Anderson Announces Retirement

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 2:46 PM by Katie de Haer

Veteran defender Kyle Anderson has called time on his WAFL career.

The 29-year-old is a Life Member of East Perth, having played 124 league games over a career spanning ten seasons.

“I spent a lot of time thinking about it all but in the end, I had to start listening to my body and what’s going on with it.

“It was a really tough decision, but one I’m content with and happy with.”

Anderson told the club of his decision earlier this week. With the WAFL season postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, he wasn’t able to deliver the news in person to teammates but told them of his decision over the phone.

“Hopefully when we get back together I’ll have an opportunity to speak to the group, but we’ll see how that plays out.”

Originally from Margaret River, Anderson joined the Royals in 2009, playing five league games in his first season. However, he would have to wait until Round 1, 2011 for his next senior opportunity and it was from then on that he became a mainstay in the East Perth backline and built a reputation as one of the best and most respected lockdown defenders in the WAFL.

“I came up from Margs and in my first year I played my first five league games and I was absolutely shocking. I think I had about 15-20 goals kicked on me in those games,” he said.

“I didn’t play again that year and didn’t play the following year.

“It was a big change coming up from the country to the city. I was 18 at the time, I came up with Kristen and while it was a big change, we really enjoyed it and quickly settled in at the football club.”

Elevated to the Royals’ leadership group for the first time in 2015, he served as vice-captain of the club under Craig Wulff and Brendan Lee.

He took on the reins as co-captain alongside Wulff ahead of the 2016 season, and when Wulff hung up his boots at the end of the same year, Patrick McGinnity joined Anderson as co-captain.

He said having the support of leaders like Michael Swan, Craig Wulff, Brendan Lee and Craig Glancy helped shape the direction of his career.

“They were terrific leaders, as a young bloke coming up from the country they showed me the way in what was required to play WAFL footy.

“It is such a high standard and there is so much sacrifice involved in playing. You really have to apply yourself in everything that you do at the club.

“Those guys were huge for me on the field and outside of the club and I’ve still got great relationships with those guys today.”

Anderson said it was an honour to co-captain East Perth.

“Am I a natural leader like Craig Wulff and those other guys? Probably not as natural as those, but I definitely think over the years I developed my own style of leadership.

“When you’re learning off Craig Wulff and Michael Swan and those guys, they showed the way of what’s needed to be a captain. I enjoyed the role, I loved the role and I was happy to be given that responsibility from the club. It was an honour to be able to be captain for the last three or four years.”

Despite spending the majority of his career in the backline, Anderson became an unlikely hero when he kicked the winning goal after the siren in Round 17, 2018, derailing Perth’s finals chances.

He regards that moment, and being part of East Perth’s finals appearances over the past decade, as some of his fondest on-field memories.

“I don’t like to brag about it… I won’t mention the seven goals I kicked against Perth (in 2015),” he laughed.

“I’ve had some really good memories – from playing in finals footy to being able to kick those goals for the club.

“The greatest memories away from successes on the field are the relationships that I've forged; it's the comradery, being around the boys, that I'll miss.

“It’s a span of 10 years of lots of really good memories.”

Despite playing in two losing grand finals against West Perth (2013) and Subiaco (2014), Anderson said he was glad to be able to pass on some of his experience to the club’s developing players.

“We were a really strong side but unfortunately we just couldn’t get it done.

“I guess from my experience, having played on those occasions, it’s helped me to pass on some of that experience (and knowledge) to other guys.

“That was a good period at the football club and hopefully the guys can get back to those sort of heights in the next couple of years.”

While injuries threatened to derail his career at different times, including a broken ankle in 2016 and shoulder problems, Anderson pushed through, notching his 100th game milestone in 2017.

His ten years’ of service was recognised in January, when Anderson received life membership of East Perth.

“I’ve been at the club for ten years and it’s become a second home for me and my family.

“To receive life membership was a great honour, especially (to be recognised) alongside others at the club.

“Football has played a massive part in my life, through not only the footy friendships but the life friendships I’ve made – some of my best mates have come from my time at the football club.

“I’ll definitely look back on those times with fond memories, but I'll also look forward to the future.”

East Perth Football Operations Manager Warren Parker said Anderson’s contribution to the club was significant.

“He’s obviously a great clubman – he’s been a great player over the journey as well, a guy that’s been well respected in and outside of the football club.

“Character is king and Kyle is a great character and someone we’re really going to struggle to replace in that regard.”

Anderson said he’ll be taking some time out, as he looks forward to life after football with his family.

“We’re going to take a bit of time off. I’m looking forward to some more family time. Outside of that, no plans as yet. We might see what happens and roll with life for a little bit.”