At the Bar with the Pres
Bruce “Moose” Wilson joined Power House in 1983 and played 213 games in 19 seasons.
Bruce quickly became known for his toughness and “uncompromising” playing style.
Always supportive of his teammates on the field, Bruce became Reserves Captain during the 1990’s and was elected to the Club Presidency in 1994 and 1995.
His trademark strong-man build and headband invoked fear into opponents and teammates alike and he was renowned for never leaving the goal square. Bruce won numerous reserves goal kicking awards.
His career saw him become the most reported and suspended player in the Club’s history.
Moose sat down with Pav to talk about his time at the Club
Pav: Moose, you have been married to your wife Kate for over 20 years now and have 5 kids. Enough is enough! Any thought of having “the snip”?
Wilson: Not really. I wanted another couple of kids but Kate said I had to stop. Apparently I was killing her. I’m disappointed she wouldn’t let me keep going!
Pav: Moose, You retired several times during your career. Was that because you liked being chaired off the field each season?
Wilson: I was always happy to get any piece of personal promotion that I could. I retired every season just for the armchair ride off each final round. I loved being carried off, it felt great. You know I love being the centre of attention! No such thing as bad publicity!
Pav: You came down in 1983. How did you get down to Power House?
Wilson: Well I went to Wesley and followed a few other Wesley boys down. There was you, Rick Dakin(Life Member), Derek Desler (1987 Senior Best and fairest and Senior Captain 1987-88), Richard “Combat” Morrow and Mick Ennis.
Pav: So you were an old Wesley boy, why didn’t you play for Collegians? Didn’t they want you?
Wilson: I was too good for them. After just 1 training session, I had a “discussion” with the senior coach about where I would play that season…and he said…”Power House”
Pav: You were a big and burly full forward who was into body building. In today’s era, you would have failed every drugs test there is! You certainly would have popped a few pills in your day?
Wilson: Oh come on Pav. You know everything I took was all “natural”. I never met a supplement I didn’t like and I am appalled by the harsh treatment of James Hird at Essendon…a great guy and completely misunderstood!
Pav: You were one of the last great key position players. You hardly left the goal square and never handballed…ever. How do you think you would have gone in today’s modern game?
Wilson: Ah…I never left the goal square because I couldn’t run. I was a tank so it took some time for me to get up a head of steam…and I had the turning circle of the Queen Mary! I once got asked by a coach to play at centre half forward…so I told the runner to go back and tell him that I didn’t know where that was.
Pav: The headband…it was famous. How did you come up with it? Didn’t you realise it made you the target of the opposition each week?
Wilson: Again…I was always happy to be the centre of attention. I love the movie “Full Metal Jacket” and saw a character in the movie wear a headband and I knew I had to get one myself. It looked great with my long blonde hair. I was an on field fashion icon…Best thing I ever did. Blokes kept trying to punch me every game.
Pav: Now as I understand it, you were half blind and wore contacts most weeks. When you first played, you wore the wrap-around black glasses. How did that work for you?
Wilson: The first time I wore them was against North Brunswick and I got in a bit of a fight and they got ripped off. A North Brunswick player picked them up, snapped them in half and threw them over the fence. I was pretty mad…but I couldn’t really see who did it…so I tried to fight anyone that looked like him. I think I ended up belting Lindsay McIntyre…probably a good thing!
Pav: Speaking about (Life Member) Lindsay McIntyre…a love hate relationship?
Wilson: Lindsay was the softest player to ever play at Power House. All he kept trying to do during matches was take hangers over me. I’m not a fan…I have a long memory!
Pav: We need to talk about your on field behaviour. You were the most reported player in the clubs history. Is that a title that sits comfortably with you?
Wilson: Yes it is…I was pretty tough but I got reported plenty of times trying to sort out your issues. You started the fights and left me to deal with the consequences.
Pav: I just play to my strengths…and fighting wasn’t one of them…but you loved it …so we were both happy. But most of the time, you were innocent right?
Wilson: No…not really. I generally didn’t start the fights but didn’t mind throwing my weight around.
Pav: That reminds me…I remember that game out at Glenhuntly when the coach decided we needed you at centre half back… and you gave away 17 free kicks …a club record. Talk me through it.
Wilson: It’s hard to remember really. Let’s see, it was about 1993 or 94 when Jeff Scotland in his infinite wisdom decided that I was needed in defence. The guy I played on was pretty good so I tried everything to put him off his game. I punched, kicked, tackled and generally belted him throughout the game. He booted 8 goals and didn’t retaliate once…I was gutted!
Pav: Let’s put the jokes aside for a while. You could actually play a bit. You won a few goal kicking awards played over 200 games and captained the reserves towards the end of your career. But your background wasn’t really football, you were quite a good water polo player right?
Wilson: I was OK at football. I loved the contact sports like football and water polo – they were ideal for me. I played at a pretty high level in water polo. I did love team sports. I loved the socialising.
Pav: So why football…and why Power House?
Wilson: I love the “crash and bash” of contact sport and really challenging myself physically against my opponent. I thrived on the physical challenge. Today’s modern politically correct society has gone mad! I never shook an opponent’s hand ever…ever. Why should I wish him luck or congratulate him when all I wanted to do…was expected to do…was beat him physically, skilfully and mentally! I played during a time of tough football in a tough league with tough players. There was no room for the niceties of today’s footballers. I loved Power House the minute I walked in. Everyone was equal.
