Team of the century
By Mick Gallus
Collingwood President and Channel Nine media personality Eddie
McGuire hosted a gala evening, which saw nearly 1000 guests turn
out at Melbourne's Crown Casino for the announcement of Williamstown's
Team of the Century. The Premier Steve Bracks joined fellow dignitaries
such as Dawn Fraser to watch as the Seagulls narrowed its list of
nominees from one hundred to twenty five.
Non-voting chairman and Williamstown General Manager Brendan Curry
who had the mammoth task of organising the event was especially
pleased with the ability of the club to find nearly all of the nominees.
"There were 100 players nominated and we were able to contact
98 of the living ones or their next of kin."
Whilst it was a great fund raising night for the club the ability
to generate goodwill and spirit within was of far more importance.
Brendan found this also to be his highlight of the evening, "A
lot of former players gained a sense of belonging throughout the
night. The club will get a lot of benefit out of that in re-igniting
everyone's passion for the Williamstown Football Club.
Williamstown's Co-Captain and nominee for the Team of the Century
Full back position Troy West agrees " The highlight for me
was the big reunion with everyone, catching up with guys who I played
with over my ten years at the club. It was a great night also in
gaining a real sense of the tradition of the Williamstown Football
Club. It was inspiring to hear about the "Invincibles"
which was the Williamstown team which dominated in the 50s to the
extent that they won five premierships in six years."
On his own nomination Troy commented how proud he was by being
grouped amongst fellow nominees, which included Ron Todd, Barry
Round, Mark Fotheringham and Max Papley. "I was overjoyed to
be nominated not just as a full back but to join the 99 other names
that were included on that list of the possible Williamstown Team
of the Century, just to be included in that list was a real acknowledgement."
Troy agreed that Max Munday was a worthy winner as the Full Back
in the Williamstown Team of the Century. Even though he had never
seen him play Troy had often heard Max been talked about around
the club. "The Ex-head trainer of Williamstown Kelly Bradson,
who was head trainer for forty three years always spoke highly of
Max in regard to his toughness and tenacity."
The selection of the coveted full forward position was always going
to be difficult and create controversy no matter who was selected.
Mark Fotheringham who kicked three consecutive tons from 1983-1985
gained selection from a plethora of stars which included Ron Todd,
Harry "Soapy" Vallence, Ian Rickman and Danny Del-Re.
Non-Voting chairman Brendan Curry explains the committee's selection
of Mark, "Once the selection committee decided that Ron Todd
was going to be the centre half forward then the two main stand
outs at Full Forward were Mark Fotheringham and Harry Vallence.
The nod was given to Fotheringham because he played a lot longer
and his goals per game were of a higher average." Mark Fotheringham
Kicked 571 goals for the club at an amazingly high average of 5.65
goals per game and was the club's most accurate kick for goal. Former
Coburg legend and VFL commentator Phil Cleary who played against
Mark commented, " He just never missed."
1989 J.J. Liston medallist Saade Ghazi was nominated in the forward
pocket position alongside former Williamstown legends Lindsay Cahill,
Mark Cross, Ron James and Alby Linton. The man who was as famous
for his afro as he was for his cunning around goals was thrilled
to be nominated . Saade remarked "I was rapt to be nominated
due to the calibre of all the other players also named. I was hoping
to be selected but you never think you will be picked in the twenty
four. When the award was read out and Saade gained selection he
found it hard to believe he was the winner. "I was flabbergasted,
excited and extremely proud, as well as being relieved, as my fellow
table guests in Del Re and Shanksy were putting a lot of pressure
on me to win."
A fantastic evening has had by all and we look for to Springvale
and Port Melbourne as they get ready also to name their teams of
the centuries. The ability for all players and officials to gather
and remise ensures that the legends of the game will stay alive
long past their date of retirement and this is extremely important
for the survival of our great game.
WILLI'S TEAM OF THE CENTURY
B: Eric Beitzel - Max Munday - John Ramsay*
HB: Brett McTaggert - Gerry Callahan - Colin Wilcox*
C: Jim Caldwell - Max Papley - John Martin
HF: Ray Smith - Ron Todd* - Ian Rickman
FF: Harry Simpson - Mark Fotheringham - Saade Ghazi
R: Barry Round - Eric Glass* - Alby Linton
Inter: Reg Harley, Bob Jones*, Len Kent, Kim Kershaw,
Tony Pastore, Tom Russell
Coach: Wally Carter*