Season Summary: 1987
The only recruit of note for season 1987 was Brunswick captain David Whillas, along with a number of players elevated from the Thirds premiership side of the previous year including Richie Raeburn, Ian Argus, Vin Dimartino, Glen Brooks, Frank Dimartino and Gavin Johnstone. Ricky Knight and Danny Del Re were others to debut during the year. Players missing from the premiership side of 1986 were Tony Pastore (Richmond), Ron James (Footscray), Andrew Gibson (Spotswood), Grant Smith (Hawthorn) and Sandy Morrison.
The season began with two defeats at the hands of Coburg and Brunswick, before six consecutive victories, including big wins over Geelong West by 101 points in round 5 (Fotheringham 10 goals) and twelve goals over Sandringham in round 4 (Fotheringham 6 goals). A 100-point loss at Port Melbourne and a six-goal defeat at Coburg followed, before another big win at home over the lowly Roosters by 96 points in round 14 (Fotheringham 6 goals) and at Preston by 20 goals in round 15 (Rickman and Vin Dimartino 8 goals each) secured a finals berth, despite losses in the last two home-and-away games. The season was hampered by injuries during the year to key players such as Kim Kershaw, Mark Brierty, Lindsay Cahill, Wayne Muschialli, Mark Fotheringham and Glen Murphy.
The Seagulls won 11 of their 18 home and away games, leaving them third on the ladder, one win behind second-placed Springvale. This resulted in the 'Town meeting Frankston in the first semi-final and, after trailing by 7 goals at quarter time, five goals at half time and four goals at the last change, Williamstown suddenly found form to add 10 goals to one in the last quarter to win comfortably, 19.15 to 14.14. The irrepressible Rickman kicked five goals for the term, giving him six for the day. The late Steven Knight kicked five. Port Melbourne, which had won both home and away games against the Seagulls that season by big margins, were only 7 points in front at half time but again proved too good in the preliminary, winning 16.20 to 14.12. to end the Seagulls year.
The 1987 season also marked the end of Mark Fotheringham's brilliant career in the VFA. After making his name at Yarraville, Fotheringham kicked 571 goals in 101 games with Williamstown to give him an aggregate of 928 goals in 174 VFA matches. His final season yielded 66 goals, which earned him equal second place on the VFA list. A deadly kick for goal, especially within 50 metres, Fotheringham left the 'Town to coach Keilor in the Essendon District League.
Barry Round became only the second player to win both the League and Association best and fairest awards after he won the Liston Trophy in 1987, six years after his Brownlow Medal win. Round emulated the feat of former Williamstown rover Des Fothergill, who won the Recorder Cup in 1941 (renamed the Liston Cup in 1945 and later that same decade the Liston Trophy), a year after his Brownlow success. It was the Club's first Liston Trophy for 30 years after centreman Johnny Martin took it out in 1956. Whilst Round's effort thrilled all connected with the Club, officials believed the 1987 team was the best fielded by Williamstown in the 1980's and were disappointed it could finish no higher than third place.
The Reserves, under new captain-coach Tony 'Spud' Dullard, finished fourth while the Thirds went back-to-back premiers under Bruce Davis. Davis went on to coach Footscray under 19's, and was replaced by 1986 senior premiership player Larry Simmons.
Barry Round won the first of three consecutive Andy Taylor Memorial Trophies for senior club best and fairest, from Brett McTaggart and Ricky Slevison. The retiring champion spearhead, Mark Fotheringham, took out his sixth consecutive Bert Hodge Memorial Trophy for senior club leading goalkicker. Legendary head trainer Kelly Brent was named the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle clubman of the year.
The Reserves best and fairest award, the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy, was won by Stephen Weir, with Greg Lagstrom runner-up and Philip Brook in third place. Paul McKay was leading goalscorer for the Seconds. The Under 19's best and fairest was awarded to Brett Gould, from Marcus O'Connor and Scott Daykin. For the second year running, Scott Whitzell was the leading goalkicker for the Thirds.
David Whillas, star recruit of 1987, lured across from Brunswick
Successful premiership coach of 1986, Terry Wheeler, remained at the helm in 1987.
1987 playing list
Glen Murphy in action v. Preston, round 6 at home, and with his father Lindsay, who played in the 1958 and 1959 premiership sides.
Mark Fotheringham brought up his 900th VFA goal during 1987, his last season at Willi
A 19yo Danny Del Re made his debut at home v. Geelong West in Round 14 in a 16 goal victory
1987 Reserves First semi-final
1987 reserves captain-coach Tony 'Spud' Dullard
Willi Thirds, featuring future senior players Brett Gould (1989-1998 143 games, 31 goals), Danny Del Re (1987-1999 114 games, 246 goals), Marcus O'Connor (1989-1994 69 games, 60 goals), Ross Hodges (1988 two games, no goals) and Leyton Miles (1990-1992 20 games, 15 goals).
There were four Dimartino's on the playing list at Williamstown in 1987 as well as their cousin, Danny Del Re
1987 JJ Liston Medal results
Brett McTaggart and Kim Kershaw with Frankston's Jeff Sarau
Grant Smith in possession of the ball flanked by Alun Owen
Peter Lane, who broke his leg in the second quarter of the first semi v. Frankston in his last game for Willi, has his plaster cast signed by Club president, Tony Hannebery
Williamstown Thirds 1987 premiers, featuring future senior players Marcus O'Connor, Danny Del Re, Leyton Miles and Brett Gould
Barry Round confronted by Port's Brendan Mutimer and Harold Heatherton in the 1987 preliminary final
1987 Under 16 Spalding Cup team, featuring future senior players Matt Bury & Joey Patterson, and future President of the club, Kim Walsh (1994-95).