Ross Andrews

Reserve Games: 1
Reserve Goals: 1
Guernsey No. 60 (1986).
DOB: 3rd September, 1968.

Andrews was recruited from Hadfield FC in the Essendon District FL in early 1986 after a solid game against Keilor.  Andrews played all his junior football till 1984 with Coolaroo Rovers FC and grew up a die hard Collingwood supporter, spending each Saturday at Victoria Park in the Rush Stand or following his beloved magpies around the grounds with his dad.  Andrews also played Little League with Carlton in 1979, wearing the #22 guernsey made famous by Robbert Klomp.      

His first game in the U/19's was against Melbourne at Glenferrie Oval and the side registered a comprehensive 8 goal win.  His second game was the following week against North Melbourne at Arden Street.  After a more than average first two games he was asked to play in the Reserves against North Melbourne on the Queens Birthday Monday game at Princes Park.  Although suffering a corked thigh he said there was no way he'd miss the opportunity.  From EDFL U18 football to Carlton Reserves in a matter of a few weeks was quite exciting for the 17 year old.  

The lead up to the game was a bit blurry with Col Kinnear as the coach and Andrews lining up with some amazing footballers including David Glascott and many others.  An old Coolaroo boy, Paul Merson, was also in the side and went on to play many games for Carlton in the seconds.  Andrews would play a little bit in the second half in a big win over North Melbourne in front of a packed stadium (at the end of play) and even managed to kick a goal on his left, bypassing Darren Ogier who demanded it on the lead.  After the game it was off to the Blue Diamond room for a beverage, a bit of class for the Broadmeadows boy.  Funnily enough the only player reported that day was Brendan Ryan (North) who would become Andrews' coach in 1993 at Craigieburn.

Next week it was back to the U19's and for the remainder of the season Andrews toiled away with the likes of Ian Aitken, Paul Starbuck, Andrew McKinnon, Nick Goodear, John D'Angelo, Adrian Bassett, Greg Reynoldson, Phil Poursanidis and Mark Edwards and under the tutelage of David McKay and Geoff Southby.  Andrews said both were incredibly generous individuals and wonderful mentors who were looked up to by all in the playing group :  "I even have a pair of David's old studded Adidas boots he gave me after I forgot my screw-ins for a particularly boggy game at Glenferrie Oval."  Training for the group was generally outside under lights in the old car park area once the Seniors took to the main oval.

Andrews fondly remembers the games against his beloved magpies.  "One Saturday we played Collingwood at Lakeside Oval.  Collingwood Captain and premiership player Gavin Brown was playing and took one of the best marks I've seen, literally standing on one of our guys heads and hovering there for about 2 seconds before pulling in a screamer. Needless to say we were beaten that day by the side that would eventually win the flag." 

The 1986 season was a frustrating one for the side with not many wins but a side that was stacked with talent.  At the end of the year Andrews was invited to do pre-season with the senior group and endured the infamous 100 x 100m session just after the Christmas break.  "I remember the night well, David Rhys-Jones got to about 40 and spewed up.  I thought I might do about 30 but ended up doing the whole lot.  I even still have the t-shirt, an aqua blue Adidas number with the iron on 100 x 100m on it. Wouldn't fit me now I can assure you."  Andrews remembers the thrill of training with an incredible group of players.  The playing group would win both senior and reserves flags in those 2 years.  "It was hard enough to get a gig in the U/19's side so getting a game in the seconds, or for those boys that went on to play seniors, was a great achievement." 

Andrews recalls "I remember one night early in 1987 playing corridor footy and I was running with the flight of the ball and Fraser Murphy cleaned me up coming the other way, knocked me out.  I recall Robert Walls standing near me and yelling at me to get up.  Guess the concussion protocols were a little different then."

Andrews was lucky to have Doug Castledine at Carlton at the time assisting with the U/19 program in 1986.  Andrews knew Doug from their days at Coolaroo Rovers, where Andrews grew up.  Doug would do the Tuesday and Thursday drop offs for a couple of the boys in the northern suburbs.   

