The term ‘tough as nails’ is often thrown around in the football game and it certainly rings true for Cessnock City defender, Thomas Stewart. The versatile fullback has come through the ranks at NPL level with the Lake Macquarie City Roosters and now is one of the key figures in the Hornets defence. Tom caught up with NEWM NL1 Correspondent, James, to talk about his playing career, his significant charity work and his expectations for Cessnock this season.
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
I first played for Tenambit Sharks from U6s-U10s, then moved to Thornton for U11-U13, then Maitland Jnrs U14-U17, Lake Macquarie City U19s and 23s NEWFM Northern League One and in the NPL, and now I’ve been at Cessnock City Hornets 1st Grade for the last two seasons.
The modern-day fullback has to be able to attack and defend, what advice would you give a young fullback coming through the ranks who is looking to better themselves in that position?
I’d say to work hard at training, focus on being able to defend first and attack when needed whilst making sure they are communicating, as defenders can see the whole field.
I read recently that you took part in the World’s Greatest Shave and raised some money, can you tell us about that experience?
It was an awesome experience to be a part of the World’s Greatest Shave. It was a no brainer when I saw it, as cancer has played a big part in my life due to a family member being affected by it, plus, I love helping people in the community who need it and this was an opportunity for me to do that.
Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?
Choosing a player is hard but there is always a player from every team that has one or two players who are tricky to defend.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?
I love to go fishing, camping and usually work.
Are you currently studying? Or have you completed your studies, if so, in what field?
I am currently in my final year of my Primary School teaching degree at the university of Newcastle.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
I’d say either winning the Grand Final and premiership with Lake Macquarie U23s in NEWFM Northern League, or making my 1st Grade debut in 2018.
Most influential person in your career?
My dad for sure. He is always helping me to be a better player and I wouldn’t be the player I am today without his influence.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season?
This year is another rebuilding year for us at Cessnock and hopefully we can push for that top four and play semi-final football, but personally, I just want to continue to develop as a player and become a stronger defender.
What’s your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress? Do you have hopes of returning to the NPL?
It’s hard to say what the future holds but at the moment, I am happy playing with the great bunch of players at Cessnock and helping them move forward as a club