From: Elsternwick Amateurs/West Perth/Sale
Premiership Player - 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1964
Grand Final team - 1954, 1958
Team of the Century - half-back flank
Victorian state player - 1957, 1958, 1965 (8 games)
150 Heroes selection
Under 19 Best and Fairest - 1952
Life Member - 1966
MFC Hall of Fame - 2003
Statistical categories led:
Most games before first career goal (95)
A brilliant half-back and athlete - junior high, long and triple jump champion of Victoria - recruited from the amateurs, Williams debuted the next year after winning the Thirds Best and Fairest and finishing second in the Morrish Medal. He had been cleared to the senior side in July of 1952 but had to wait to early 1953 for a first senior game.
Despite his youth, Williams played 16 games in his rookie season, indicating that he was very comfortable at that level. The Demons won just 3 games that season, but by the next year were playing off in a Grand Final.
The rapid rise up the ladder was testament to the policy of Allan La Fontaine and Norm Smith of blooding youngsters in the disastrous 1951 and 1953 seasons. Williams, one of the first attacking half-back flankers, was one of the top finds of the Smith crop of youngsters. 16 others had debuted the same year as Williams, but his second year was something special as he played all 21 games and was already acknowledged as one of the most dashing half-backs in the competition.
Williams was once again ever present in 1955, and this time the Demons got the Grand Final right. He had been one of the major contributors for the year, with his long kicking making many chances for the midfielders and forwards to convert.
In 1956 he missed his first games in two years, a fortnight mid-season, but returned to play in another premiership victory. 1957 was even better with 21 games and, inevitably in that era, another premiership. The next year Williams finished second in the Best and Fairest but the Demons were shocked by Collingwood in the Grand Final.
After a superb 1959 season, Williams was approached by representatives of West Perth shortly before the Grand Final. The Demons hierarchy found out and dropped Williams to the bench. He was so incensed at being left out of the starting 18 that he flew to Western Australia the day after the premiership triumph, signed with West Perth and played in their 1960 premiership team. As an inducement to sign he had been offered a service station.
Williams had been forced to fight for a clearance, with the Demons initially refusing to let him go. At the time he said he was prepared to stand out of football for two or three years rather than play for the club again.
It was only at the fourth application, just weeks before the start of the WAFL season that Melbourne relented. After a slight delay when the VFL refused to approve the move as part of a clearance battle with the Western Australians he was able to make his debut.Reflecting in later years Williams said it was the silliest move he ever made, but at the time he made the best of the change. In 1961 he played in the WA's team that beat Victoria in the state carnival.
By 1963 he was back in Victoria as coach of country side Sale, but decided to have another crack at League football. Although Melbourne officials originally tried to shunt him into a coaching role he returned triumphantly to be part of the 1964 flag side.
At the end of 1965, a year where he returned to the Victorian state side, he was linked with joining Port Melbourne as coach, but played with Melbourne on request of the committee.
Williams was still going strong in 1968 at the age of 32, but a knee injury at the Lake Oval ended his VFL career. He returned later in that year to play for VFA side Prahran, and in coached the South Melbourne Under 19s under his old mentor Norm Smith in 1969 and 1970.
In 2000 Williams was named on the half back flank of the Melbourne Team of the Century. In the 1960s, even when Williams wasn't with Melbourne, his father Clarrie boarded most of the club's interstate and country players at his guest house on Punt Road, Richmond.
Argus - 17/07/1952
Football Record R18 1952
Football Record R1 1953
Age - 28/09/1959
Age - 30/09/1959
Age - 03/10/1959
Age - 02/03/1960
Age - 06/04/1960
Age - 20/04/1960
Age - 21/04/1960
Footy Fan - May 1963
Age - 17/04/1964
Age - 20/11/1965