Wills family create SANFL history

By Peter Argent

Barossa Valley mother and son footballers Taryn and Brodie Wills created SANFL football history recently when they both represented Central District Football Club on the same weekend.

Taryn recently played in Round 7 for Central District in the Hostplus SANFL Women’s League team, while the next day Brodie Wills donned the Bulldogs jumper in the Under 16 Torrens University Cup side in the opening round.

Travelling from the family home at Williamstown in the south of the Barossa each week to play, Taryn is a foundation member of the Central District SANFLW team.

“It’s important for me that all the boys in my life are incredibly supportive of my footy,” says Taryn, a mum of two boys.

“They’re my biggest supporters and my biggest critics and always helping me strive to become a better footballer and person.”


“It’s important for me that all the boys in my life are incredibly supportive of my footy.''

Central District's SANFLW player Taryn Wills

Taryn Wills in defence for Central District in the SANFLW earlier this year.

Taryn, who is originally from Northern Areas starting her netball at Laura, has been a star of Barossa District netball and football club across the past two decades.

She has been a key member of four Barossa Districts Bulldogs senior division one flags in the Barossa Light and Gawler (BLG) Netball Association, including back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018, playing predominately as a mid-courter.

A Life Member of the Barossa District Netball Club, Wills has played 250 senior one netball games.

“Growing up in Laura in the Mid North I initially played netball and tennis,” Taryn says.

“I started playing senior (A grade) netball in my mid-teens…being lucky enough to be a part of A grade Northern Areas Netball Association premiership team in 1999 as a 17-year old.

“It was about a quarter of a century of playing netball before switching codes to footy.”

In 2019, only the second year of the BLG Association women’s competition, Taryn was a key member of the Barossa District Bulldogs side, winning the premiership against Willaston at the ‘Dog Track’.

In February, 2019 Taryn was a part of another piece of SANFL Women’s history, being a member of the inaugural Central District SANFLW team which played West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium, Richmond.

At 40 years of age, Wills has been a regular member of the Bulldogs SANFLW team across the past two seasons, now having notched up more than 20 games at the top level.

Meanwhile Brodie has been winning a few Premierships, as a member of the under 15 Barossa District Junior Colts flags in the abridged 2020 season and again last year, defeating Tanunda in both grand finals to gain back-to-back crowns.

Taryn’s husband, Simon, also was a long-time servant of the Barossa District Bulldogs, playing upwards of 250 A grade games.

He heartbreakingly was injured in the preliminary final of the 2006 campaign and missed the club’s breakthrough first BLG flag the following week. In 2021, Simon stood in as the A grade coach of the Barossa Bulldogs.

The family tradition at the club continues, with younger son Beau playing in the under 13s at Barossa this season.


Brodie Wills in action for Central District in the U16 Torrens University Cup. Photo: Peter Argent

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