Season Summary: 2009
The major signings for the 2009 season were local Ben Davies after four years at AFL level at Collingwood and North Melbourne, along with delisted AFL Magpie, Chris Egan, after 27 games and TAC Cup best and fairest winners, Dylan Joyce (Calder Cannons) and Xavier Gotch (Oakleigh Chargers), son of senior coach, Brad Gotch, who was entering his eighth season in that position. The Club was again captained by Brett Johnson for a third season. Also, future Sydney Swans star and co-captain, Dane Rampe, joined the Club but spent the season in the Reserves.
Departing Williamstown was Jackson Barling, Kane McKenzie, Steven Greene, Callum Urch and Liam Picken, who was listed by the Western Bulldogs after 62 games for the Seagulls, and would go on to play 198 AFL games, including the 2016 AFL premiership, before retiring in 2019 due to recurring issues with concussion.
Over the summer Tasmania withdrew from the competition, whilst the Melbourne/Sandringham affiliation finished after nine years, as did the eight-year union of St. Kilda with Casey. Sandringham became aligned with St.Kilda from 2009, and the Scorpions became affiliated with Melbourne. This meant the VFL reverted to a 13-team competition, with 9 alignments, 2 AFL stand-alone teams and 2 VFL stand-alones. Williamstown’s agreement with the Western Bulldogs was extended for a further three years during the course of the year.
After a bye in round one, the Seagulls then won seven consecutive games against Collingwood (137-75), Werribee (90-24), Sandringham (117-69), Frankston again narrowly (139-133), and Bendigo (167-66, Little 6 goals). The Reserves beat Bendigo earlier in the day 33.23.221 to 3.5.23 (refer details below).
A comfortable victory over Port Melbourne (111-69) meant that six of these wins were by six goals or more to give the season great impetus, before losses came against North Ballarat and the Bullants. Three further victories over Geelong (136-75, Little 6 goals), Casey (90-86) and Werribee (155-96) found Williamstown on top of the ladder after 12 rounds with nine wins and two losses. The Reserves were also number one with eleven wins and no losses and a percentage of 180%.
Two more wins over Coburg (119-116) and Box Hill (85-62) preceded losses to Sandringham and North Ballarat. The home-and-away rounds finished with a comfortable victory over Port at North Port Oval (108-66), which ended Port’s run of 20 consecutive home-ground wins. The Seagulls finished in second spot with 13 wins and 5 losses and the highest percentage of any team, while the Reserves also finished second with 15 wins and three losses.
Finishing second gave Williamstown a home qualifying final, a great advantage considering the ‘Town had lost only once at Pt. Gellibrand all year, and that was to reigning premier North Ballarat by just two points in round 8. However, the Seagulls performed badly to go down to the Northern Bullants 11.12.78 to 6.13.49, the Club’s lowest score of the season and also the last two years (refer details below).
The second-semi at North Port Oval the following week resulted in another bad loss, this time at the hands of Collingwood, 13.16.94 to Williamstown’s 7.12.54. This brought to an end the eight-year coaching reign of Brad Gotch after 161 games, which saw 93 wins, 63 losses and two draws, and highlighted by the 2003 grand final victory. The team contested the finals in six of those eight seasons. Only the great Gerry Callahan has coached the Seagulls in more games (202), leaving dual-premiership coach Gordon Ogden in third place (110).
The Reserves met Sandringham in a knock-out second preliminary final and went down 14.10.94 to 6.14.50, which saw Saade Ghazi also finish up as coach of that side. This brought to an end an amazing decade of success for the Seconds team, which had been premiers in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2008, runners-up in 2001, 2004 and 2006, while finishing third in 2007.
During the year the Club lost long-time volunteer Bert John, former player Steven Knight (22 games, 55 goals) and dual premiership player (1955/56) Alan McPherson at the age of 77. He was at the Club from 1955-58 and played 44 games, kicking 127 goals, including six in the 1956 grand final win over Port Melbourne. Alan was named second best player after Ray Smith in that game.
Bulldog-listed player Wayde Skipper was awarded the Gerry Callahan Medal as best and fairest for the season from captain Brett Johnson with Ben Jolley in third place, while Matthew Little was leading goalkicker. Matthew Cravino took out the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy as best for the Reserves from Nick Georgiadis and Tommy Langlands third. Skipper also took home the Ron James Memorial Trophy for most valuable player. The Bill 'Darkie' Raffle Memorial Trophy for best clubman was awarded to Ron 'The Count' Williams.
Before the year was out the Club had appointed Peter German as senior coach for 2010, with Adam Potter as the new Seconds coach.
2009 was the eighth and final year of Brad Gotch's coaching career at Williamstown
Williamstown's 2009 playing list
Second-year Seagull Ben Jolley applies a tackle against Coburg in round 13 while recruit Xavier Gotch looks on.
2009 recruit Ben Davies
2008 Reserves best and fairest winner Luke Cartelli
2008 leading goalkicker Patrick Rose
Williamstown captain Brett Johnson
Dane Rampe in action for Williamstown Reserves during 2009
A good day for the Club in round 6 with victories over Bendigo by 101 points in the seniors and 198 points by the reserves.
Xavier Gotch in action against Geelong in 2009
Future senior Williamstown player Nick Sing at Gippsland Power TAC Cup side in 2009
2009 Gerry Callahan Medallist Wayde Skipper in action against the Casey Scorpions
Wayde Skipper also took out the Ron James Most Valuable Player award in 2009
Sam Reid (GWS Giants) played for Williamstown in 2009 when a Bulldogs-listed player
The disappointing scoreline from the 2009 qualifying final played at Williamstown, the Club’s lowest score of the season and also the last two years.
Williamstown Reserves playing list for the knock-out preliminary final against Sandringham