The AFL Draft has recently taken place with first overall pick Matt Rowell and Second Overall pick Noah Anderson both packing their bags and heading to the Queensland based Gold Coast Suns.
There’s more than meets the eye to Rowell and Anderson who have known each other since they were kids and are best mates.
Rowell’s teenage life has led to this point and working towards making it into the AFL. His passion for football was forged when his dad, David, took him to Auskick at Mont Albert.
“I can still remember it pretty well, just walking down and kicking the footy around. I’ve loved it since that day,” Rowell said.
Young Matt had no choice but to be a Carlton fan because of his family, he grew up idolising Eddie Betts.
8km away Noah Anderson was learning his craft at the Glenferrie Oval, also via Auskick. Noah’s father Dean had been a dual premiership player for Hawthorn and also played 67 games for St Kilda. Noah had been brought up by Dean to be a Richmond fan just like him.
Rowell and Anderson played for rival teams in the Yarra Junior Football League.
Rowell played for Canterbury Cobras and Anderson for Hawthorn Citizens.
Their paths crossed at this time and they both became aware of each other and each other’s sporting talents often competing against each other in primary school cross countries. Anderson represented Auburn primary and Rowell was Mont Albert. They both played in a Junior Footy final where Anderson was given the task of tagging duties on Rowell.
When talking about it Anderson said:
“But we didn’t really know each other personally. I think the first time we played together was in the under-12s schoolboys team. That was in year six,”
They both headed to Carey Grammar the following year, and that’s when the friendship grew.
“We just really enjoy each other’s company, and we have good laughs and stuff,” Rowell said.
“We’re actually pretty different personalities. They say ‘opposites attract.'”
Rowell made an early impression on Anderson.
“Very talented, very hardworking, even from a young age, very disciplined, he was very driven to do what he wanted,” Anderson said.
“He’s always at the chiropractor and osteo. I don’t know how many things he’s got going on. Always gets his body right. Always has big pre-seasons. Always does his touch before training.”
Suns Draft Rowell And Anderson.
Even as a standout first pick, Rowell said there is always room for more improvement he has a mindset of ‘not being fulfilled’
“Because I love footy so much, I want to keep getting better at it.”
But rest assured, he can lighten up away from the game.
“He’s a different person on the football field to what he is off it. He’s quite relaxed, always laughing, pretty much always in a good mood. He’s great fun,” Anderson said.
“We both give each other a bit of crap,” notes Rowell.
“Usually about my hair, is the one he goes to. Just little things like that. It’s good like that.”
Both are very competitive just how best friends are, whether its playing golf together, on the field or just mucking around at home.
“He definitely motivates me. And I’d like to think that I do the same with him. Everything we do is almost a challenge, even if it’s not said. Which is always good,’ Anderson said.
Both have just moved in with Suns CEO Mark Evans and his family and preparing for the start of their first season in the AFL.