From the Star Weekly websitehttp://www.starweekly.com.au/sports/williamstown-with-work-fresh-faces/
NICK EBINGER. PICTURE DAMJAN JANEVSKI.
A changing of the guard has led to some uncertainty at the selection table for Williamstown ahead of the Victorian Football League season.
The Seagulls lost a number of well-known names over the summer and will be turning to youth to pick up the baton.
Seagulls coach Andrew Collins admits there will be a little bit more of the unknown than usual entering this season.
“I’m learning a lot about the new group,” Collins said.
“We’re a vastly different team to what we were last year.
“Now we start all over again and build our synergy together.”
This has been one of the most important practice match periods for Williamstown because of the uncertainty surrounding selection for round one.
In years past, you could have had a fair idea what most of the Seagulls’ team would look like for their season opener, but this year there are plenty of spots up for grabs and players to be auditioned.
Leaders Ben Jolley and Peter Faulks departed Williamstown in the off season.
Jolley will come face-to-face with his former Seagulls teammates when his new side Port Melbourne ventures to the newly named Downer Oval in Williamstown for the season opener under new lights on April 6.
Faulks has moved to the country to play with Echuca.
Four Williamstown players hit the big time, making it on to AFL lists.
Michael Gibbons (Carlton) and Lachie Schultz (Fremantle) made their AFL debuts at the weekend, while Brett Bewley (Fremantle) and Ben Cavarra (Western Bulldogs) could get their opportunities soon.
Other senior players to depart the Seagulls were Lachlan George, Daylan Kempster, Jordan Jones and Ben Bese.
Collins praised the outgoing players, in particular Jolley and Faulks, for playing a huge role in sending the Seagulls into the right direction.
“We thank them for setting a platform of what the culture is today,” he said.
This pre-season is all about the future for Williamstown.
The Seagulls have lost two of their three practice matches so far, including a 22-point defeat away to Sandringham on Saturday, but it has allowed Collins to compile notes on his new players and assess the readiness of individuals in the system to take over.
Collins will get his final look at the candidates when Williamstown makes the short trip to play against Footscray in a practice match at the Whitten Oval on Saturday at 1pm.
“We’ll still take a fairly large squad into the Footscray game because we’re open-minded about what that round one team will look like,” Collins said.
“We’ll keep Port Melbourne guessing for round one, but we’re keeping ourselves guessing as well because there’s a lot of talent in our group, but we’re still unsure what our best line-up is.”
Williamstown will hold its annual family day and jumper presentation this Sunday at Bayside College from 11am.
“We’re doing our family day in conjunction with the registration and family day of Williamstown CYMS footy club,” Collins said.