1987 saw the departure of McKay and Southby who was replaced by former North premiership play Ross Henshaw.  Henshaw brought a never say die tenacity to the group that probably wasn't there under McKay and Southby.  His training style was different and his intensity could be overwhelming for young players.  "There was no doubt he wanted to get the best out of you and you certainly knew it when he thought you could do more or better. I couldn't imagine his way working with the kids of today though.  Or Robert Walls for that matter, but it was the way it was back then." 

Andrews recalls "One day in the latter half of the year we played St.Kilda at Moorabbin.  Funnily enough it wasn't under water.  We were 4 to 5 goals down at 3/4 time.  Henshaw was in the stands coaching, at the siren he was screaming from the stands and literally jumped from the stand down onto the concrete standing room area below and sprinted onto the ground to confront us.  Needless to say we got a fair old spray and our intensity picked up in the final quarter.  We drew level with the Saints and had the ball in our forward 50 for the last few minutes of the game but couldn't score.  We drew the game and ended up missing the finals by that half game."

Andrews missed a few games with a recurring foot stress fracture  but played the majority of the season between half back, wing and half forward.  A couple of frustrating losses and the draw against the Saints and the season was done.  Several players would go on to have some success at Carlton and other clubs (including the VFA) including Fraser Brown, Danny Noonan, Luke O'Sullivan, Reece Langan, Ashley Matthews and Tony Hamill.  

Andrews nominated John D'Angelo as the most consistent player he played with at Carlton.  As for the best Andrews said "I really couldn't give you one.  It was a great time for the club, a vast array of wonderful players from the U/19's to the seniors. Too hard to name one.  The best player I have played with in country football was undoubtedly Robert Miller at Rochester.  We played a few games together at Carlton and 3 seasons in the GVFL.

Andrews was unsure if his future lay at the club but a chat with one particular board member allayed any fears of being cut and assured him of a "few night games in the pre-season".  However a phone call from Geoff Walsh dashed the dream when Andrews was told that Henshaw and Walls didn't think he had the attitude for senior football and he was cut from the club as pre-season started.  Andrews was offered a training gig with Collingwood but declined it and instead headed to Queensland in the new year.  

At the start of 1988 he traveled to Queensland to play football with Mayne FC.  He played a few practice matches before returning to Melbourne after suffering a recurring stress fracture in his foot from 1987.  During the middle portion of 1988 he joined forces with old Carlton teammates Robert Miller and Mick Gravina at Rochester FC in the Goulburn Valley.  In 1988 Rochester made the finals for the first time in nearly two decades, finishing 3rd before going out in straight sets.  

In 1989 Andrews returned to Rochester while going through the Victoria Police Academy, graduating in May 1989. Rochester again finished the season in the finals, beating Shepparton and Shepparton United by less than a goal to progress to the Grand Final.  Unfortunately they were beaten by United in the Grand Final by 17 points with Shaun Hart (soon to be drafted by the Brisbane Bears) kicking four in the final quarter.  Andrews was one of the best players during the finals series.   

1990 saw Andrews return to Rochester and Rochester again finished in the finals, this time 2nd to Euroa.  Rochester did it the hard way after losing the Qualifying Final to Echuca, having to beat Kyabram and then Echuca to reach the Grand Final against Euroa.  The Grand Final of 1990 was a spiteful affair.  Andrews was hit and knocked unconscious behind the play in the opening minutes of the game by ex Essendon and Fitzroy player, Dean Lupson.  He received 13 stitches to the face and took no further part in the game.  Lupson kicked four goals and Euroa came from 5 goals down to overrun an injury depleted Rochester by 23 points.  

Lupson was initially suspended for 12 months and this was upheld at a subsequent appeal.  His legal team then petitioned the GVFL for a rehearing after threatening legal action for restraint of trade.  Lupson was granted a rehearing and suspended for 7 weeks. Lupson was later charged by Shepparton CIB detectives and committed to stand trial for serious assaults.  These charges were later dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions who stated that on-field incidents should be handled by the officiating body.

