“In this business over 13 years if I’ve learned one thing, it is to take nothing for granted.  At the start of the season I was looking forward to my 200th game.  An injury almost put paid to that,” reflected Dan when we spoke to him about his milestone.  “It is humbling and at the same time a good reality check.”

Dan becomes the 39th goal umpire in the game’s history to officiate in 200 games a feat that isn’t lost on him either.  “I don’t consider myself in the same company as Walker, Roffey and Appleton who came onto the list at the same time because they have gone on to the ultimate success. I still harbour that dream and it is what challenges me each week.  It’s what keeps me coming back each year.  I think I’m capable but I haven’t earned the right yet.”

Dan came onto the list in 2004 and looked up to legends like, Black, Stirling, Hood and Harrison who had all umpired for years and made grand finals. ” One of my strengths was my fitness.  It was a point of difference and in the early days I used it to my advantage.  Even now I pride myself on not dropping my standards.  I realise that while the mind is willing the body is not necessarily on the same page, but my endeavour and effort will not be diminished.  I think after injuring myself pre season going too hard, I will train smarter now.”

While officiating in 200 games gives Dan a degree of comfort and his longevity gives him a degree of confidence he does have unfinished business.

Dan thinks that his first final, and still his only game at AAMI Park in Adelaide remains his best game.  “I questioned whether I deserved the game and did so well I was rewarded with a second final the following week.  It was a game where everything just went right.”

Dan has taken the best bits from past mentors and current colleagues and put them into his game style.  “Dicko’s application and discipline is uncompromising in every way.  While I do it slightly differently his high level of consistency combined with his physical and mental preparation is second to none.  Walker and Appleton are cool and calm.  They know when to switch on and off.”

“The best part of my day was to have my family present at my game.  They are not regular football followers but the attendance of my brothers and sisters along with nieces and nephews put the icing on the cake.  It was a wonderful day.”

Article written by: AFLUA CEO, Peter Howe

Dan Wilson

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