Mark Melville Williams
21 August 1958 (age 64)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 219d
Last game: 31y 293d
Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Hall of fame
South Australian Football Hall Of Fame, Inducted 2003
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|Port Adelaide||SANFL||1979-1980, 1990-1992||115||104||0.90||—||—||—||—||—|
AFL: 9,228th player to appear, 621st most games played, 302nd most goals kickedCollingwood: 814th player to appear, 122nd most games played, 36th most goals kickedBrisbane: 20th player to appear, 89th most games played, 50th most goals kicked
Prior to his accomplishments as coach of Port Adelaide in the AFL Mark Williams enjoyed a rich and varied career as a player with four different clubs. He began at West Adelaide under the coaching of his father Fos in 1976. After 64 games there he made the perhaps inevitable transfer to Port Adelaide in time to star in the centre in the club's 31-point defeat of South Adelaide in the 1979 SANFL grand final. In the following season's premiership decider Williams was similarly impressive, again in the pivot, in assisting the Magpies to a hard fought 18-point victory over Norwood.
Scarcely what you would call elegant in his approach, with one of the most ungainly kicking styles imaginable, Mark Williams pre-eminently demonstrated that such factors count for nothing when it comes to playing effective, match-winning football.
The 1981 season saw Williams on the move to Collingwood, where he was an immediate success, helping the club reach a Grand Final, representing Victoria, and winning the first of two Copeland Trophies for the Victorian Magpies' best and fairest. In all, he played a total of 135 games in six seasons with Collingwood, captaining them from 1983 to 1986. An unfortunate contract dispute at the end of the 1986 season saw Williams reluctantly make the move north to join the fledgling Brisbane Bears, but any initial uncertainty soon dissolved as he put in a series of high quality, influential performances for the newcomers.
Midway through the 1990 season, after 66 games for the Bears, and 201 in all in the VFL, Mark Williams 'retired' - or, at least, that was how the Melbourne media described it. In actual fact, he had returned home to help Port Adelaide to another SANFL premiership, a feat which was repeated two years later, following which Williams genuinely did retire.
Having served a coaching apprenticeship with Glenelg (the team against which he had contributed to two premiership wins as a player) and as assistant to, first, Kevin Sheedy at Essendon, and then John Cahill at Port Adelaide, Mark Williams took on the Port Adelaide senior job full time in 1999, and in September 2004 piloted the club to its first ever AFL premiership. As a result of this, and his numerous other accomplishments, a prominent place in football's roll of honour seems assured. In 2012, Williams was senior assistant coach to Kevin Sheedy in Greater Western Sydney's inaugural AFL season, before moving on to become an assistant coach at Richmond. More recently, in 2018 he took up the coaching reins at VFL club Werribee.
Author - John Devaney