They were born almost 10 years apart in 1953 and 1963, overlapping for three seasons and 59 games. Between them they played 537 games, amassed 13,706 possessions, kicked 722 goals and polled 259 Brownlow Medal votes for Fitzroy.

They are AFL Hall of Famers and members of the Fitzroy Team of the Century, and together won 10 Fitzroy best & fairest awards, captained Fitzroy for 10 years, represented Victoria 26 times and won nine All-Australian blazers.

Quite simply, Garry Wilson and Paul Roos were two of Fitzroy’s very, very best.

And 10 years apart, in Round 15 1981 and Round 15 1991, they celebrated twin 200-game milestones to share top billing in this week’s Fitzroy Flashback series for Round 15.

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Wilson was Fitzroy’s 7th 200-gamer in ’81 when they were beaten by 19 points by Essendon at Junction Oval. He had 15 possessions in what was also Bernie Quinlan’s 250th AFL game.

The brilliant rover from Preston Swimmers, who debuted as a 17-year-old, joined a 200-Club which was ‘founded’ by Frank Curcio (1946) and included Alan Ruthven (1953), Norm Johnstone (1956), Alan Gale (1961), Kevin Murray (1968), John Murphy (1977) and Warwick Irwin (1980).

After David McMahon (1983) and Mick Conlan (1988) followed Roos, a Beverley Hills product who had debuted at 18, was Fitzroy's 11th, and last, 200th gamer. 

Wilson and Roos, united when named at half-forward and centre back respectively in the Fitzroy Team of the Century in 2001 (Wilson as vice-captain), had first come together in round 4 1982 when Fitzroy played Sydney at the SCG. It was Roos’ debut and Wilson’s 210th game. The Swans won by 56 points.

They played their last game together in the 1984 elimination final against Collingwood at the MCG, when the Magpies prevailed by 46 points to send 268-gamer Wilson and his famous helmet into retirement. It was Roos’ 58th game.

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On the field Wilson and Roos were strikingly similar in that, although their roles were vastly different, both were prolific ball-winners and forever looking to attack. Both were unscrupulously fair, respected and admired by teammates and opposition players alike.

In retirement they have taken a different path. Wilson, 69 next month, has chosen to keep out of the football spotlight, preferring to follow first Fitzroy and now the Brisbane Lions from arm’s length, while Roos, 59 next Monday, has been forever in the public eye as a coach and media performer.

But whenever talk turns to Fitzroy history and greats of the club they will be front and centre. And their respective 200th games in Round 15 will be among their countless special memories.


In Round 15 1996 Fitzroy travelled to Perth to take on West Coast at the WACA in their last outing in the prime Friday night timeslot.

It was 12 July, just eight days after the merger with Brisbane had been confirmed. The players were still coming to grips with the monumental change as coach Alan McConnell took charge following the resignation of Mick Nunan.

It was the second time McConnell, a 37-game player with Footscray from 1980-82, had been asked to take over the Fitzroy side mid-season. He had coached the last three games of 1995 when Bernie Quinlan was moved on.

It was always going to be a monumental assignment, with Fitzroy conceding on average more than two years and 40 games’ experience per player, and so it was. They trailed by 32 points at quarter-time and went down 9-9 (63) to 20-11 (131).

Nick Carter, an 18-year-old in his 10th game later to head to Brisbane with the ‘Chosen Eight’, topped his side’s possession count with 25 and was one of nine individual goal-kickers as Peter Sumich kicked five goals for West Coast and the Brownlow votes went to Dean Kemp, Chris Mainwaring and Peter Matera.