VAFA Media Awards “Best Online Feature Story” 2018 – Williamstown CYMS AFC: Into The Ammos!

Great news. 
Smokie Dawson has won the 2018 VAFA media award for “Best online feature story.”
The story was published here at The Footy Almanac.
Congratulations Smokie.

The award (note to VAFA: you seem to have mis-spelled “Smokie”) [click to enlarge]




Published 11 May 2018

Smokie Dawson previews this week’s round of matches for the Williamstown CYMS AFC, and also provides background information about the formation of the club into the “ammos”.



cid:image004.png@01D3DDA8.BBF116E0                St Mary's Salesian











Into The Ammos!


By Darren “Smokie” Dawson


At 5-0 and sitting on top of the C Grade ladder, in terms of the VAFA realm our club is sitting higher than we ever have. It has taken us 35 seasons to get here. This week, I thought it might be important to take a serious look back at how we arrived in the “Ammos”. There is great work being done by our current committee. But plenty of hard work went into ensuring our survival. I hope you enjoy this ride down memory lane.


In August 2012, I interviewed Life Members Peter Buckley, Bruce O’Brien and Dan Henry for this piece:


It is not drawing too long a bow to suggest that the Williamstown CYMS Football Club’s very existence was secured by the club’s decision to join the Victorian Amateur Football Association in the early 1980’s.


The seeds of this move were sewn as far back as 1976, when the CYMS Football Association (CYMSFA) folded. The competition had experienced declining numbers since the mid-60’s, when even Williamstown CYMS departed for four seasons to play in the Footscray District League (FDL). However, the club struggled in this league, and found itself unable to compete with FDL clubs who were paying money to players. This would be a recurring theme in subsequent years. Williamstown CYMS re-entered the CYMSFA in 1969.


Buckley: “The CYMS comp folded as a result of a fight which occurred between South Melbourne and Kensington at Debney’s Paddock. The police were called and fired a gun, and basically read the riot act. Those two sides were suspended, and we (WCYMS) were elevated into the final four. We were knocked out in the first semi, but the competition itself soon folded as a result of turbulence and falling away in numbers. It was an old comp, but no longer had significant administration. We had to find another competition. At the time, I wanted us to join the Amateurs, but it was felt that the travel would be a disincentive to the players, so we joined the West Suburban League (WSFL).”


O’Brien: “They welcomed us with open arms. Except for one club who voted against us.” It is instructive that many of the clubs who made up the WSFL (Williamstown United, Newport East, West Newport, Central Altona etc) are no longer in existence.


Initially the club was successful, winning the flag in 1977; but from that point on, the club’s fortunes began to wane. Buckley: “At the beginning of 1980 there were just total departures, including coach John “Basher” Murphy. Dan Henry was appointed coach. It was a big year, because we opened the current social rooms in April. But early on, it got to the point where the likelihood of fielding one side, let alone two, was looking remote.” After a mini-recruiting drive, including within the supermarkets of Williamstown, the club rustled up enough numbers to field a side. The team did not win a game.


Buckley: “But we remained alive! And that was desperately important. However, it was starting to dawn on us that to remain viable we needed money. Because Newport, West Newport and the two Altona teams all paid money. We were relegated to the second division in 1981, and managed to make the preliminary final. But we were in the second division of a very secondary comp.” Dan Henry made the initial application to join the VAFA at the end of 1982, having swapped roles to become president of the club. O’Brien: “We were going nowhere, in a competition going nowhere. But there was a lot of angst; people were saying they did not want to be a part of a ‘schoolboy’ competition. The players were quite divided.” Committee-man Kevin “Porky” Thompson was to become convinced only after a game against Newport East at Digman Reserve in which young centre half-forward Alan “Oopy” Elliott was being subjected to rough treatment. O’Brien: “That particular game turned opinions. It was a real catalyst.”


The club’s final season in the WSFL was in 1983. Many felt that the comp had become too violent. Indeed, the decision to join the VAFA was vindicated during that final season, after an ugly incident at West Newport in which coach Dennis Twentyman was “questionably” flung into the fence and had his leg broken. Buckley: “We just did not have the blokes with the bodies to withstand it, and nor could we afford to pay them. We were struggling to pay off the rooms.” Henry: “The WSFL clubs were trying to compete with the money in the FDL. It just was not something that could be sustained. Culturally, we have always tried to steer away from that.” So in the end, it was a desire to differentiate the club from others in the local areas which saw the Williamstown CYMS Football Club decide to enter the VAFA. Henry: “It was about going somewhere where we would fit the mould better.” The CY’s were not the only club to depart the WSFL at that time: Werribee Centrals absconded to the GDFL, and Port Colts left for the FDL.


