Season Summary: 2001
2001 signalled yet another change in the life of the Williamstown Football Club when the alignment agreement with the Western Bulldogs was terminated and a new three-year affiliation was formed with Collingwood in respect of playing, training and coaching. There were financial advantages in the move, in that the Magpies would pay for the coach and any player on their list who played with the Seagulls would have their match payments covered. Compensation would also be paid if Williamstown was drawn to play a curtain-raiser to a Collingwood game when a home fixture was scheduled.
The number of teams in the competition was reduced to sixteen with this arrangement, and also the new alignments of Coburg with Richmond and St. Kilda with Springvale. Tasmania was also admitted to the competition on a 12-month probationary licence, which eventually became permanent. The Western Bulldogs went to a solitary alignment with Werribee. This meant that there were eight alignments, three AFL stand-alones and five stand-alone VFL clubs.
Matthew Pearce and Ben Kelly joined the Club in 2001, while Saade Ghazi retired at the end of the previous season.
The season started well with big wins at Williamstown over Bendigo in round one (100-48) and Coburg in round 3 (77-32), but these were the only victories in the first eight games. Anthony Rocca of Collingwood played in the victory over Bendigo. Things improved in the second half of the season whereby the team had registered 8 wins and 8 losses by round sixteen, including a 99 point victory at Bendigo (182-83) and defeats of the eventual runner-up Werribee and premier Box Hill at Pt. Gellibrand (90-71) in round 15.
By season’s end, the Seagulls finished in ninth position with 10 wins and 10 losses, one game outside the final eight. The Reserves finished second on the ladder with 12 wins and 5 losses, and were runners-up to Werribee in the grand final 114-87 in Bruce Davis' final game as coach. Ruckman, David Round, son of Club legend Barry, took out the A. Todd Medal for best and fairest in the VFL Reserves competition.
Brad Lloyd won his second consecutive Gerry Callahan medal from Craig Anderson, and Brent Tuckey from Collingwood won the goalkicking with a total of 41. The Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Seconds was won by Anthony Eames, while Craig Anderson won the Ron James Memorial Trophy as most valuable player. Statistician Ian Cashill was voted best clubman and won the Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy.
Andrew Bews finished up as coach after three seasons and was replaced for 2002 by Brad Gotch.
During the year two former multiple-premiership winning coaches passed away. Wally Carter, who gloriously coached the Club from 1954-57, died in June at the age of 92, and in August, the 1939 and 1949 premiership coach Gordon Ogden passed on, also aged 92.
Club legend Kelly Brent retired as head trainer at the end of the season, and long-time supporter, fund raiser and volunteer Kevin Bury sadly passed away.
This was also the year that the goal and behind posts from AFL Park, Waverley, were installed at Pt Gellibrand.
Ben Kelly joined the Club in 2001 & played 13 senior games as well as co-captaining two Reserves premierships in 2002-03. He won the Fred Hill Medal for best-on-ground in the 2003 triumph. He died in 2016 at 35 years of age.
220-game Collingwood forward Anthony Rocca played for Williamstown in round 1.
Brad Lloyd won his second consecutive Gerry Callahan Medal in 2001
1939 and 1949 premiership coach Gordon Ogden passed away in August aged 92.
Long-time supporter, fund-raiser, bar manager and volunteer Kevin Bury sadly passed away in 2001