Melbourne University Celebrates 30 years of Sean Williams on Field

Melbourne Uni celebrates 30 years of Sean Williams on Field
Melbourne Uni celebrates 30 years of Sean Williams on Field
Image © Melb Uni LC  
 

On Saturday, 15th of June Melb Uni is having their Club Day to honour one of their players who has been playing for the club for the last 30 years.

When: Saturday, 15th of June

Where: Western Oval, Parkville

What: Club Day to celebrate Sean's 30th year playing for MULC

  • All four teams will be playing on our home ground
  • Change of times of our senior games so that everyone can watch the feature game
  • Sean leading our D3 team against SurreyPark
  • There will also be a BBQ on in the afternoon
  • Please join us in the Club rooms after the Division 3 game for some post-match beers

Games On:

  • 11am – U16s Melbourne High School vs Moreland-Eltham
  • 11am – U18s Melbourne High School vs Chadstone-Knox-MCC
  • 1:15pm – Division 1 Melbourne University vs Williamstown
  •  3:15pm – Division 3 Melbourne University vs SurreyPark

MULC Newsletters:

 Melb Uni - Sean Williams, Single

This year marks 30 years since Sean Williams joined MelbourneUniversity Lacrosse Club. We asked Sean to share with us some memories both on and off the field, and the changes in the game and the club over his long and distinguished career. 

The beginning…

Like a lot of us Sean’s introduction to the club came about through a desire to try something new. Sean showed up to the 1983 O-week as a first year student commencing a Computer Science degree. He already played cricket in summer and was keen to find a winter sport. At Club's day in O-week the Lacrosse club had a tent set up, and was running a promotion; 'Throw a Goal - Win a beer', complete with a full sized goal and a goalie. Sean threw the goal, drank the beer, and even came back later to have a go at goal keeping. Sean has no distinct memories of his first game, but soon after signing up MULC was celebrating their 100th anniversary. Part of the festivities involved two men's games, Div 1 and Div 3, being played on the Melbourne Uni football field against Camberwell. Unfortunately Camberwell upset the occasion by winning both games.

Sean remembers his introduction to lacrosse rules being a confusing affair, with differing rules on out-of-bounds from AFL. He took it upon himself to get the rule book and learn the rules thoroughly, and now can give most referees a run for their money in encyclopaedic knowledge of the rules.

A long and distinguished career…

Sean has played in every one of his 30 seasons, and has only missed about 3 games due to injury. In 1998 he was in the role of coach, and due to strong numbers he only played a single game, but other than that he has played the vast majority of scheduled rounds. Over 30 years, with the addition of pre-season friendly games, finals, and intervarsity games, it is estimated that Sean has played approximately 500 lacrosse games for the club.

In 2008 his long playing career and involvement in the club saw the University award him a Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contribution to sport at the University. Sean also won the Craig Russell Trophy (the little known name of our Best and Fairest award) 8 years straight from 1991 to 1998, an incredible accomplishment. Add to this the two years that he was awarded the VLA Division 2 Best and Fairest, and a season where he threw 100 goals, it is hard not to be impressed.

Over 30 seasons Sean has played in 6-7 grand finals for the club. Of these only one resulted in victory; that being the 2006 Division 3 Premiership over Altona, which Sean believes was a major highlight of his career. That year both of Uni's men's teams made the grand final, with the Division 2 side going down to an undefeated Camberwell. Sean also is proud of co-coaching the women's team to a B-Grade premiership in 1994, only 2 years after the Women's team was reformed at the club.

Reflecting on the past…

Back in the 1980s when Sean took up the sport there was nowhere near the range of lacrosse equipment that there is today. Almost all players used Brine L35 gloves, arm guards composed of a single piece of foam, and helmets that are best described as rattly. Plastic sticks had been in for a few years, although the pinched head, skull shaped heads had just been introduced, challenging the dominance of the straight walled V-shaped sticks. Offset heads were still a long way off.

The playing style was similar, though Sean notes that bodying was more prevalent back then. Sean recalls the introduction of the timed clear rule in the early 90s; in an attempt to speed the transitions up and create more attacking to thrill the crowds. Ironically this year saw the eradication of the rule!

Socially, Sean recalls the early 90's as a great time for the club with the reforming of the Women's team, the Women's premiership, and frequent social events on the calendar.

Sean recalls that in 1991 the MULC men's team went undefeated through the season, reaching the grand final as heavy favourites. Unfortunately the entire forward line were absent from the game due to illness or injury, and the side lost, a perfect season escaping them.

Competitively, the early 2000s saw MULC fielding 3 senior teams men's teams, heights which we would love to reach again.

Intervarsity…

Sean recalls the Intervarsity lacrosse exchange with Adelaide university being a week-long trip. MULC players caught the train to Adelaide on a Friday, and over the week played 3-4 games including indoor games. The trip also included excursions to wineries and general tours of historical establishments (pubs) before having a presentation on the Thursday night, and a return train trip on the Friday.

Sean identified a few of the intervarsity traditions that have since faded away to notoriety and legend. These included the awarding of the 'Ron Rattlesnake' award for the most consistently outrageous off field performances, and the fabled Intervarsity Keg. The keg was a 1920's era wooden keg that was called the 'loser's keg' as the losing intervarsity team was required to drink it dry. Where once it was filled with substandard wine to punish the unsuccessful team, Around the start if the 90's its contents devolved into whatever the winning team could find, including chocolate milk, worn socks and underwear. The keg was lost by Adelaide University Lacrosse Club in 1993, perhaps to everyone's benefit.

Another notable intervarsity event was 'Burgermania" which saw each team purchase one of every item on the McDonalds menu, and then race to finish it all. Although the menu was a lot simpler then, a team of 5 could demolish it in a few minutes, with the dreaded thick shakes often proving to be the toughest item to get down, and keep down.

In summary…

Overall Sean has really enjoyed his time at MULC, and ascribes his long service to the club down to believing in the traditions and cultures of the club, and enjoyment gained from playing and socialising with various characters and friends.

 

SATURDAY 15th JUNE – CLUB DAY TO HONOR SEAN’S 30th YEAR PLAYING FOR MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY

Please join us at Western Oval, Parkville, on Saturday 15th of June to honour Sean Williams and celebrate his 30th anniversary playing with Melbourne University Lacrosse Club.

Have old photos of Sean? Have any stories to tell? Please send them through to president@mulax.org for inclusion.

MHS vs. Moreland-Eltham

For more information about the event, contact Nick Anthony on 0402 546 705.        

 

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