However, gaining admission to the VAFA had not been a mere formality. Kevin Thompson and Dan Henry were the club representatives interviewed at VAFA headquarters as part of the process. They were only mildly surprised to find that fellow Fearon Reserve tenants Williamstown United were being interviewed also. Buckley: “By then, it was starting to become competitive to get into the Amateurs. But they said to us that if we could field an Under-19 side in the 1983 season, they would guarantee our inclusion in 1984.”


The initial foray into the VAFA by the 1983 U/19 team was led by coach Tom Zapadlo. Many of the players were recruited from the now defunct Altona North Brooklyn Youth Club (ANBY). Henry: “We went and had a talk with ANBY, who were about to collapse, and ended up getting a list of players’ names from them.” That tough first season would be a pointer to the vastly different style of football the CYs would need to play if they were to be successful. Buckley: “The standard of the competition caught everybody by surprise!” O’Brien: “The first game was against Fawkner, and our boys got thrashed. The opposition played amateur football, we played western suburbs football, and it just didn’t work.”


Immediately noticeable at pre-season training in early ’84 was the influx of new players. The club had not yet played a match in the VAFA, but already it was looking like the decision to change competitions had breathed new life into the club. Buckley: “The immediate benefits were that the playing personnel improved, with new players such as Mark Dooley, the playing environment improved, and the standard was superior even though we were only in F Grade to begin with.” All of a sudden, it was an attractive club again.


Henry: “If we had not made the move, we would not have survived.”


Thank you to all those former committee-people who have gone before us.


Guru 360




At selection

Four changes this week as we lost Jack Gray to a 2-game suspension (the thug!), Captain Fin Adamson, Sean McVernon and Jake Slee (Reserves). The ins were the returning Jake Mackenzie, Mitch Knight and Dylan Jones (his first senior game at the CYs for some time after stints at St Kevin’s and Spotswood) and a debutant up from the under 19s in Felix Sutter.


What am I most looking forward to?

Felix Sutter making his debut. Given most debutants up from the unders get a few games in a row at senior level, it’s a great time to be coming into the side: the bottom side this week, with the lure of playing in the 1v2 clash next week out at Fitzroy. (And you know we’re getting old when Felix is the boyfriend of Griggy’s eldest daughter!)


Most at stake

Jobbo’s bikes. After coming a cropper last Sunday, breaking his arm and trashing the joint, I think you’ll find his better half Sue has his bikes going cheap on eBay.



The tip

Last week, St Mary’s Salesian were dismantled to the tune of 134 points at Ferndale Park. Clearly unfazed by the smaller ground, the Roys had 58 soring shots for a grand total of 28.30.198 while the Saints kicked 10.4 at the other end. Joel Mattiske and Josh Tanner flew the flag for the Saints, but they were outmatched at every turn and took a percentage hit from 74.77 to 61.43.


Hard to see how St Mary’s can get close to us here and it’s only a matter of how far. The forecast SSW winds might make kicking goals a little trickier, and that’s probably the only way this one stays under 100 points.


Senior team



Other teams

RESERVES VS. ST MARY’S SALESIAN: Our Reserves should bounce back here against the 1-4 St Mary’s. Have dropped off a touch with some injuries and unavailabilities at senior level, but should win this comfortably.

S2 THIRDS VS. MONASH BLUES: A big game for our Thirds as we play the similarly placed 2-3 Monash Blues. An ask to win out at the Uni, but a must win to stay in the four over the shortened season. The CYs by 4-5 goals.

S2 U19S VS. OLD IVANHOE: After last week’s loss to Uni Blues it doesn’t get much easier this week against Old Ivanhoe at Ivanhoe. Should be close. The CYs under 15.5.

S5 U19 COLTS VS. THERRY PENOLA: Therry Penola have a percentage of just 10.09. That’s only marginally better than Trav Beckwith’s career batting average at the IMPS. Our Colts should win this one easily.

