Wilson looking to retire with flourish

WHETHER he gets the finish to his playing days he deserves or not, Eagles veteran Mark Wilson will hang up the boots proud of Edgeworth’s fightback this season.

The 38-year-old, who played 186 national league games for Newcastle, is trying to lead Edgeworth into the semi-finals after a horror first half of the season.

After a slow start, the Eagles lost former Socceroo Troy Halpin to retirement, veteran Scott Thomas to work commitments, recruit Matt Paul to Adamstown, goalkeeper Ben Smith to a broken leg and Stephen Krause to a serious shoulder injury.

But Gary Wilson’s side turned around their fortunes, going on an eight-game unbeaten run to get into the top five.

That streak ended on Sunday in a 4-1 loss to the Jets youth which put them back to sixth, one point behind South Cardiff.

They now face crucial matches against Broadmeadow on Sunday at home and away to Valentine in the race to the finals.

Regardless of the outcome, Mark Wilson said the club had shown strength and character this season.

‘‘We had every right to keel over midway through the year,’’ Wilson said.

‘‘It was a disastrous first round with the injuries we had and the key players we lost, but once we brought some new players in and got some depth back, we all stuck together and turned it around.

‘‘We’ve just hung in there ... but it’s not in the character of this club to give up.’’

He said the group was determined to make the play-offs after coming so far.

‘‘We were aiming for top three at the start of the year but after everything that happened, it will be a really good effort to make the semis,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re still in but we’ve got to win the last two games, I think, and if we do, it will be very rewarding for everyone.’’

It will also be a fitting farewell for Wilson, who was talked out of retirement for this season but is sure the time is right to call it quits.

‘‘I said I was going to retire after the [2010] grand final win,’’ he said.

‘‘I came back from a torn Achilles tendon in 2009 but I’ve been battling niggling injuries ever since. This will be my last season, definitely.

‘‘There are a lot of young boys at the club who are ready now, so it’s time.

‘‘It will be good to make the semis and give it a go. It will be a good way to finish.’’

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