Jaimee-Lee Wilson is set to make history on Sunday as she runs out for the Sunbury Lions against Strathmore in the Essendon District Football League Women’s competition.

Already the club’s women’s games record holder, Wilson will become the first female player at the club to play 200 games.

While Wilson said it was an exciting moment to reach a milestone that she had never thought about, her number one focus had always been the team.

“I didn’t really think about it,” she said. “It’s a massive honour.

“I’ve just kept playing and playing. It’s the unknown of what happens when you stop that keeps me going.

“What am I going to do instead of going to training or the game? I’ve been playing for 17 years, it’s just routine really.”

Wilson started at the Lions when her best friend Alana Bell dragged her along to a training session. Wilson has continued to come back, having fallen in love with the sport and club. She said it’s the three premierships that stand out among her highlights.

“The first one, in 2009, we were over the moon, we had worked so hard,” she said.

“We had been in finals and in contention previously but fell short.

“In 2010 we were on a roll.

“There was a gap to 2015. We were struggling for players and we finally got numbers and came away with the win after some hard work and dedication.”

She said she had also made many friends while playing.

Former captain Natasha Hardy said Wilson was a very reliable and committed player.

“She always provides the team with a sense of calm, usually as the last line of defence.
“She is a great leader not only on the field but off the field as well and always works hard.  To be the first female football player to reach the 200 game milestone is such a great achievement considering we are lucky to play 14 games a season.
“We would like to send a huge congratulations to Jaimee-Lee from all your current team mates as well as those who have previously played along side you on achieving such a huge milestone.  We are all so proud of you.”

Wilson said she could never have imagined the growth which had occured in women’s football in the past few years.

“I never thought I would be playing at all,” she said. “Probably for most of us, it’s 10 years too late.”

Picture: Jamie Morey Photography

Wilson said she hasn’t set an end date on her career and will continue to play on for as long as she can.

“My mum would have liked me to have retired five years ago,” she admits.

“I have no plans to retire, it just depends on how the body feels.”

Lions president Hedley Duhau said it was rare for any footballer to play 200 games at the one club.

“Jaimee-Lee has served on the committee and organised many social events and is part of this years leadership group,” he said.
“Off the field she demonstrates a very approachable, engaging and pleasant manner and has always been a pleasure to deal with.

“People like Jaimee-Lee are crucial to the fabric of sporting clubs.  The members, players, supporters and committee are super proud of Jaimee-Lee’s achievement and would like to congratulate her on this amazing milestone.”

The Lions will hold a small presentation for Wilson before the game against Strathmore starts.

The Lions will be hoping to recognise Wilson’s achievement with a win – their first of the season.

It’s a very different team for the Lions this year, with 95 per cent of the squad new to the club.

Wilson said a win against Strathmore would put them on par with where the side was last year.

“We’ve played Burnside Heights and Sunbury Kangaroos, who we lost to last season,” she said.

“If we can beat Strathmore [who they beat last year] we will be on par. With a lot of new players at the club that’s really good.”

 

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