D3 SEAGALS VS. DE LA SALLE: Top vs bottom. Think the girls might celebrate this one with a few Sunday shueys.


Did I mention percentage in Premier C?

Posted on Thu 10 May – Latest News, Premier C

By Meg Saultry


0.52% separates top-placed Williamstown CYMS and Fitzroy FC, after the Roys’ Round 5 134-point win almost robbed the CYs of its stronghold on top position.


Fitzroy FC blitzed St Mary’s Salesian at Ferndale Park by kicking 12 goals in the final quarter to secure the largest victory of the season to date. Up by 59 points at halftime, Fitzroy didn’t look to slow down as they continued to pile on the goals, taking out the match 29.24-(198) to 10.4-(64). It was a complete performance by the visitors, linking up seamlessly as it pressed forward to attack, while even contribution among teammates resulted with 10 players kicking two or more goals. Aidan Lambert and Jack Dalton top scored with four goals apiece, with Dalton playing his first senior game this season for the Roys after being elevated from the Reserves. Tom O’Donnell was excellent, while the Clayton twins, Ted and Bill, were also among the top performers. Joel Mattiske was judged the best of the Saints, while Josh Tanner, also among his team’s best, booted two goals for the hosts. Fitzroy FC remains in second position on the ladder, but with a significantly boosted percentage after its win, as the loss causes St Mary’s to drop back to last position. Next round, Fitzroy returns home to Brunswick Oval to host Marcellin OC. St Mary’s also has a looming match-up with competition leaders Williamstown CYMS.


Fearon Park may seem an appropriate name for Williamstown CYMS’ home ground, as the CYs continue to put fear into its opponents with another dominant victory, this week beating Old Geelong by 79 points. First-rate first and fourth quarter efforts book-ended Williamstown’s performance, as it raced to a 32-0 lead at quarter time, before sinking five goals to one in the final term to generate the winning margin. It was Williamstown’s tackle pressure that proved too strong for Old Geelong, chasing down its opponents and forcing Geelong to execute skills ineffectively, while strong marking in the forward line allowed CY to score easily. Williamstown’s Jack Gray, Ben Deller and Nicholas Ebinger all top scored with three goals, with Ebinger excellent for a second week in row, while Ben Connolly was awarded best on ground honours. Old Geelong skipper, Callum Wood, kicked two of Geelong’s four goals, with Josh Hoevenaars gallant in the ruck. CY’s remains in top position for the fifth week in row, while Old Geelong drops from third to fourth after the loss. Old Geelong will return to Como Park in Round 6 looking to rebound against Peninsula, as Williamstown hosts St Mary’s Salesian at Fearon Park.


Old Camberwell utilised its advantage of a home game as it defeated Marcellin OC by 11 points in the tightest match of the round. The Wellers two wins this season have transpired in front of its home supporters at Gordon Barnard Reserve, and could potentially cause future concern for those who travel there. In a match that ebbed and flowed, the Eagles led by the slimmest of margins at the first and third quarter breaks, before Camberwell grinded (5.5 to 3.3) out the win. Nick Latsis, James Allen and Nick Adamson each kicked three goals for the Wellers, with Joe Arnold named best on ground. Marcellin’s Jonathan Bortolotto and Jeremiah Antypas were the Eagles top goal scorers with two goals each, as Ashley Viney played his best game to date this season, judged best afield for the visitors. The win sees Old Camberwell rise up the ladder, jumping two spots to seventh, as Marcellin drops out of the top four into fifth place. Marcellin OC face another tough match-up when they play the undefeated Fiztroy FC at Brunswick Oval this weekend, while Old Camberwell remain at Gordon Barnard Reserve to host the PEGS Football Club.


