Career : 1959 - 1962
Debut : Round 1, 1959 vs Essendon, aged 19 years, 4 days
Carlton Player No. 724
Games : 25
Goals : 12
Last Game : Round 8, 1962 vs St Kilda, aged 22 years, 56 days
Guernsey No. 31
Height : 185 cm (6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight : 85 kg (13 stone, 5 lbs.)
DOB : April 13, 1940
John Anthony Williams played his first senior game for Carlton against Essendon in the opening round of 1959, only a few days after his 19th birthday. A local youngster who had started out at Brunswick YCW and Princes Hill before working his way through the Under 19 and Reserves teams at Princes Park, he was a well-built follower-forward who wore guernsey number 31 throughout his four-year career with the Blues.
Coincidently, John was joined on debut by Bruce Williams, a nippy rover from Morwell who shared the family name but wasn’t a close relative. John lined up at centre half-forward against the Bombers, with Bruce beside him on the flank. The Blues skipped away top a good lead early, and kept their visitors at bay to win by 14 points. Sergio Silvagni was a star at full-forward with five majors for Carlton that afternoon, while John added to the joy by kicking his first career goal.
That was to be Williams’ only senior match in ’59, but in 1960 he was given more opportunities and kicked 11 goals in 12 matches. Often used as a ruck-rover, resting in a forward pocket, he played some handy cameo roles – such as when he steered through a personal best three goals in Carlton’s loss to Melbourne in round 11.
Early in his third season, Carlton’s match committee switched John to defence, and he began all of his next 10 matches behind the centre. By late in the year however, he was being squeezed out of the starting 18 and onto the reserves bench. In 1962 he managed just two more games, before eventually being delisted at year's end.
Twenty-one years after his last VFL match, John’s son Mark Patrick Williams surely filled his dad with pride when he took to the field against Footscray in the first of his 19 senior games for the Navy Blues. Also aged 19 on debut, Mark was destined to switch to the Bulldogs in 1989, before launching a successful coaching career at VFL and AFL level.