Jasmine and Joe Anderson

Family football ties; Joe and Jasmine Anderson

02.05.18 17:04

by Murray Silby

Thunder defender Joe Anderson is one of the more famous names on the NT team’s list.

He’s played in the AFL and arguably the second-best competitions in the country, the VFL and SANFL, but like any individual, their name isn’t theirs alone. It carries the stories of others with them.

And, in the NT, there are certain family names that are more recognisable than others when it comes to footy, and the Anderson name is one of those that stand out.

Of the current generation, Jed Anderson is on the North Melbourne list in the AFL, and NT Thunder is blessed with two Andersons – Joe on the men’s list and Jasmine in the women’s squad.

Like Jed, Joe Anderson climbed the mountain and was drafted 67th by Carlton in the 2006 AFL Draft and went on to play 17 games for the Blues and another 140 or so in the VFL – with the Blues’ VFL team, the Northern Bullants, and in the SANFL, with Sturt and North Adelaide.

Now, with the growth of women’s footy, and the introduction of an NT Thunder Women’s team, which starts writing its own history in the VFL Women’s competition this weekend, the Anderson family influence over NT footy is set to continue even further.

Jed and Joe’s sister Jasmine was selected in the Adelaide Crows’ inaugural AFL women’s squad in 2017 as a rookie and is in the current NT Thunder Women’s squad.

She might be a trailblazer herself but lists her brothers as inspirations to her.

“I’m in a family of eight; there’s eight of us, so there’s five boys and three girls,” she said. “Joe has played AFL and Jed’s playing for the Kangaroos, so he’s still there and still working hard. They’ve both played a big part in being my mentors, and I really do look up to them.

“Joe’s had a few injuries that set him back a bit, and the same thing happened with Jed.”

It’s a respect that goes both ways with Joe admiring Jasmine’s ability to get the best out of herself.

“She really pushes herself,” he says. “A lot of self-drive and she’s very competitive, she’s pretty quick as well.”

In a development that’s likely to become more common as the women’s game grows, Joe and Jasmine aren’t the only brother and sister on the Thunder men’s and women’s lists. Rodney and Janet Baird are also lining up in Thunder colours.

The Anderson football story goes back further though to grandfather Jimmy in the NTFL.

“Our grandfather Jimmy Anderson played for Darwin Buffaloes Footy Club for a long while, and I guess growing up you always wanted to play for a family football club, which was the Darwin Buffaloes,” Joe said. “It’s really a proud moment when you do play and hear of the stories of how your grandfather did go about his footy, and it’s good to have that family link with the footy club.

“Dad played a lot of footy as well, a lot of juniors, but he cut it off pretty short and just decided to play a lot of rugby league with his mates, and I sort of went down that path as well as a junior and started off with rugby and crossed codes later on when I was about 11 or 12 years old.”

Before the 2018 season, the last time Joe Anderson ran out for Thunder was as captain of the under 18s before being drafted to Carlton.

He said it’s a thrill to be back.

“I was really excited when (coach Andrew Hodges) Hodgey and (chairman of selectors) Wally Gallio gave me a call and wanted me to get back involved with Thunder, and I’m lucky enough to be playing now,” he said.

“I just want to play consistent footy and give back something to the game that’s given me a lot.”

Joe said he’s keen to use his experience playing interstate and at the highest level to benefit the Thunder team.

“It really develops you as a person and makes you realise there’s a lot more competition out there and it does make you better as a person,” he explained.

“You do learn a lot through the different experiences, the various leagues, structures and different styles of footy and to bring that back to NT Thunder, and even within Thunder itself, it’s a different setup, we can all learn from one another.

“One of the main things I want to do at the moment is to help develop the younger players that can be around for the next five or six years. Just be an extra hand if they need any advice and guidance because I can definitely use my experience, but I’m just thrilled to be back.”

Although Thunder’s first four matches this NEAFL season have been mixed with two wins to open the year, including a victory over reigning premier Brisbane, followed by two losses, he doesn’t have any doubts that the Thunder squad has enough talent to make 2018 a successful year.

“There’s definitely a lot of talent within the whole footy club, the coaches are doing everything that they can,” he said.

“I think in the last two games we just dropped off in a number of areas in the match, but the good thing about it is it’s just early days, and we get back on the saddle next week and hopefully start the winning streak again and just keep learning from there and just really work towards the latter stages of the year.”

NEAFL Round 5, NT Thunder bye; Next match, NEAFL Round 6 Southport Sharks vs NT Thunder, Fankhauser Reserve, 12 pm, Saturday 12 May.