Old Mentonians notched its second win of the season along with a nice percentage boost after they defeated Peninsula on the weekend by 71 points. Playing away from home, the Panthers took time to settle as Peninsula looked to burn the visitors with its pace across the wing. Tory Taylor (Peninsula’s only multiple goal-scorer) got the Pirates attack firing minutes after the first ball up, sinking a 40-metre set shot, though the Panthers eventually regained control and levelled, before forward Mitchell Coen took a one handed contested mark and went back to boot an excellent goal from outside 50. Minutes later, Coen repeated the effort, as the Panthers raced to a 31 point quarter time lead. It was a dominant third quarter from the Panthers that saw the score leap out to 71 points at the final break, before both teams kicked 2.2 in the final term to keep the margin fixed. Old Mentonians’ Lachlan Boyd bagged another large haul in front of goal, kicking six, in a best on ground performance for the Panthers. Coen, also among the best, finished with four goals, alongside Matthew Hennig (four goals). Thomas Feldgen was best afield for Peninsula. The result causes Old Mentonians and Peninsula to essentially change position with one another on the ladder, with the Panthers moving from eighth to sixth and Peninsula dropping from sixth to eighth. Heading into round six, Old Mentonians continues its stretch on the road, playing Old Ivanhoe at Chelsworth Park. Peninsula will hope to turn its fortunes around after two losses in a row when it faces Old Geelong at Como Park.


PEGS Football Club’s seven unanswered goals in the final quarter caused an up-until-then close contest to extend out to a 40-point win against Old Ivanhoe at PEGS Sporting Field. The Bombers held a slim margin at every break, before a strong conversion rate (7.0) in the fourth term, all while holding Old Ivanhoe goalless, extended the margin. Adrian Romanyk continues his dominance down forward this season, kicking another nine majors, and lengthens his lead in the competition’s leading goal kicker by an even 10 goals. Alongside Romanyk, Tom McConville contributed another handy three goals, while David Fahey again notched another stellar game for the Bombers, among the best for the fourth week in a row. Adrian Del Monte top scored for the Hoers with four goals, while Brandon Lee and Mal Mitris contributed two each. Lee has proved a consistent contributor, slotting three goals in each of his three games this season. Another win moves PEGS Football club up to third position, breaking the top four for the first time this season, while Old Ivanhoe moves down to ninth. The Hoers will host Old Mentonians in Round 6, as the Bombers must travel to face-off against Old Camberwell.




We’ve got 104 for lunch today with Dermott & Kingy. If you find yourself washed out or with time on your hands, get down to the Albert and we’ll happily accommodate you. It’s going to be another great day.



Memberships, in brief:

  • Standard $300 ($200 for regionals)
  • Silver $600 (free entry to the 3 luncheons and a family ticket in the $5,000 Reverse Raffle)
  • Gold $900 (as above, plus company signage)
  • Partner $1,500


You can pay your membership by EFT, cash or cheque, or via the new website. If going the preferred route of EFT, be sure to include something identifiably you (or your company) in the transfer:

Account name: WCYMS Sports Club / Football Club

Bank: Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633000

Account number: 149932055

Under Description, enter the name of your package (e.g. Silver)

Under Remitter, enter your name (or company name)


Thanks to those who have already joined. For the rest of you, jump online and pay now and collect your drink card for this week’s after-match.


Go CYs,


Dene Macleod

Mobile: 0408 534 038

[email protected]




About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Great read Smokie, and very impressed by the club notes, very well done. Did Williamstown United ever make it into the Ammos? How long after that time did they fold, and does any other club now share Fearon Reserve?
    Footy clubs folding is very much part of country life (RIP my beloved club South Purrumbete) but seems reasonably common in the city too?

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Btw very impressed with Williamstown CYMS FC logo, looks great!

  3. Congrats Smokie on the award. I read your piece at the time and got a little lost in the acronyms and old Melbourne connections. I love the context of competing leagues rising and falling, and that this also related to the evolution of footy (from a thug’s game on and off the ground – I wonder who the real men are?). Would love you to spell this all out a little more explicitly some time. What is the hierarchy of non AFL/VFL comps in Melbourne these days? Cheers.

  4. Colin Ritchie says

    Congratulations and well deserved fellow Almanacker!

  5. That’s great news Smoke. Congrats to you and good on the CYs for getting behind your column and giving it a good run. Always a terrific read and we are very pleased to be able to run it on the Almanac site.

  6. Great work Smoke. Congratulations. No doubt you’ll be back with the CYs in 2019. The VAFA is great at putting the hard working people, like yourself, forward.

  7. Well done Smokie. That’s brilliant. I really enjoy your local footy reports along with Luke’s cricket club updates as they remind me of my own experiences. Thanks.

    Regarding the team sheet: would it be more accurate if, certainly at AFL level, these were replaced with all the players listed in 4 point font in a tiny box in the back pocket?

    Look forward to next year’s reports!

  8. Well done, that’s great.

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