VAFA: Williamstown CYMS AFC – Smokie reminisces about times past

I have always been a strong advocate for the benefits of being involved in club sport. My involvement with the CYs, which is now in its 35th year (player, administrator, supporter), has enriched my life, provided laughter and tears and, best of all, introduced to me to life-long friends. The positives have far outweighed the main negative, which as my wife will gladly tell you, has been the amount of time that the club has drained from my life.


Last week, while reminiscing with a friend and reflecting on times past at the CYs, I was asked about the highs and lows and key moments of my time as a CYs person. This week, I thought I would share a few of these moments with you. Well, here goes with the first few, anyway…


  1. Early 1984: Kevin “Porky” Thompson and Bruce O’Brien arrive on my doorstep and convince me to come to Under 19 pre-season training.
  2. September 1984: In its first season in senior football in the VAFA, CYs win the F Grade flag, defeating Preston MBOB at Albert Park. I will never forget the emotions I witnessed that day, which was a vindication of the decision to join the Amateurs and a reward for all the hard work.
  3. The 1986 Centenary Ball at the Williamstown Town Hall. Imagine that, a 100th birthday celebration. The 150th in 2036 is going to be something. I hope I am around to see it! Alas, on field the team was relegated back to F.
  4. Post 1987 season: In a huge coup, Mark “Big Bird” Cannon is recruited to the club from Williamstown via Spotswood. A dominant ruckman, “Birda” would form the backbone of our sides for years to come. Quite simply, he is the greatest player to have played for CYs in the Amateur era. And the stats bear this out.
  5. 1988: Committee-wise, the club is struggling. At the ripe old age of 22, I put my hand up to be the president, thus beginning my off-season involvement. I truly did not know what I was letting myself in for. I am uncertain if I would I do it again…
  6. 1989: In a brilliant example of a forward reinventing himself late in his career, the legendary Alan “Oopy” Elliott wins the best and fairest playing at centre-half-back.
  7. Final round 1989: Paul “Dog” McGowan boots 24 goals against Eltham to take his tally to 102 for the season. Some of the backward passes to him on that day still make me chuckle.
  8. 1989 off-field: To say that the “Club Fearon” was the place to be on a Saturday night would be to undersell the size of the crowds we attracted out the Fearon. In those days, there were no residents in Garden St. And no liquor licence to worry about, despite 100+ kegs sold in six months.
  9. 1990/1991: Despite their dominance, these teams will be unfairly neglected by CYs historians in the years to come. As runners-up, the club rose up two grades in two seasons, but was defeated in heartbreaking fashion in both grand finals. But, mark my words, some of the most exhilarating footy played at the Fearon was seen in these two seasons.


To be continued…


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. The spice of life Smoke. Looking forward to the next instalment.

  2. Phil Hill says

    Great stuff and look forward to the clash of the Titans

  3. Great stuff Smokie community sport nothing like it so much more real and personal

  4. Nice one, Smoke. A lifetime of memories and the classic “give and take” love that community sport brings.

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