In 1991 Andrews started his nomadic career, playing with Melton FC in the Riddell District FL.  In 1992 he was cleared to Craigieburn in the RDFL and stayed there till 1995.  In 1992 they finished 3rd under the tutelage of former Coburg legend Peter Freeman.  In 1993 ex North Melbourne player Brendan Ryan took the reigns. Andrews was an integral part of the team that saw Craigieburn FC win its one and only 1st Division premiership, defeating Darley by 28 points on a wet day at Sunbury.  Craigieburn had lost its first two games that year before winning 16 straight to finish the season on top.  Andrews missed 8 games mid season with a serious hamstring injury and made it back prior to the finals.  Darley defeated them in the 2nd semi and they had to do it the hard way, defeating Sunbury by a bug margin in the preliminary final.

In 1994 Coburg Team of the Century player, Ken Ingram, took over coaching.  Craigieburn again played finals before exiting in a thriller in the first semi, beaten by Gisborne by 5 points.  Andrews won the RDFL Div 1 goalkicking award with 91 goals, including 7 in the first semi loss.  He also represented the RDFL against the Ovens and Murray FL in the Vic Health Championships.  In 1995 Craigieburn again played finals in a year where a trio of teams could have won the flag.  Unfortunately they met Melton in the preliminary final, losing by 99 points.  Melton went on to be defeated by Melton South in the Grand Final.  Ironically, Craigieburn had defeated Melton South both times in 1995 by large margins.  Andrews also represented the RDFL in 1995. 

This prelim final loss started a string of Preliminary Final losses for Andrews …...

In 1996 Andrews went to Lalor in the Diamond Valley FL Division 1.  Lalor was coached  by former Collingwood and Richmond child prodigy Terry Keays and was full of former Collingwood and Fitzroy players including Athos Hrysoulakis and others.  Andrews highlight for the year was an 11 goal haul against Greensborough before hamstring injuries and a broken finger derailed the season.  He returned later in the year to help Lalor into 3rd position.  They defeated North Heidelberg in the elimination final (final 4) before being beaten by Bundoora in the prelim final.

From 1991 - 1996 Andrews also represented Victoria in the National Police Football Championships, winning All Australian selection at the Launceston carnival in 1992.

In 1997 Andrews transferred with work to Horsham CIB and took up a position as Assistant Coach of Horsham United.  He kicked 35 goals in the first 5 games including 12 against Dimboola.  He was selected to play for the Wimmera FL against the Sunraysia FL at Red Cliffs and kicked 3 in a strong win.  The following week he suffered a serious finger break after kicking 8 against Warracknabeal and missed the next WFL game against the powerful Mornington Peninsula FL at Frankston.  

Andrews returned for the last half of the season and was an integral part of the success of United, leading them to a great second half comeback against Horsham in the first semi final before being beaten in the preliminary final.  In 1998 Andrews was again at United but with an injury and work interrupted season.  United again made the finals before being beaten again in the preliminary final by St.Michaels at Dimboola.

1999 saw Andrews move to Harrow - Balmoral in the Horsham District FL.  Harrow (formerly Douglas Harrow Miga Lake) and Balmoral had merged at the end of 1996.  1999 was to be the clubs first ever flag.  They lost Round 1 by 10 points to Rupanyup before winning the next 17 straight to finish minor premier.  They defeated Rupanyup in the second semi to proceed straight to the Grand Final.  The following week Kalkee overran Rupanyup to move into the Grand Final.  On a wet day at Horsham City Oval Kalkee held sway for much of the day, holding a 9 point lead late in the final quarter.  Harrow Balmoral then kicked a series of 4 points to whittle away the lead to 5 points.  In the dying 2 minutes of the game Andrews marked near the boundary about 35 metres out and slotted the goal to give Harrow Balmoral a 1 point lead which they held onto.  Andrews kicked 125 goals that year including bags of 17,14,13, 13, 12 and 10.

2000 saw a change of work locations and Andrews was cleared to Wallan FC in the Riddell DFL.  Andrews played in the centre for the majority of the year, happily escaping the goal square.  Wallan finished 2nd before defeating Craigieburn in the second semi to move straight into the Grand Final.  Unfortunately they faced a determined Broadmeadows United in the Grand Final who defeated them by 17 points.

In 2001 Andrews took a gap year with his young family before joining Yea in the now disbanded Central Goulburn FL as Assistant Coach for 2002.  Yea was an unstoppable force that year, finishing on top and easily defeating Shepparton East in the 2nd semi.  Unfortunately they faced a strong Rumbalara side in the Grand Final and went down by 6 points on a 27 degree day at Shepparton East Oval.

