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Family helps lift Anderson to new heights

Anderson's first game back a success Jed Anderson speaks to HawksTV about returning back to footy after missing for a year.
Jed Anderson of the Hawks in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 1 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Collingwood Magpies at Aurora Stadium, Launceston on February 26, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jed Anderson.

SPENDING time with his new family has given Jed Anderson a new perspective on football.

Young in football terms and experience, Anderson is rich in life experience, having grown up in the Northern Territory then moving to Sydney to follow his AFL dream.

He did that all while dealing with the loss of his father, the man who had and continues to inspire the young Hawk.

Then, upon his arrival at Hawthorn he burst onto the scene in his debut season, where he played six games including the 2013 Qualifying Final.

Prior to 2014 he spent time in an NT hospital with pneumonia, then when he finally worked his way back to full health and fitness, he injured his shoulder in his first game.

He would miss the rest of the season and watch on as his teammates won their second premiership in as many years.

Missing out on a Grand Final berth in 2013 was hard enough, but watching on again the following year, this time injured was even tougher.

But through the hard times, Anderson, 22, has matured.

Starting a young family with partner Nicky, where they ‘ve welcomed sons Elijah and then Jasiah nine weeks ago, the football challenges he has already had to face have been put in perspective.

“Having Nicky and Elijah at home really helped,” Anderson told about his year out of the game.

“They took my mind away from footy and everything I was doing here and how well the boys were going.

“Being able to go home and play around in the backyard and going out and doing stuff with them, it really took my mind off footy.”

Anderson made his return from injury in last Thursday night’s NAB Challenge opener against Collingwood and was one of Hawthorn’s shining light.

Although the undermanned Hawks were well beaten, Anderson’s performance was a taste of what 2015 might hold.

The young Hawk picked up 26 disposals – just two fewer than leading disposal winner Sam Mitchell – had 10 inside 50s, four clearances and kicked a goal.

It was an outstanding performance from the youngster, who said thoughts of his family helped him relax pre-game.

“They sort of gave me a bit of inspiration as well going into the game on Thursday night in how to prepare and take it easy then once you step over the white line, go all out,” he said.

“That’s how I prepare during the week to take my mind off footy then when it comes to Thursday or Friday, you really crack down and know what you have to do on the weekend.”

But Anderson’s performance even surprised himself.

He had modest expectations heading into Thursday night.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking at the start of the game – I don’t know really how to explain how I was feeling,” he said.

“I was a bit overwhelmed getting back out there after a full season out and watching the boys all last year and coming out with a premierships, I just wanted to get out there and have a crack.

“I didn’t pressure myself to playing good from the start – it was more about getting the feel.

“I thought I might have taken a bit of time to get into the game but from the first quarter I settled in well and continued on from there.”

Hawthorn will take on North Melbourne in its second NAB Challenge game on Sunday in Shepparton. Tickets are on sale now.