Happy 50th – Andrew Underwood (#9 & #2)
Best that I start here…
Draft selection: 9, Andrew Payze from West Torrens. Played 0 matches with Essendon.
Draft selection: 22, Kieran Sporn from West Adelaide. Played 72 matches with Essendon.
Draft selection: 35, Peter Reid from Sturt. Played 0 matches with Essendon.
Draft selection: 48, Stephen Riley from North Adelaide. Played 0 matches with Essendon.
Draft selection: 61, Andrew Underwood from Sturt. Played 12 matches with Essendon.
Yep, that’s the list of players that we picked in the first National Draft in 1986*. Looking back, that is slim pickings!
OK so I was in my first year of Uni in Qld and the short story is that one of the other 1st year students I ended up living with on campus (4 guys & 4 girls in a shared appt) was from Adelaide & had just play a year of U19’s at Sturt.. So by the time Andrew Underwood came across to the Bombers (pre-season 1989), I was back living in Melbourne. My mate back at Uni had raved about his ability, big unit, etc. I had high expectations!
Underwood debuted Round 1, 1989, playing well as the Dons beat the Coolers at Windy Hill (no the Windsock game was in 1991…). So I was up beat that we have picked up a good player late in the draft. I recall the next game against Melbourne, Underwood was basically knocked out in the first term, stats read 1 free for and 1 kick. I’m pretty sure it was Todd Viney, but he wasn’t playing, so let’s go with Rod Grinter, as he was. Actually I met Rod earlier this year, a cracking fella, he showed me the scar on his hand where Terry Wallace tried to bite him…But I digress.
Underwood’s form dropped off mid-season and he was dropped after round 12, not to play seniors again in 1989. I think the round 2 incident had an impact, as he missed round 3. He played only 1 game in 1990 (let’s not mentioned the GF) and was traded to Richmond at seasons end, where he played 12 more games. Ironically, his last winning game for the Tigers was Round 17 against the Bombers at Windy Hill, he got 2 Brownlow votes in arguably his best ever game…
Richmond sent him packing at the end of 1991, he returned to Adelaide and played out the next few years back at his original club Sturt.
So happy 50th Andrew, for July 14, I’m sure you had a great night out in Hindley Street! Tell Andrew Payze & Darren Smith what they missed out on by not coming to Windy Hill. Oh and congrats on your 24 VFL/AFL games, that’s 24 more than me.
*Worth noting that as the AFL were about to announce an Adelaide team, most SA based players drafted never came across (for the Bombers, Payze – pick 9 in ’86 & Darren Smith pick 11 in ’89 were notables. we still managed to get Gavin Wanganeen to come, pick 12 in ’89).