Tag: Sawtell Toormina Saints

Anderson rides the wave of a long footballing journey

THERE are few junior footballers who have experienced a journey quite like that of Angus Anderson. The Sydney Swans Academy captain hails from Sawtell, a coastal town in northern New South Wales, but has ticked off a plethora of other destinations en route to earning a National Draft Combine invite this month.

The six-hour drive to Sydney initially made it difficult for the 18-year-old to regularly participate with the Swans Academy, but he put his name in lights this year after spending a preseason with the Southport Sharks VFL side, and earning a spot on their supplementary list.

“I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be the skipper for the Swans Academy,” Anderson said. “It’s a great honour really, especially since I’m not down there every weekend, so it just shows that the coaching staff and the team have had faith in me.”

Anderson travelled three hours up to the Gold Coast to train with Southport, ticking off a third state on his list of destinations. The second was Victoria, where he lived with his aunty and uncle while linking with the Eastern Ranges’ Under 16 NAB League program. In Melbourne, he also spent a term at Box Hill Secondary College and is currently completing his Year 12 studies back home in lockdown.

With a diverse range of experiences, Anderson has also been able to lean on a bunch of highly renowned coaches and staff. Among them are former AFL players, along with current and former NAB League coaches; including Jared Crouch and Chris Smith (Swans Academy), Leigh Clarke (Box Hill Secondary), Sean Toohey (Eastern Ranges), and Jarrod Field (Southport).

Also on that list of mentors is Anderson’s Victorian father, who coached him locally “all the way through” to senior level at the Sawtell-Toormina Saints, making him “a big influence” over his footballing career.

From enjoying the surf in the “laid back” town of Sawtell to “maturing as a person” while living with his aunty and uncle in Melbourne, Anderson has learned plenty over the last few years and gained a ravenous work-ethic. That trait translates to his football, where the big-bodied midfielder showcases a great appetite for contested ball.

“I feel like my contested ball is my strength,” Anderson said. “I’m a big-bodied mid who can win the ball and I’m slowly developing my outside game. “I can run out games well for a big-bodied mid, I like the physical aspect of AFL so I can tackle, and my hands around the ball and my ability to use both sides (are strengths).”

While leading the Swans Academy in a three-game NAB League stint this year, Anderson averaged 24 disposals, 3.5 tackles and a goal per game, as one of his side’s standout performers. Having already gotten a taste of senior football, he went on to represent the Swans at VFL level, and earned selection in the Under 19 Allies squad. Still, there is plenty the youngster is working on.

“I have heaps of areas I’m focusing on,” he said. “I feel like since I’m a bigger-bodied mid, I’ll be paired up with a couple of smaller mids occasionally. I’ve been working on my pack marking and I get to drift down forward I’ve been working on my goalkicking as well.”

Swans star Luke Parker is a player Anderson looks to mould his game on, while also noting the likes of Christian Petracca, Dustin Martin, Patrick Cripps, and Marcus Bontempelli as some of his favourite players. As one of just five NSW-ACT natives to earn a combine invite thus far, he is one step closer to joining them in the big leagues.

“Especially if I look back at myself at the beginning of the year, these achievements have been so big and I’ve been so proud of myself that I’ve made it this far,” he said. “It’s a huge honour to be a part of the initial 90 for the combine. “From a little kid coming from northern New South Wales, a little coastal town. “Barely anyone has been this far so it’s a huge honour.”

For now, Anderson is enjoying some of the extra down time he gets to relax in between school, going out for a surf every day and itching to get back on the park should the opportunity await.

He sought to thank all of his mentors and coaches along the way, Southport and the Sydney Swans for the opportunities they presented, and AFL North Coast for their support over the years.

Weekly wrap: NSW/ACT state leagues

THERE were wins a plenty and a couple of best-ons for the New South Wales/Australia Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) Under 18 players across the region’s leagues. We dissected the games and noted some of the action that occurred over the weekend.

Angela Priftis continued her solid run of form in the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division, being named second best in the Auburn-Penrith Giants’ win over Newtown. Meanwhile, the team that’s one place below the Giants on the ladder also got the job done on Saturday. Young star, Jemima Wrigley featured in the Southern Power’s 45-point win over the UTS Shamrocks and contributed well. The Power was able to bounce back from a 67-point loss last week to sit in the top four at the end of Round 15. Over in Division One, NSW/ACT Under 18 representative, Brenna Tarrant was named best on ground for the East Coast Eagles in their 12-point win over the Pennant Hill Demons. Tarrant made her return to the side last week and it didn’t take long for her to hit her strides.

In the Sydney Harbour Youth Girls Division One, Zoe Hurrell got on the board with a goal in the Willoughby-Mosman Swans’ loss against the Kellyville Rouse Hill Magpies. In this match, Hurrell and Alice Mitchell went up against fellow state representatives, Georgia Garnett and Emily Hurley. Hurrell and Mitchell’s Kellyville Rouse Hill Magpies sit third on the ladder while Garnett and Hurley’s Willoughby Mosman Swans are on top.

Ahlani Eddy’s Sawtell Toormina Saints got another win under their belt in the AFL North Coast, defeating the Port Macquarie Magpies by 32 points. Eddy’s Under 18 NSW/ACT teammate, Lillian Doyle was also involved in a win on the weekend, as the Grafton Tigers defeated the Macleay Valley Eagles in the AFL North Coast Youth Girls competition. The Tigers sit second on the ladder on nine wins and four losses, and are just one point away from the Coffs Harbour Breakers at the top of the table.

Over in the AFL Broken Hill league, NSW/ACT Under 18 representative duo, Eliza Cumming and Melisa Keenan were named first and second best for the South Football Club on the weekend. However, their side experienced an excruciating loss, going down to the North Football Club by one point. It was a battle were first played against second on the ladder and it certainly did not disappoint, which will make the last two rounds very interesting in this competition.

In the North East Border League, star midfielder, Alyce Parker had the week off due to her Thurgoona Bulldogs winning the qualifying final last week. The Bulldogs will face the Wodonga Raiders in this weekend’s Grand Final, after the Raiders smashed the Panthers by 51 points on the weekend. Wodonga finished fourth on the ladder but made it to the Grand Final, making for a very intriguing contest on Sunday.

Over in the Shepparton and Districts Junior Football League, Eloise-Ashley Cooper benefitted from Finley’s bye, as she was named the best on ground for her side. The Cats defeated Echuca by a whopping 78 points and the Murray Bushrangers star was solid all day, contributing a goal in the big win.