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Wilson leaves it on the field

Nathan Wilson discusses his 2018 season. Nathan Wilson's off season interview

As a self-assessed ‘chilled and relaxed’ person, it’s no surprise that Nathan Wilson is looking forward to a quiet off-season with his wife and newborn son. 

It is the defender’s first full off-season since his move back to WA and becoming a father, joining Fremantle from GWS during the 2017 NAB AFL Trade Period. 

Wilson arrived at Freo with impressive credentials and he continued his emergence as a star at half-back – playing 21 games and leading the club for metres gained, rebound 50s and effective kicks while finishing sixth in the Doig Medal.

After the retirements of Michael Johnson and Lee Spurr at season’s end, Wilson is likely to be Fremantle’s most experienced defender in 2019.

Wilson said he will particularly miss Johnson, a fellow Indigenous player who he looked up to when he was young.

“Obviously Michael’s had a great career and we all know what he’s done for this club, “ Wilson said.

“I remember when I was a kid watching him. He was an idol for all the Indigenous and people who want to play footy.” 

Wilson, who will turn 26 in January, will help lead a defensive unit that includes 20-year-olds Taylin Duman and Griffin Logue, 22-year-olds Connor Blakely and Luke Ryan, 23-year-old Alex Pearce and 25-year-old Joel Hamling. 

Wilson is also sitting on 98 AFL games, which includes his 21 games played for Fremantle in 2018, meaning he is set to reach the 100-game milestone in round two.

Wilson said there was a learning curve to guiding Freo’s younger players. 

“I tried this year a little bit (to lead the way),” Wilson said.

“Around the club, I’m pretty quiet but on the field, I’m pretty vocal as I think the boys found out this year a few times.

“There’s a lot of emotions out there and sometimes I’d go a bit too hard and I would pull it back.”

Wilson said he prefers to leave his leadership and management of his younger teammates on the field and on the training track.

“Its more on the field that I talk to the young boys,” Wilson said. 

“Off the field, I like to let them be because I remember what it was like in my first couple of years, it was a bit full on. 

“So I leave the first-year boys alone and just talk to them every now and then.

"I’ll help them more out on the track, if they need running patterns or their kicking or whatever they need.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs