joined by former teammate Kevin Sait who had spent 1981 with Footscray. While success in the major division was desired, it was not as important as in previous years because the VFA decided to dispense with automatic promotion/relegation at the end of 1982 to give those clubs that had been promoted the chance to settle.

For the season, Williamstown won five of the 18 games to run 11th or second last. Its percentage of 86.3 indicated a fair degree of competitiveness and the basic aim of the Club - to consolidate its place in First Division - was achieved. Fotheringham, who kicked 98 goals to finish second on the VFA list, showed that he could score just as freely in First Division as he had in the lower grade. A deadly kick for goal, he was destined to have a big impact on Williamstown's fortunes in the next few years. Oborne also kicked a swag of goals, his 60 earning him ninth position on the VFA list. Fotheringham's efforts were crowned by winning the Club's best and fairest award.

After the season president Merv Hobbs was approached by the players, who wanted payment for their services. In the space of about six weeks Hobbs raised $40,000 to liquidate this debt. Tony Hannebery, later to become Williamstown president and then VFA president, said the Club would not have survived without the input of Hobbs. The mercurial nature of Hobbs certainly gave 'Town the spark it needed to again become a VFA force although he didn't win a popularity poll in achieving this end. John Grieve recalls Hobbs as 'an abrasive fellow who rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but he was the sort of person who was needed to change the culture of the Club.'


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