29-year-old debuts for Bulldogs

By Peter Argent

Journeyman Josh Wilson’s endeavours to break into SANFL league football as a mature aged player we finally achieved in the round 21 match against South Adelaide at Noarlunga, in marquee club, Central District’s 49-point win over the Panthers.
“It was certainly a serviceable first up effort,” seven-time Doggies premiership coach Roy Laird said.
“He actually surprised me a bit and didn’t look out of place at this level.
“Josh got his hand to a lot of balls.
“He’s a strong bloke and used his strength in the contest.
“Later in the game he pushed forward and kicked a goal for us as well.”  
Bulldogs historian Robert Laidlaw said Josh Wilson is believed to be the oldest pure rookie for Central District at 29.
“In 2000, Will James made his debut against Norwood at Elizabeth on April 8, 2000,” Laidlaw continued.
“He was born June 21, 1971, making him just over two months short of his 29th birthday.
“Unless there was someone in the 1960s who we do not know the birth date of, Wilson is the oldest rookie with the Bulldogs.
Wilsons’ apprenticeship in our code has been long and varied, taking him too many parts of our nation.
 Through a text message from 2010 Central District premiership player James Boyd he is now at the Ponderosa.
“Yes, it’s certainly been a journey,” Wilson said
“I started at West Gambier, playing a half a season of senior football while I was still in under 18s and then two full seasons of A grade after that.
“It was a tough initiation, as we were pretty much smashed most weeks.
“The opportunity the Bulldogs have given me is great, as I always wanted to have a crack at league football.
“Previously work commitments and university study have always seemed to get in the way when opportunities pooped up.”
Wilson is a strong built and athletic 197cm, 103 kg big man.
After his time in the South East, Wilson moved up to Port Douglas and played in the Cairns Football League for three seasons from 2003. During this period he also would spend the off season playing with Wanderers in Darwin’s Northern Territory Football League (NTFL).
During this period he played a trial with the Perth Demons, but decided to spend the next couple of years with the Shepparton Swans in Victoria highly credentialed Goulbourn Valley competition.
He also had a winter with Congupna in the Murray League, before returning to SA and spending the last three seasons with Yankalilla in the Great Southern Football League, south of Adelaide, where he collected the clubs best and fairest last year.
On top of that during the 2011-12 NTFL season Wilson played under Russell Jeffery as a fly-in footballer for the Palmerston Magpies.
“Playing at Central District has been the best experience of my football life so far,” Wilson continued.
“They are a very professional club and always trying to extract the best out of the players.”
The Bulldogs has previous plucked a ruckman out of country ranks, Jason Sutherland, who was a part of the 2010 premiership team in his eighth league game, after also playing in a premiership with Berri the same year.
The oldest player to debut at SANFL level is believed to be Freeling’s Michael Haseldine at North Adelaide in the mid 2000s, during Andrew Jarman’s reign as coach at Prospect. He was 31.

 Wilson at the Quarter Time Huddle
 ...And singing the song after the game!

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