AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
3 April 1973 (age 50)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 355d
Last game: 33y 97d
Height and weight
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Collingwood: 37, 10
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 10,191st player to appear, 76th most games played, 187th most goals kickedCollingwood: 924th player to appear, 44th most games played, 26th most goals kickedSydney: 1,308th player to appear, 115th most games played, 85th most goals kicked
Paul Williams, who retired as a player at the end of the 2006 season, enjoyed a fine career with three clubs, highlighted by involvement in an AFL premiership with Sydney in 2005. When the Swans beat West Coast in that year's Grand Final, Williams was playing his 294th senior AFL game, making him the longest-serving player ever to break through for a debut flag.
Originally from North Hobart, Williams impressed as a dynamic, long kicking centreline player and on-baller who was capable of turning a match off his own boot. He was recruited by Collingwood and made his AFL debut as an 18-year-old in 1991. In 10 seasons with the Magpies, he played a total of 189 games and kicked 223 goals, and at his best was widely acknowledged as one of the finest running players in the game, with his ability to kick prodigious distances while moving at full pelt being arguably the most distinctive feature of his play.
After being badly hampered by ankle problems during the mid-'90s, Williams recovered to play some of his best football towards the end of the decade, although at the same time it emerged that he was becoming unsettled with life at Victoria Park. In 2001 he crossed to Sydney where his impact was immediate and considerable; he won consecutive club best and fairest awards in 2001-2 and in 2003 was included in the AFL All Australian team.
However, far and away Williams' most noteworthy achievement was participation in the aforementioned 2005 premiership team. After kicking two vital goals in the Preliminary Final win over St Kilda, Williams produced a typically effervescent, hard running performance on Grand Final day to amass 18 telling disposals and prove a constant thorn in the side of the opposition. Paul Williams went on to play a dozen games in his final season to take his tally at retirement to 306; he booted 307 goals.
Author - John Devaney