Williamstown vs Geelong West (1983 VFA season)

On 23 July 1983, an Australian rules football match was played between Williamstown and Geelong West at the Williamstown Cricket Ground. The match was in round 14 of the Victorian Football Association's thirds division, which operated as an under-18 competition. The match saw the highest ever score in Australian rules football, in any league and at any grade, with Williamstown winning by 675 points.

1983 VFA season


Williamstown


Geelong West
110.27 (687) 2.0 (12)
1 2 3 4
WILL 15.9 (99) 44.17 (281) 76.20 (476) 110.27 (687)
GW 1.0 (6) 1.0 (6) 2.0 (12) 2.0 (12)
Date23 July 1983
StadiumWilliamstown Cricket Ground

Background edit

In 1983, the VFA reduced the age eligibility of the thirds competition, changing it from an under-19 competition to an under-18 competition. Away games were also a particular problem for many clubs, as the younger-aged players generally preferred to play in local junior competitions than travel the often long distances to play an Association away game, particularly as none were old enough to hold driver's licences.[1]

No club was worse affected by the changes to the competition than Geelong West, whose travelling distances for away games exceeded those of any other club. It seldom attracted more than fifteen players to training, and forfeited two games early in the 1983 season simply through lack of players.[2]

Match summary edit

Only twelve Geelong West players took the field – one fewer and it would have been forced to forfeit. Under the thirds rules at the time, there were sixteen players per team on the ground at a time. Williamstown had seventeen players on the day, including one on the bench.[3]

Williamstown's Stephen Cooke dominated the match, with 46 goals out of 54 scoring shots, along with a total of 30 marks. Cooke was later quoted as saying that the Geelong West side – who had already had four players suffer injuries in the first half – "had to be coaxed out at half time".[4]

All 17 Williamstown players scored at least one goal.[3]

Scoreboard edit

1983 VFA season
Saturday, 23 July (2:05 pm) Williamstown v Geelong West Williamstown Cricket Ground
15.9 (99)
44.17 (281)
76.20 (476)
 110.27 (687)
Q1
Q2
Q3
 Final
1.0 (6)
1.0 (6)
2.0 (12)
 2.0 (12)
S. Cooke 46, P. Brook 12, G. Bunting 10, S. Lucas 10, P. Stewart 5, R. Arandez 5, D. Doria 4, M. Hobbs 4, S. Neenan 3, J. Selvidge 2, D. Temby 2, R. McLaughlin 2, R. Andres, G. Chamberlain, D. Harrison, D. Hickey, A. Teagle. Goals

Aftermath edit

Williamstown's score of 687 remains the highest in Australian rules football, in any league and at any grade.[5] Geelong West fared little better the previous week, conceding 88.23 (551) against Coburg.[6] Following these two losses, Geelong West withdrew its thirds team for the rest of the season.[2]

The VFA's two-division format for the thirds competition was abandoned in 1984, in response to this game and a general trend of increasingly heavy losses being suffered by teams like Geelong West who were in the first division on senior performance but had structurally weak thirds teams. Under the new format, which ran in 1984 and 1985, the thirds played initially as one large division, which was divided into small groups based on performance during the year.[7][8]

Only one Williamstown player who took part in this match, Philip Brook, went on to play for the club's senior side.[3]

References edit

  1. ^ Fiddian, Marc (1984-04-07). "Coach calls it a day, with regrets". The Age. Melbourne. p. 39.
  2. ^ a b Toulmin, Lindsay (1983-07-27). "West withdraws its under 19 side". Geelong Advertiser. p. 22.
  3. ^ a b c "Williamstown's monstrous world record score". Williamstown Football Club. 2023-09-27. Retrieved 2023-09-27.
  4. ^ Toulmin, Lindsay (1983-07-25). "'Too fast' West grabs second spot". Geelong Advertiser. p. 16.
  5. ^ Hothersall, James (2006-01-28). "The *most* – the all-embracing". Footystats. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
  6. ^ Fiddian, Marc (1983-07-18). "Preston takes over". The Age. Melbourne. p. 25.
  7. ^ Martin, Peter (1983-07-27). "VFA plan to even up comp". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 71.
  8. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2004), The VFA: a history of the Victorian Football Association, 1877–1995, p. 302