Back-to-back State League Club Champion Patrick Wilson has thanked former Crows senior coach Don Pyke for making him a “better person.”
At Adelaide’s Club Champion dinner on Thursday night, Wilson received the award as the best SANFL Crows player, just two votes ahead of skipper Matthew Wright.
In his acceptance speech, Wilson acknowledged the impact Pyke had on him from the moment he arrived at West Lakes in 2017.
“I was probably pretty quiet when I first came in, but Don really welcomed me into the Club with open arms,” Wilson said.
“I can stand up here today and say I am a better person after being coached by Don the last two years.
“I feel like I’ve matured, and for a lot of that I have to thank Don.”
The 24-year-old also thanked the SANFL development squad members, AFL-listed players and the SANFL coaches.
“We wouldn’t be able to play without the development squad and a big thanks to Heath for his recruiting this year – the boys we’ve got have been unbelievable,” Wilson said.
“Brent Reilly, Paul Thomas, Matty Wright, Heath Younie – you guys made this year really enjoyable, made it really fun to come out and play SANFL each week.”
Although pleased with a considerable turnaround in success from 2018, Wilson felt it was an opportunity missed to have been bundled out of the finals in the preliminary loss to Glenelg.
“It was a bit disappointing not to go all the way to the grand final,” he said.
“That’s because I know how much it meant to a lot of the players playing, even though a lot of people on the outside didn’t think so.”
Wilson wasn’t the only member of the SANFL side to win an award at Club Champion, with defender Matt Merrett earning the Dean Bailey Award as the best development player.