By JEFF STEPHENSON
REDLAND’S dual Dowling Medallist and two-time NEAFL Team of the Year full-back, Adrian Williams, will achieve another major milestone when he plays his 100th match for the Bombers against Southport at Scottsdale Park on Sunday.
The former Tasmanian has been in red hot form the last few seasons after having been plagued by shoulder and ankle injuries early in his career.
But he has had an uninterrupted run since the start of the 2017 season and is welcoming the chance to join the club’s 100-club.
“It’s been a long time coming and I’m looking forward to enjoying the day,” Willo said.
“It’ll be pretty exciting,” the affable defender declared.
Between 2010, when Willo first played for the Bombers and 2016, he reckons he averaged 10 to 12 games a year with injuries and “a couple of silly suspensions” hindering his progress towards the magical number.
It’s been a different story these last couple of years.
“I think I’ve probably put together more than 50 games in a row the last two-and-a-bit years,” he said.
Being voted as NEAFL Team of the Year full back in 2017 and again last year is an obvious testament to the former North Hobart defender’s ability.
Willo hasn’t always been anchored in the key defensive post – it’s just that he invariably finds himself ending up there.
He was tried forward at his former Tasmanian club before switching to defence, had the same thing happen when he had a season with Aspley in 2009 and even when deciding on Redland as his “home” the next year he played forward before again going to the backline.
Not that he was entirely unsuccessful in attack.
He well remembers the day when representing the Queensland Under 21s in Melbourne when former Aspley coach John Blair moved him forward and Willo had five goals to his name before half-time.
“That was it though. I had a calf injury and couldn’t play the second half.”
So, it’s at full-back where he has cemented himself as an elite player at Redland and in the NEAFL.
He’s played on some wonderful players over his time.
“I can remember Morningside’s Kent Abey (Morningside’s games record-holder) showing me every inch of our ground one day.
“I chased him all day.
“Clay Cameron touched me up when he was at the Gold Coast a few years back and kicked five on me.
“You don’t forget those.
“But I’ve played on so many really good players over the journey and they all bring something different to the table.”
The 29-year-old strong-marking, big tackling defender is very rarely beaten in one-on-one contests.
It’s his strength and judgment and highly efficient use of the football that has made him the standout player he has become.
While the Bombers have not been as successful as we would have liked over the NEAFL journey there’s nothing that can diminish Willo’s love of the club.
“Without doubt it’s a great footy club and the people in it – the players and officials – and those around it make it so enjoyable to be playing here.”
“We said it last year and we can say it again there are games we’ve let slip.
“I reckon at the least we should be 3-3. We’ve got to knuckle down and the wins will start coming.
“A win this week against Southport would be a good way to get us going again.”
Willo with wife Vicki run a recruitment agency for domestic cleaning called Absolute Domestics with branches in New Zealand and now in Victoria Point.
He also holds a Mariner’s ticket and you can still see him (occasionally) at the helm of one of Brisbane’s famous CityCat’s guiding the vessel up and down the Brisbane River.
With daughter Isla heading towards her first birthday and our reigning Dowling Medallist charging to the BIG 3-0, Willo is not overly confident of doubling his number of games with the club.
“Whoa, that’d be a bit tough. Let’s just say I’m very happy to make it to 100.”
GO BOMBERS AND GO WILLO – HAVE A BEAUTY