Community feel is aim for new boss
AUSSIE RULES: AFL Capricornia has a new president Paul Wilson and he spoke with The Observer sports editor Nick Kossatch about his job.
What are you hoping to provide to AFL Capricornia?
A lot, so maybe a couple of things here. First and foremost, I want to look after our people as best I can - they are the most important part of what we do. I want to make sure that we are having fun and doing so in a positive environment where we want to be and where others want to come to and feel welcome. I also want to increase our involvement in our community. Our people already give a lot of time to their football and we need to be careful to not always ask the same people to do more, but include others who would like to help where they can. I also want to show our business community how they can benefit by investing in our game.
What brings you to Queensland to Rockhampton and Gladstone?
My work. I was working for Suncorp in Brisbane and took a move with my family to Gladstone in 2002 with Suncorp. A year later we were in Rocky and I am now in my third year with Bendigo Bank. My youngest boy Lachlan decided he wanted to play footy with his mate and ended up at the Panthers club two seasons ago. He will run out for Panthers this year in under-11's and is playing AFL for his school this year.
How did you get involved in AFL and where?
We lived in Sydney when I was very young and my dad was a school teacher and I played rugby union and followed Roosters rugby league as we lived in the area and didn't know Aussie Rules existed. My dad was transferred to Albury with his work and it was a lonely place for a nine-year-old who lived and breathed rugby. There was one kid in the whole town who was into rugby league apart from me. It helped that my mother's family were Victorian and it didn't take long to have a trip to Melbourne to visit mum's cousin who I knew was going to take me to see my first game of footy. It turned out that she was a mad keen Carlton fan, they beat the Demons that day by heaps and that was it - I have been a Blues fan ever since. Alex Jesulenko was my favourite Carlton player as a kid but Stephen Kernahan was a long-time Carlton captain and easily my favourite Carlton player overall.
Did you play?
I played soccer on weekends in Albury with a local club and Aussie rules for school - half forward as I had a decent kick on me. We left Albury when I was 14 and went to the NSW north coast. Aussie rules was non-existent, so I kept an interest in my beloved Blues but that was about it.
Women's footy has grown lots and has generated interest locally and how will you apply your input to it's growth?
I have had the pleasure of meeting some of our female players during my club visits so far and love their passion for their sport. The Suns will have an team in the AFLW competition in 2020 and I am looking forward to having them spend as much time with our players as possible. I am already looking into ways we can increase women's participation in our sport.
Great to have Rocky/Gladstone to host perhaps a pre-season AFL or AFLW trial match and even games for premiership points?
I would love that, who wouldn't? As we are in the Suns' catchment area, we would need to work with them on that. I would say a long term project at this point.