For lifelong Rebel, Ian Wilson, support of his beloved Southern Districts has remained steadfast through even the toughest stages of his life.
Wilson’s involvement with the Club stretches beyond 1989, when Southern Districts was established from two affiliated Clubs from the area, Port Hacking and St George.
With his father a Life Member at Port Hacking, Ian began his junior rugby at age ten, continuing his playing years with the Southern Districts feeder Club all the way through to Colts.
Ian’s passion for rugby was instinctively passed on to his three sons, who after playing their junior rugby for Burraneer Rugby Club, all went on to represent the Rebels in Colts and grade.
“It’s has been a real family affair for us,” he said.
“We’ve had generations of our family down at the Club at various times.
“Up until her passing in 2019, my mother, Helen, used to come and watch the boys play and was an amazing supporter.
“It’s quickly become a real support network for us, something I’m very fortunate for.”
Unfortunately, due to illness, Ian has been unable to be around the Club as much as he would’ve liked to in the past year.
However, the Rebel fanatic says the compassion he’s received from much of the Souths community has been invaluable.
“That’s one of the things I’ve been most impressed by, is people getting in touch with me and offering support,” he said.
“Especially people you didn’t think you had such a connection with, it’s amazing the love I’ve felt from the Southern Districts community.
“Individuals like Brad Devine have been a tremendous support to me during my current illness, both personally and on behalf of the Club.
“It’s tremendous to know there is that much love out there.”
The Wilson family connection with Southern Districts was furthered at the beginning of the year, when Ian’s son, Andrew, was named as Club Captain for the 2021 season.
Ian admits he draws immense pride from watching his children go on to represent the Rebels with such passion.
“Andrew is the second of my children to be named Club Captain, so I feel our involvement in the Southern Districts family runs quite deep,” he said.
“Every Saturday I’ve been fortunate enough to watch my sons play has been so special.
“There’s a real sense of pride amongst our Club community, you can’t help but feel that.”
While Ian has many fond memories at Forshaw Rugby Park, one such milestone which has evaded all Rebels fans to date is their inaugural Shute Shield title. However, it is a fact Ian believes the Club isn’t far from resolving.
“The Club’s in a really good place,” he said.
“Todd Louden has come in and done a really nice job to allow the players and Club to benefit from the program in place.
“I think within the next few years you’ll be seeing us lift the Shute Shield premiership.”