Skipper Wilson’s Preston pride


For Tom Wilson, Sunday’s game represents an opportunity for more than just the 23 players. (PHOTO CREDIT: Amy Paton)

FOR Tom Wilson, Sunday’s game represents an opportunity for more than just the 23 players.

Whether it’s the volunteers, staff, players who won’t be featuring or past players who previously pulled on the jumper, it means so much more.

From a personal standpoint, Wilson can’t wait to see his first jumper be worn once again — even though he won’t be wearing it.

While he couldn’t deny his tinge of sadness, the injured captain said the overwhelming emotion he was feeling was one of excitement.

“No doubt I’d absolutely love to be playing: I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t going to be a little bit of jealousy towards the 23 that wear it, for lack of a better term,” Wilson said.

“It’s just going to be awesome to see the jumper running around again, however. There are so many great memories of when I first started at the football club.

“I hope that the past players and those at the President’s Luncheon get great enjoyment and satisfaction from seeing it brought to life again.”

Starting out in 2011, Wilson played his first two games in the jumper — including his solitary final against Bendigo.

Coming through with the likes of Bransgrove, Gianfagna, Iacobucci and Saad leading the way, Wilson said their love and passion for the jumper was quick to shine through.

“One thing I learned very quickly is they wore the jumper with pride,” Wilson said.

“Every time they pulled that jumper on, you could tell they pulled it on with the sense that it meant a lot to them. You picked that up pretty quickly.

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“Ahead of Sunday, I’ll try and pass on as much of my knowledge and experience and the things that I learnt from the guys that taught me when I first started. Around the Ants’ Spirit, around the Bullant.

“I know the 23 that wear it on the weekend will wear it with absolute pride.”

Labelling Sunday as a “terrific initiative” in the 156th Battle of Bell Street, Wilson said there was even greater significance given it will come against the traditional local rival.

Wilson said he couldn’t wait to see how it all unfolded, particularly for those he’s gotten to know incredibly well over his nine seasons at the NBFC.

“The short answer is no — I didn’t think we’d see the jumper worn again,” he said.

“For Peter Darcy, Joey Falzon, Danny Lyons, all of our volunteers — to see it come back to life this weekend means so much more than just the 23 that will run out on Sunday.

“It’s about the collective football club, and everyone that has a vested interest in the football club.”

At the Club’s major training session on Wednesday night, Wilson said he could well and truly feel the excitement brewing before a historic day.

“Clearly, the coaches love the Club, as do all the volunteers, as do all the support staff, as do all the people that are connected to it,” he said.

“I hope that love is evident on Sunday when the boys play, when the great past players rock up and see them run around again.

“I think it’s going to be something pretty special and I hope it’s topped off with a great win.”