'Gentle giant' not used to the fuss
HE may have been nicknamed 'Colossus' and been at the centre of several controversial incidents this year, yet people who know Lennox Head Trojans back-rower Jeff Wilson describe him as a gentle giant.
Wilson caused quite a stir even before the season started after promising to play for Ballina only to do a U-turn and sign with Lennox Head instead.
In June, he was given a two-week suspended sentence after being sent off for throwing punches in the Trojans' first-round loss to Lismore City.
And then, late last month, Wilson was king hit in what The Northern Star's long-time rugby correspondent Steve Spinks described as 'one of the worst acts of thuggery' he'd seen.
Wilson, who has played in Scotland and is a former NSW Country representative, can't believe what all the fuss is about as he's always considered himself a 'quiet achiever'.
“I'm not used to all this attention,” Wilson said. “In Scotland, I was only ever in the papers for scoring a try or the odd line-out steal, never anything else.”
As for that king hit, Wilson doesn't remember too much about it, nor is he one for seeking retribution.
“I didn't see it, obviously, I just felt a bit of a flash,” he said. “I suppose it is part of the game, but I don't really want to see it happening to anyone.”
Not surprisingly, Wilson's coach at Lennox Head, Paul Jeffery, who has known Wilson for several years on and off the field, thinks he is a nice guy.
“As good a footballer as he is, the aggression and front he shows on the football field, he is not that character at all,” Jeffery said.
“He's very relaxed, nothing fazes him and he has the biggest heart out of anyone I know.
“He's a popular figure down there (at Lennox) and the supporters have nicknamed him 'Colossus' and, on the field, he does wear his heart on his sleeve and will do anything for his team-mates.”
While the Trojans will field a full-strength team against the Greens today at Rugby Park in Lismore, they have their fair share of injuries.
Throughout it all, Wilson has stood tall, according to Jeffery.
“He's a tough hombre,” Jeffery said. “He's used to getting hit hard and he's been an anchor for us. When things turn to custard and aren't going well, he will do something to get the team going again.
“But we are not a one-man team. When we've had 15 players, playing well, it has been the catalyst to our success.”
The final home-and-away match today between the third-placed Trojans and second-placed Greens will have a major bearing on the top four make-up.
It's possible for Lennox Head to slip into second spot and Lismore has a chance to claim the minor premiership.
“Regardless of player turnover, Lismore have been the most consistent side in the past two years,” Jeffery said. “Lennox finished fourth last year and could finish as high as second this year, so there is a lot at stake.”
There will also be a lot of interest in seeing whether the Casino Bulls can beat Coolangatta-Tweed and sneak into fourth spot at the expense of the Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers, who will be trying to topple the top-placed Seahorses.