Pav: Let’s talk about your best days and your worst days at Power House. I think one of your worst days was being goal umpire the day I kicked 15 in 1996. I know because you kept screaming at the full back to belt me! What about your best day?
Wilson: I still remember that awful day…but let’s move on. Best day? I kicked 10 against Monash Gryphons in one of my “retirement games” If I pretended that I was retiring, I played better. I also remember kicking a bag at Elsternwick Park in 1988…and I was wearing your boots! I also loved playing with some of the great characters of the club, little George Stavrinos and Dave Clerehan were a couple that come to mind. Also Freddy Fernando, Tony Fitzsimmons, Peter “Aspro” Hollowood and Mick Bray were legendary! Oh..and Tommy Cross!
Pav: You took over the Presidency in 1994 and 1995 when you ousted then standing President Ronny Lippold in a bloody coup! How are you and Ronny these days?
Wilson: Ronny was running the club into the ground. We were losing money but Ronny strangely had bought himself a new holiday house and new BMW while the bar was “losing money”. I decided that I would put things straight and set up a coup to unseat Ronny. It was only after I had taken over when I found out that Ronny had a really well paid job…and the bar was really losing money!
Pav: You partied quite hard with your teammates off the field. Anyone in particular you were afraid to drink with?
Wilson: Glyn Evans was a great drinker. Every time we had a few drinks, it ended up with some crazy challenge in a bar about chin ups or push ups or some other feat of strength. Chris Corbett was a great social animal and a good mate. I loved a beer or two with Rowan Booth who would just tell me stories about his football career and his love life!
Pav: Let’s get back to on the field. Who were the best players you ever saw…and you can’t name yourself in the list!
Wilson: Billy Dodd (1992 Best and Fairest) – the angry young man, was hard, tough and never took a backward step. Chris Corbett with his 3 x Best and Fairest wins, best marking hands I ever saw. Peter Flaherty the in-and-under on baller, great left foot kick and read the play beautifully. Craig Richardson was probably the best kick (either foot) that I ever saw and gathered mountains of possessions. He was a great player who set incredibly high standards.
Pav: Let’s try something…I’ll mention a name and you give me a 1 sentence response.
Wilson: Only one sentence? I’ll try…
Pav: Cameron “Nugget” MacLeod
Wilson: Never ever saw him without Johnny Senior by his side. They were twins. Nugget was a legend…Life Member and all round great guy! …and a Hawks supporter.
Pav: Stuart Craven
Wilson: Captain, Premiership, Goal kicking awards, singer, fashionista
Pav: Peter Dakin
Wilson: An absolute gentleman who loves our club. Our club owes Peter a great deal of gratitude for his involvement over the years
Pav: Jim Hall
Wilson: I dislocated my finger once and Jimmy tried to put it back in…and broke it! He was hard at the ball and uncompromising. You always knew where you stood
Pav: Derek Desler
Wilson: Quiet, professional, effective
Pav: Rohan Booth
Wilson: The greatest player to play at Power House…Just ask him!
Pav: Glyn Evans
Wilson: He was awesome…probably the best player I saw at Power House
Pav: Tell me more about Glyn…you were secretly in love with him weren’t you?
Wilson: We actually got on very well. We still do. He was a great inspiration for me on and off the field. He got me fired up and motivated every week. A great player and a great guy.
Pav: Just before your wedding in 1994, were injured pretty badly in a game…you spent a fair bit of time and money trying to get it fixed. How did it affect your honeymoon… and your hitchhiking?
Wilson: I broke fingers on both hands quite badly. One was an accident on the field while the other was thanks to Jimmy Hall (as mentioned earlier). The injury was so severe that I had surgery on it for several years and to this day, I have had no movement. I was married with both my hands in plaster…it made for quite an interesting honeymoon.
Pav: Let’s remember one of your most famous games… it was Round 1 in 1988, Glyn Evans had just come back to coach the club (after a hugely successful career at Port Melbourne) and we were down by about 30 points at half time and getting smashed. You and your old mate Nigel Deans decided to have a punch on in the rooms at half time in front of the whole team. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen!
Wilson: It was amazing, Glyn had just returned to the Club as Senior Coach, it was Round 1, were came in at half time about 30 points down and Glyn was fuming. He was threatening to quit after only 2 quarters as coach! He was in the showers being calmed down by Steve Mason and Rob Sarosi and they finally calmed him down. He came out to address the players and Nigel Deans, who was a bit of a prankster, decided that he would squirt the water bottle around. He got me in the eye and I lost my contact lens…and my mind! We ended up trading blows in the rooms before we ran out and the players had to separate us. This seemed to spur us on, I kicked a few, we lifted and won the game.
Pav: We don’t see you around the club much these days. I know you spend about 8 months a year travelling overseas for work. What do your Saturdays look like when you are in town?
Wilson: When I’m here, I’m usually with the kids either watching their football games or netball, or rowing, or basketball, or any other sport they are playing. I still love a good glass of red and try to get to see the Hawks when they are playing. I try to catch up with a few of my old team mates and Power House friends and am always looking for a good pizza!
I love the club and wish I could spend more time being involved. I read the weekly emails and still wish I was playing!