The end of the road has come for Ben Jolley at the Williamstown Football Club.
After 269 VFL games, 82 goals and a significant impact on those around him, the club’s games record holder of 217 – his other 52 games coming as a Bendigo Bombers player – will hang up his Seagulls guernsey.
A life member of both Williamstown and the VFL, Jolley will go down as one of the all-time greats.
The 32-year-old’s finest moment for the Seagulls came when he captain the side to the 2015 VFL flag.
Jolley took out the club’s best and fairest – the Gerry Callahan Medal, a record-equalling four times in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
He was named in the VFL team of the year seven times and twice represented the Victorian state team.
More important than individual accolades, Jolley played the game in the right spirit and inspired everyone around him.
He won Williamstown’s Ron James Memorial Trophy, an award voted on by the playing group for the individual who shows respect, professionalism and sacrifices for the team, an incredible nine times, including eight in a row from 2010 to 2017.
The captaincy honour fit Jolley well, a tag he held with distinction from 2012 to 2017.
Before his arrival at Williamstown , Jolley was on Essendon’s list, featuring in four AFL matches, captained the 2004 Calder Cannons premiership team and was a member of Vic Metro that year.
Williamstown chief executive Jason Reddick summed up Jolley’s standing perfectly.
“In the 155 year history of the Williamstown Football Club, Ben Jolley’s record of achievements as a player and captain are second to none,” he said.
“Ben’s sustained performances at the top level are testament to the enormous dedication and professionalism that he has displayed in preparing himself, over his whole career, to be the best player he can be.
“As humble as he is, Ben is recognised as one of the most respected players in the VFL competition, will forever be remembered as one of the greats of the modern era, and will undoubtedly be inducted as an official Legend of our Club.
“More importantly than his on-field accomplishments however, the real legacy that Ben Jolley leaves behind at Williamstown is the amazing influence he has had on a generation of teammates, coaches, staff, volunteers, members and supporters.
“Ben has been an inspiration to everyone at the Williamstown Football Club, setting the standard of expectation on and off the field for all to follow, being a trusted friend to all, and being the most respected leader and representative that our club could ever hope for.
“His nine Ron James awards are testament to that.”
Jolley thanked the club for its support over the 11 seasons he spent in the Seagulls nest.
“Williamstown has played a big part in my life over the past 11 seasons” Jolley said.
“My time at the club will hold a special place in my heart.
“To have been able to captain the club to the 2015 premiership, be awarded club and VFL Life Membership and have so many teammates become lifelong friends is something that I hold very close to me.”