DOB: 30 September 1961
From: Braybrook/Footscray/North Melbourne
Number: 7 (1982-1990)
Games: 154 (209 total)
Goals: 208 (246 total)
Wilson joined Footscray from the Braybrook Under 15's and played his first games for Footscray as a 16-year-old. He played nine games over two seasons before leaving to join North Melbourne in 1980 when coach Royce Hart said he would spend the year in the Under 19s.
After losing 15kg he embarked on a first season with North that he later ranked as equal to or better than his Brownlow season, but the lifelong North fan had a disappointing 1981 and was discarded by the Roos despite finishing third in their Best and Fairest. He and Steven Icke were sold to Melbourne to raise money to buy the Krakoeur brothers.
Crossing to the Demons in 1982 he won the Brownlow Medal in his first season with Melbourne, and at 20 was the youngest player to win the award since Bob Skilton in 1959. In a season where he averaged 28 touches a game and earnt seven best on ground nods Wilson stormed to the award with a five vote win over his old teammate Ross Glendinning.
Though he never hit the heights of his Brownlow winning season again, Wilson was one of his sides most exciting players. 39 goals in 1983 (including a career high seven in round 3 against Sydney) and a team leading 40 in 1985 came on either side of an injury destroyed 1984. In a practice match against North Melbourne he broke his arm badly sliding into the MCG fence and didn't play until round 16 that year. He had offers from other clubs at the end of 1985 but chose to stay at Melbourne.
After his broken arm, he suffered a number of other injuries over the next two seasons - including a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder, pulled hamstring and strained knee. He embarked on a fitness campaign before the 1987 season, and came back to be one of Melbourne's best in their exciting rise to the finals. He polled 12 Brownlow Votes to finish equal 10th but suffered more injuries towards the end of the year. A twisted ankle in the Round 22 win over Footscray caused him to miss the Elimination Final, then he sat out most of the Semi Final a week later after a knock to the face gave him blurred vision. He recovered to play in the Preliminary Final but suffered a broken collarbone which would have kept him out of the Grand Final even if the Demons had made it.
He hinted at retirement midway through 1989, but played on. He retired for the first time at the end of 1990 after suffering a severe hamstring rupture in Round 21, but was coaxed into a season with St Kilda in 1991. The Saints drafted Wilson without him nominating for the draft, and convinced him to join them. He played just seven games in 1991, but one of them was a six goal matchwinner against the Dees. He suggested he might have stayed in the game had the Demons tried to talk him out of retirement as stridently as the Saints, but coach John Northey said "He's retired every year since I've been here. Leave me out of that one".
Retired again from the Saints halfway through '91, Wilson made a late season comeback with Heidelberg in the Diamond Valley League then coached them for a season.
|Round 8, 1987||Rough Conduct||Not Guilty|
|Round 12, 1987||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 18, 1989||Striking||Not Guilty|