700th game for Wyong Lakes Legend Billy Denniss
Written by Ryan Stanton
Don Small Oval will come alive this Saturday to celebrate the magnificent achievement of 700 games for Magpies club legend Billy Denniss.
Wyong Lakes will no doubt go all out to make the day memorable and it is likely team mates from the last 37 years will be present to watch this unbelievable milestone.
Billy grew up in Gulgong where he played junior rugby league but when he moved to the Central Coast in 1983 he wanted to try something different. Fortunately for us he chose AFL and joined Wyong Lakes in the U13s.
Billy took to AFL like a duck to water winning most improved in his first year. Within two years Billy was playing first grade for the Magpies but often not until he played u15s, u17s and reserves all on the same day.
“In 1985 I played 51 games for the season” Billy laughed.
There were many lows over these early years but none of these deterred Billy from playing and enjoying AFL.
“We played against Killarney Vale in 1986 in a game where Michael Smith kicked 39 goals” Billy recalled. “I played 4 games that day we were so short. We lost 499-14 but I learnt a lot. I just loved playing”
Billy developed into a fine midfielder who reached the heights of senior representative football. He played every season until the end of 1998 when Wyong Lakes were no longer able to field a senior team.
In 2002 former team mate Brett Kilpatrick took the coaching role at Killarney Vale and was quick to entice Billy back into football for the Bombers. But by seasons end Wyong announced they would again be fielding a senior team the following year and Billy was proud to re-join his beloved Magpies.
Success was immediate with a 2003 premiership victory and the following year Billy captained his team to go back-to-back in what is the highlight of his career.
But the best part of football is the comradery you have with your team mates and nothing could be better than running onto the ground with family by your side.
“Playing a game with my son Liam a few years ago was something I will never forget”
It is the team spirit and culture at the Magpies which has kept Billy coming back over the years.
“It’s a great place to be around. I enjoy helping out the young kids at a great family club”
Billy has done it all. From captaining first grade, winning a premiership, coaching at the Magpies, playing rep football as well as serving on the committee as the club treasurer for many years.
Wyong Lakes President Simon Woods was glowing with his praise of the Magpies veteran.
“Billy is a wonderful servant of the club and game. This milestone is one that will stand the test of time for many years.”
Billy is truly admired and respected by all those who have played both with and against him.
Billy remembers playing with some great footballers from years gone by including Brett Kilpatrick, Tony Bradford and Ty Gallagher. The current crop of Magpies did not miss out either.
“Tim Hillman, Chris Koop-Folkes and Lee Moore are all sensational footballers and great mates” Billy noted.
There have been some great opponents he has locked horns against as well.
“Mitch Gray was sensational and Tony McVeigh was the hardest and toughest player ever. Maurice Goolagong and Clint Austerberry were both amazing”
Billy will turn 49 at the end of the month but we all know that age is just a number. So why stop now?
“The body is starting to struggle. The end is getting closer.”
But there is serious doubt anyone truly believes Billy will not just keep going forever. This week Billy will not have to worry about leaving it all out on the field as his team mates will certainly chair him off the ground at full time.
The AFLHCC community is proud of his achievements and wish Billy Denniss and his family the best on this wonderful occasion. For those who cannot get to the game you can tune in live to Bar TV from 10am and not miss a moment of Billy and the day’s festivities.