In 2003 Andrews took the reigns of a young Nagambie FC in the Kyabram District FL.  They finished 6th that year after losing a number of more experienced Melbourne based players from their 2002 side coached by Robbie AULD.  In 2004 Andrews again coached Nagambie, finishing at the lower end of the table in a disappointing year.  

2005 saw Andrews as playing coach of Broadford in the Heathcote District FL.  Before that came to fruition he was forced to assist the committee getting the club back into the league after the other associated clubs voted the club out due to onfield indiscretions.  This was achieved and the club managed a strong showing, albeit losing half of their Melbourne based playing group after the club was told it would not be permitted to play in the HDFL in 2004.  Andrews guided the young group including former Carlton player Laurence Angwin to 6th place, narrowly missing the finals.  Broadford had the ignominy of failing to score a goal against White Hills on a particularly bleak winter day in Bendigo.  Andrews was also suspended for the one and only time in his career for striking during a match against Lockington Bamawm, missing the zero goal game v White Hills but being able to coach from the sidelines.

In 2006 Andrews returned to playing coach of Nagambie FC.  The club recruited well in the off-season, going down to 2004 premiers Tallygaroopna by 5 goals in Round 1.  Unfortunately a series of injuries and player unavailability meant a torrid season for the young side, finishing last on the ladder.         

In late 2006 Andrews transferred to Robinvale with work and took on the playing coach role at Nyah-Nyah West United in the Central Murray FL.  Andrews coached the side in 2007 and 2008 to 6 and 5 wins.  The club was competitive but not able to fully compete against sides with much more money and drawing power.

In late 2008 Andrews transferred with work to Cobram and was appointed playing coach of Yarroweyah in the Picola District FL.  Yarroweyah had only won 1 game in 2008 but had a great group of young players coming through the ranks.  In 2009 they won 5 games and in 2010 catapulted up the ladder to finish minor premiers.  Yarroweyah defeated Berrigan in the second semi to go straight through to the Grand Final where they would eventually face Strathmerton.

On the day before the Grand Final at Jerilderie the heavens opened up and the drought broke, bringing over 7 inches of rain.  The ground was basically under an inch of water when play started.  Yarroweyah, with their young and fit side, struggled against the bigger bodies Strathmerton, going down by 2 goals.  Andrews had taken the unusual step of dropping himself from the side during the finals in favour of his returning Assistant Coach, a decision many believe influenced the Grand Final outcome.

Andrews won the Goulburn Murray Coaches Association Coach of the Year award in 2010. 

In 2011 Andrews again coached Yarroweyah. In the final round they had to beat Deniliquin while hoping Berrigan could win.  Yarroweyah won by 3 points in a thriller but Berrigan buckled and the Grasshoppers missed the finals on percentage.  Andrews signed off from the Hoppers at the end of 2011 and returned to work at Seymour.  During 2012 he returned to Yarroweyah in a purely playing capacity when the side was struggling for experience.

in 2013 and 2014 Andrews took on an umpiring role with the Goulburn Valley.  In 2015 Andrews again pulled the boots on at the age of 46, helping out old friend and Gisborne player Rob Waters who was coaching North Ballarat.  Unfortunately Andrews suffered his most serious injury in the final game of the year, rupturing his meniscus and requiring surgery and rehabilitation.  

In 2016 Andrews signed on as non-playing coach at Maryborough Rovers FC in the Maryborough Castlemaine District FL.  The magpies had an interesting year, losing in the opening Friday night game to Talbot on the last kick of the evening.  The club eventually won 7 games but missed the finals after upset losses to Campbells Creek and Lexton.  Andrews left the club at the end of 2016 to spend more time with his family and coached his son's junior side at Ballarat Swans in 2017.    
Andrews also coached the Ballarat Reclink football side in 2018 and played a couple of games with them at the tender age of 49.  Andrews now resides in Ballarat and has been a member of Victoria Police for 33 years.    

Contributors to this page: Bombasheldon and Jarusa .
Page last modified on Friday 05 of August, 2022 22:44:40 AEST by Bombasheldon.

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