Woodlocks inducted into the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame

Long serving AFL North Coast administrators Jim and Jill Woodlock will be two of the inaugural inductees into the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame. Photo: supplied.

WHEN the inaugural inductees into the NSW Australian Football Hall of Fame were honoured, AFL North Coast stalwarts Jim and Jill Woodlock were two of them.

The honour is recognition for almost four decades of service to football in the North Coast region.

The very happily married couple were honoured at a black-tie event held at the Sydney Cricket Ground where just 100 people from the entire history of Australian Rules in New South Wales were inducted.

The pair admit they were thrilled not only when told of the news but also in the moments since including the gala event.

“We’re so honoured and we feel very humbled about it,” Jill said.

“I wasn’t able to sleep for a few days after we were told,” an excited Jim admitted.

“Everything rushes through your mind of what you used to do and what happened here and what we were going to do about that.”

Jim first became president of the North Coast league in 1987 and that began a period of leadership that continued in different roles until 2013 when responsibility of the management of the game was turned over to AFL NSW/ACT.

And for most of the period he had his greatest supporter, Jill, also performing executive roles as secretary, treasurer and registrar as well as secretary of the tribunal from 1995 to 2012.

“I couldn’t have done it by myself,” Jim said of the wonderful work his wife has given.

The fact the pair worked together for so long and still continue to do so is recognised by the fact that the medal presented to the best player on the ground in the AFL North Coast’s Senior Men’s grand final each year isn’t called the Jim Woodlock Medal or the Jill Woodlock Medal, it’s simply known as the Woodlock Medal.

When Jill started dating Jim back in the early 1970s, a lifetime devoted to football was the last thing she expected.

“When I first met her, she didn’t know anything about Australian Football at all; did not know anything,” Jim explained.

“She said ‘you know what, if I’m going to be with you I’ll probably have to join you’ and that’s exactly what she did.”

Jill said she became a trainer for the Mornington Under 16s team which Jim was coaching at the time.

And so her life in footy began.

They worked together while Jim was first president of Mornington then the head of the Mornington Peninsula Football League.

After Jim earned life membership of the MPFL (now MPNFL), their life in football was supposed to come to an end when they moved to Coffs Harbour in 1986 with sons Ryan and Brett, then aged eight and two, to start running a service station in Emerald Beach.

“We moved to get away from footy and it lasted three months,” Jill said.

When the couple arrived however, they became quickly aware of the lack of footballing opportunities for their sons.

“As soon as we got here there wasn’t any football for Ryan or Brett at all,” Jim said.

And so began their long relationship with football on the North Coast.

Coffs Harbour became the first regional centre in NSW to have Auskick and in 1995 they helped organise the first time North Coast kids played at half time of an AFL match.

“To get away from football was good but then all of a sudden it started again.

“And then from there that’s when it grew,” Jim said.

“We started with the juniors and seniors, then Masters and now Umpires,” Jill added.

The Woodlocks also played key roles in the establishment of the North Coast Umpires Association.

This role sees Jim and Jill continue their involvement in the game.

These days there are moments that make them proud of their work during the League’s formative years.

“Earlier this year when the Sydney Swans were here and all of those lovely kids were on the oval,” Jill said.

“That was fabulous.

“It really, really gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

“It was a ‘just to know that we created that’ sort of thing.”

Jim said getting the kids going has been the most gratifying part of his time.

“We came up here and the seniors were going pretty well but we needed something to feed up to them,” he said.

“And the best thing about football is all of the friends we’ve made.”

Jim and Jill Woodlock have given almost four decades of service to football in the North Coast region.

Leave a Reply