I was born in Ceduna, started school in Port Lincoln, completed primary school in Coober Pedy and finished high school back in Port Lincoln. I am the youngest of three with two older sisters. The smell of freshly cut grass and overcast mornings is how I remember my days at Lincoln South Primary School (Lincoln Gardens).
I remember my first football game for Mallee Park and still have the trophy from that season. My first goal was at the town primary school oval. I stood about five metres from goal when the ball landed in my arms and the umpire blew his whistle yelling "mark!" One of the older boys put his arm around me and told me to kick it through the middle. I went back, started walking forward into a slow jog and kicked it as hard as I could and it went straight for the middle...then curved left for a point. Soon the ball came back as I was on the goal line when I picked it up for a quick little sledge-hammer kick over the line so I had just done a seven-point play (fist pump).
We moved to Coober Pedy when I was about 10. Growing up in a multicultural town was quite an experience. My first job there was with some other boys, putting price tags on basketball cards for $5. I shot my first kangaroo (malu) with Dad when I was 11 and now I take my boys hunting with me. Returning to Port Lincoln was something I put off for as long as possible so Mum let me finish the school year off first. I returned in 2000 for summer. The weather was not as hot as Coober Pedy and I was often asked why was I wearing jeans and a jumper when it was "hot". It took me a week or so to adjust.
I started at Port Lincoln High School that year, where I met Antoinette then fell in love around 2001. We completed year 12, then had our first child Shauna when we were 18. We moved around for a bit including to Western Australia when Anti got a job in sport and rec and I worked in the local abattoir. When we decided to go back to Port Lincoln we had little Cliffy; two years later Leo was born. After buying our home I thought we needed a dog - we didn't, I know that now so lesson learnt. Anyway his name is Snowy, he's a husky and likes to trash our yard.
I want to play sport for as long as I can so health and fitness are important. With huge support from Anti I recently finished second in an eight-week challenge at F45 so shout out to the team for a life-changing experience. I had the privilege of playing football with my dad when he was in his 50s so I hope to do the same with my boys. I now coach under 11s, which little Cliffy plays in. He's already better than me and also plays under 9s with Leo. He always tries to kick the ball to him. Shauna plays netball and has had a pretty good career and will no doubt continue to excel.
For the past nine years I have worked at the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service in the social and emotional wellbeing team. I have a Graduate Diploma in Substance Use through Sydney Uni so I also provide drug and alcohol support. With an active family that plays multiple sports life is pretty fast and full on but I would not change it. Anti makes life easy. With the talent these kids have I suspect life will get a lot faster. Talent definitely skipped a generation in my case. I love watching my children play sport so I will try to stay in one piece hoping one day I can play alongside them.
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