Season Summary: 1970
The club began the decade back in the top flight of VFA football after a dominant 1969 campaign which saw them rise as Division Two premiers. Fans and the club alike were looking forward to a prolific season which would see Williamstown rise as one of the strongest clubs in the country again.
After success in the previous season, Williamstown's list remained much the same with a few handy inclusions such as full-back Alan Byers from North Adelaide and 19yo, 6'5" ruckman John Fanning, who crossed over from Essendon in June, but captain/coach Max Papley was of the opinion that it was the players believing in themselves which was the overriding factor in his team's ability to turn the Club around. With tremendous support from ruckman Ken Barnes as vice-captain and experienced full-back Tom Russell as deputy vice-captain the club put in another fantastic season, winning the opening five games, including a six-goal victory over eventual premier Prahran, to head the ladder. Losses to Dandenong and Port Melbourne broke the run and precipitated a mid-season slump that saw the Seagulls slide down to sixth spot on the ladder after losing at Geelong West in round 11. They lost only one more home-and-away game to finish with 13 wins out of their 18 games, getting all the way to the grand final before being defeated by Prahran to the tune of 50 points. Big wins were recorded in round 2 against Geelong West by 73 points (Papley 8 goals), against Oakleigh in round 10 by 58 points (Dallas Patterson 6 goals), against Waverley in round 13 by 41 points (Patterson 10 goals), and against Sandringham in round 18 also by 41 points (Jackman and Papley 5 goals each).
After finishing second on the ladder, the second semi-final was played against Prahran at the Junction Oval before a crowd of 10,000 and the 'Town went down narrowly 10.15.75 to 9.15.69 (Jackman 3 goals). The preliminary final at the same venue resulted in a big win against Waverley, 22.22.154 to 7.9.51 (Patterson 10 goals), which set up a rematch against Prahran in the Grand Final. The Two Blues under captain coach Kevin Rose were too good on the day and won 17.18.120 to Williamstown's 10.10.70 after the Seagulls were down by 76 points at three-quarter time. The crowd at the Junction Oval was 22,000.
Williamstown's 1970 Grand Final side was:
B. Ian Johnson Alan Byers Terry O'Mara
HB. Graham Hemley Ron Page Brian Harvey
C. Robert Percy
HF. Robert Smith Bob Lane David Stark
F. John Van Liempd Dallas Patterson Paul Hayward
Foll. John Fanning Max Papley
Rov. Kevin Jackman
Res. Les Meyers Lindsay Edgerton
Coach: Max Papley
In the short history of the VFA's divisional system, Williamstown became the first club to be promoted from the second division and then in the following season, compete in the division one grand final. Under Max Papley over the three seasons since 1968 the Seagulls had recorded 51 victories from 62 matches at the incredible average of more than 82%, or four wins from every five games played. The Club's Reserves finished third for the year whilst the under 16 team under first-year coach John Raffles finished runners-up to Altona in their competition. Jim Hynes took out the Fourth's (under 16's) best and fairest for the Club and also the Western Suburbs League award. Kevin Jackman, whose fine season included finishing runner-up to Yarraville's Fred Cook in the Liston Trophy, won the Club's best and fairest award from Brian Harvey and Alan Byers. Dallas Patterson kicked 72 goals to finish second on the VFA list. Garry Fitch won the Reserves best and fairest, and Philip Humphries took out the Thirds award. Long-serving Reserves captain-coach Jocka Mellis retired after the completion of the season.
The Club medical officer, Dr. L. Joel completed 40 years of service in 1970 since commencing in that role in 1931 and the legendary Kelly Brent became head trainer while Bob Major was absent overseas. The Gulls supporter group was established in 1970 with a total of 36 members, and its initial office bearers being Arthur Kilpatrick (president), Ron Callander (secretary) and Fred Holdsworth (treasurer).
Long-serving (17 years) President of the Ladies Committee and life member, Mrs Elsie Flett, grandmother of Les Twentyman, passed away during the year. Life memberships were awarded to Bill Dooley, Bert Hodge and Des Hosking at the 1970 annual general meeting.
1970 President Arthur Johnson. Born in July 1891, he was President of the Club from 1958-1965 and again from 1969-1972. He also served as a Vice-President in 1956 and 1957 and again in 1966, before becoming Senior Vice-President in 1967 and 1968. He was also Secretary of the Club in 1922 and 1923. He passed away in 1986 at the age of 94.
The visit to Williamstown by the then-Governor was in 1954, not 1956, and Jack Carter was a Vice-President. Harold Hosking was President in 1954.
Williamstown played at Oakleigh in the first game back in Division One, with the Seagulls winning 19.15.129 to 14.14.98
The three premiership flags from 1969 unfurled at the opening home game of 1970 v. Geelong West on April 26
Ron Page stands over a Geelong West opponent in the season-opener at Williamstown, 1970
Round 2, 1970, Williamstown 21.20.146 defeated Geelong West 10.13.73, Max Papley kicked 8 goals
Williamstown won the round 5 fixture at Pt Gellibrand against eventual premier, Prahran, 15.16.106 to 10.11.71
Future captain-coach, John Fanning, made his debut at Sandringham in the round 9 defeat
Round 9, 1970, Williamstown lost to Sandringham, 15.13.103 to 13.10.88, the 3rd defeat for the season
Round 13, 1970, Williamstown 22.10.142 defeated Waverley 13.23.101, with Dallas Patterson kicking 10 goals
Advertisement leading up to the round 15 clash between 3rd-placed Dandenong & 4th-placed Williamstown
Photos from the round 15 clash at Williamstown, which the Seagulls won by 5 points, 13.11.89 to 12.12.84
Defender Graham Hemley at Port Melbourne in the round 16 clash, behind him is full back Alan Byers.
Photos from the round 16 clash at Port Melbourne, which Williamstown won 13.17.95 to 11.16.82
Dallas Patterson in pursuit of Kevin Rose 1970 GF