AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
17 July 1953 (age 69)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 274d
Last game: 31y 54d
Height and weight
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 70 kg
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AFL: 8,359th player to appear, 180th most games played, 78th most goals kickedFitzroy: 891st player to appear, 3rd most games played, 3rd most goals kicked
Despite being thought too frail for league football by some people, Fitzroy's Garry 'Flea' Wilson proved himself one of the most brilliant rovers of his era¹. Between 1971 and 1984 he played a total of 268 VFL games, frequently displaying courage and persistence above and beyond the call of duty. In 1977, for example, he sustained a badly fractured jaw, and doctors wrote him off for the season, but within weeks he was back playing as though nothing had happened.
Regularly among the favourites to land the Brownlow Medal, Wilson's best season was 1979 when he finished just one vote shy of the winner, Collingwood's Peter Moore. He also came a close third in 1978 behind Malcolm Blight and Peter Knights. His importance to Fitzroy was amply illustrated by his feat in winning no fewer than five club best-and-fairest awards. He also topped the club's goal kicking list on two occasions. From 1982-84 he fulfilled a long term ambition by emulating his hero, Kevin Murray, with whom he had played at the outset of his career, and captaining the Lions:
"I remember running onto the ground near Kevin and it really made an impression on me. He looked and acted the way a captain should and it felt good to be around him. It gave me confidence. That's how I want the young Fitzroy players to feel around me."²
Some of Garry Wilson's finest performances came in the interstate arena. He represented either the VFL or Victoria 12 times, and he won consecutive All Australian blazers in 1979 and 1980.
Author - John Devaney
1. Wilson stood 179cm tall and had a usual playing weight of 70kg.
2. Hutton's 1981 Footy Book by Jim Main, page 10.