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Greg Anderson is a former National Premier Leagues (NPL) defender, that is now plying his trade in the NEWFM Northern League One. He has made a name for himself for being one of the toughest players on the field and a courageous leader off it, week in, week out. Greg chatted to correspondent Quentin about the process and highlights of his career as well as his future plans onwards.
Where and when did you start your juniors and how did you progress into senior football?
My junior clubs were the Plattsburg Bulldogs and the Wallsend Red Devils. I also played for the Newcastle-Port Stephens representative team and was then selected for Newcastle United juniors that competed in the Sydney competition. I then transitioned back into Newcastle football with South Cardiff at the age of 15 and played a year of 19s before beginning my trade in 1st Grade. I was then signed by Hamilton Olympic as a 19-year-old, played there for five seasons, and signed with Weston after having a year off with a broken leg. After spending 2 years there, I found my way to Cessnock for the current season.
When did you start playing with Cessnock?
This is my debut season for the Hornets.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?
Away from football I try and spend as much time with my wife, Bec and daughter Amayah – family is huge in my eyes. I also love to get away for sneaky surf which always maintains the balance.
What do you do for work?
I work as a Parts Account Manager for the Cessnock Toyota Group which covers all their franchises. I’ve done so for five years now.
Who has been one of your favourite players to play with and someone you have admiration for? Why?
Matt Austin was pretty unreal to play with. The guy was a rock and with so much experience, it was hard not to be drawn to try and learn things from him. He was a tremendous clubman and his record speaks for itself.
Which player is the hardest you’ve played against?
Hardest player to play against, as a defender, would have to be either Kane Goodchild or Peter Haynes. They’re both mobile, strong guys and are very talented, but I will never forget my first introduction to 1st Grade. It was against Hamilton Olympic and I came in as a late starter for the match and had to mark Alex Provost. He kicked the hell out of me.
You were at Weston last season – what made you make the move to Cessnock this year and how have you found it so far?
The reasons for moving on from Weston were quite simple and civilized. After talking to the club about my future there, it painted a picture that showed it wouldn’t be long term, and with the birth of my daughter not too far away, I chose to lower football down the priorities list for a while. It wasn’t until I heard that a few Weston younger guys I knew, and some other players, were interested in having a crack in the NEWFM Northern League One with Cessnock. I tagged along and the rest is history really.
What are the major differences from NPL to the NEWFM Northern League One?
The biggest difference between the two leagues would have to be the pace and physicality of the games played. The gap is still rather large in that regard, but things off the pitch are slowly becoming much of the same.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
The most memorable moment of my career would have to be winning a 1st grade Premiership with Hamilton Olympic in 2012, and then playing in the Grand Final later that year.
Most influential person in your career?
My dad would have to be most influential person on my career. He was a very handy player back in the day and was a part of the Edgeworth teams that went through competitions undefeated and he then coached a few 1st grade teams throughout Newcastle so plenty of knowledge has been passed on. We still chat about games every week now, so it’s good to have that.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season?
It would be great to see Cessnock teams in the semi-finals this season and we are looking like we are going to be thereabouts. Fingers crossed!
What’s your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress?
Honestly, who knows. I have a young family now and that is most important to me, but as long as I still enjoy football and can have that passion, the boots will remain laced up.