Season Summary: 2011
Missing from the 2010 playing list was Peter Faulks, who had been drafted to Fremantle, while the Frosty Miller Medallist of the previous season, Matthew Little, decided to join the Bendigo Bombers in a final attempt to get drafted. Brett Goodes was recruited to the Seagulls from North Ballarat, Adam Cook returned from Wodonga, Jack Frost and Steve Witkowski came from the TAC Cup while Dylan Conway joined the Club from the Western Jets.
Gold Coast entered the AFL, meaning the competition reverted to 13 teams and bye rounds once again.
No football was played at Williamstown in this season due to the works being undertaken at the ground with most home games relocated to Werribee, while others were played at Torquay, Keilor & Wangaratta. Nonetheless the season opened promisingly with five wins in the first six rounds (there was a bye in round 2) including:
· A 51-point victory at Werribee against the ‘Bees in round one, 23.16.154 to 15.13.103;
· An 11-point win in the first ‘home’ game of the year over Box Hill at Werribee, 16.13.109 to 14.14.98;
· A 32-point victory over Geelong at Torquay on Easter Sunday, 19.20.134 to 15.12.102 (Mitch Hahn 5 goals, James Mulligan best);
· A 52-point win at Coburg in round 5, 17.16.118 to 9.12.66 (Mitch Hahn 4 goals, Ben Jolley best); and
· A six-goal victory over Sandringham at Werribee, 21.13.139 to 16.8.104, leaving Williamstown on top of the ladder undefeated.
The first loss of the year came in round 7 at Port Melbourne, going down to the Borough 15.7.97 to 6.10.46, before bouncing back the following week at Victoria Park to down Collingwood, 15.16.106 to 11.10.76 (Barry Hall 4 goals, Jolley best). This was followed up with another comfortable win over Casey at Werribee by 40 points leading into the round 10 bye.
Another defeat was suffered out at Keilor against North Ballarat, 16.11.107 to 13.16.94, before five consecutive victories over Frankston at Werribee (127-53), over Bendigo at QEO (166-87), the Northern Bullants at Preston (109-80), Collingwood at Wangaratta (95-63) and Werribee again at Werribee (89-76).
The Seagulls then lost narrowly in consecutive weeks going down again to North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium in round 18 by just two points, 13.16.94 to 13.14.92, followed by a second loss for the year to Port at Werribee, 17.17.119 to 16.18.114. The season was wound up with a 101-point victory at Box Hill in round 21 (149-48) and a 93-point win at Frankston in the final game (138-45).
Williamstown finished 2nd on the ladder at the completion of the home-and-away rounds with 14 wins and 4 losses, with 2 of the defeats being by less than a goal. They beat North Ballarat convincingly in the qualifying final at Box Hill, 20.14.134 to 10.7.67, before demolishing Werribee in the preliminary final, 23.19.157 to 11.8.74 (Sam Reid 5 goals, Brett Goodes best).
This set up a Grand Final meeting, the senior team's first since 2003, at the Docklands Stadium with Port Melbourne before a crowd of 11,804. The game began brightly enough with Williamstown up by 21 points at quarter time, 5.3 to 2.0, but from that point Port added 20 goals to the Seagulls 8, resulting in a 56-point drubbing, 22.12.144 to 13.10.88, to end the season.
Williamstown's 2011 grand final team was as follows:
B. David Stretton James Mulligan* Dane Rampe
HB. Brennan Stack* Ayce Cordy* Dylan Addison*
C. Christian Howard* Brett Johnson (C) Ben Davies
HF. Josh Hill* Ed Barlow* Brett Goodes
F. Sam Reid* Jordan Roughhead* Nathan Djerrkura*
Foll. Will Minson* Mitch Wallis*
Rover Ben Jolley
I/C Patrick Veszpremi*, Jason Tutt*, Matthew Grossman, Andrew Hooper*, Mitch Hahn*, Matthew Panos*, Stephen Witkowski, Matthew Cravino, Jack Frost
Coach: Peter German
* = Western Bulldogs-listed players
In August, the Seagulls won the inaugural Foxtel Cup by defeating Claremont at Subiaco Oval by 21 points, 59-38. Ben Jolley was voted best-on-ground and won the Coles Medal.
The Development League team also finished in 2nd place on the ladder in that grade at the completion of the home-and-away rounds with 14 wins and 4 losses and a percentage of 221.88, but lost the knock-out qualifying final to Coburg, 16.11.107 to 7.16.58.
Jolley finished third in the JJ Liston Trophy voting for the year, while Matthew Cravino was awarded his second A. Todd Medal for best and fairest in the VFL Reserves competition.
Jolley also won the first of four Gerry Callahan Medals for Club best and fairest after being runner-up in his first year at the Club in 2008. The honours didn’t finish there as he also took out the Ron James Memorial Trophy for most valuable player. Cravino was awarded the Bill Sheahan Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in the Reserves after winning it previously in 2009. Bruce Tait was voted the Bill ‘Darkie’ Raffle Memorial Trophy winner for best club person.
Life member and premiership wingman Frank Sims passed away on March 9. Frank played 105 games and kicked 23 goals from 1953-58, and was a member of the 1954/55/56 and ’58 flag teams.
Long-time trainer and volunteer, Ron 'Hambone' Johnson, also passed away in December 2011.
2011 playing list, including future 2016 Norm Smith Medallist, Jason Johannisen #80
Former Richmond & St Kilda AFL player, Justin Plapp, coached Williamstown Reserves in 2011
Adam Cook returned to the Club in 2011 from the Wodonga Raiders after two seasons
David Stretton in a contest for the ball against Box Hill in round 3
Williamstown played Geelong at Torquay in round 4 on Easter Sunday in 2011
Bulldogs-listed Jayden Schofield takes a big grab against Coburg in round 5
Williamstown were undefeated and on top of the ladder until the round 7 loss at Port Melbourne
Williamstown centreman, Ben Jolley, won the first of his four Gerry Callahan Medals in 2011
Nick Sing takes a strong grab against Casey in the round 9 fixture at Werribee
Bulldog-listed, Will Minson, battles against North Ballarat in round 11 at Keilor, with Dane Rampe on the right
Defender Ben Davies in 2011
Seagulls won the inaugural Foxtel Cup in August, defeating Claremont at Subiaco Oval by 21 points, 9.5.59-5.8.38.
Matty Cravino added another A. Todd Medal & Club reserves best & fairest in 2011
4 time premiership player Frank Sims passed away in March
Long-time trainer and volunteer, Ron 'Hambone' Johnson, passed away in December 2011