Kick out of league
By GREG WHITE
FORTY years after starting out as just another starry-eyed kid in the Bellingen junior rugby league, the wheel has come full circle for Magpie man, Jim Anderson.
Group 2 has honoured Anderson with life membership, something he's still coming to grips with.
"Getting the acknowledgement from the Group was a very proud moment," he said of the award from his peers.
"The last thing you think about when you start in the game is getting awards.
"All you want to do is kick a ball around and win a few matches if you get lucky."
Starting out in 1965, Anderson graduated to seniors in 1970 and played for what he describes as "too long."
While still playing he joined the Magpie's committee, became secretary in 1977 and held the position for eight years until leaving for a career in the police force.
Transferred back to Bellingen in 1984, Anderson resumed his administrative role in what was a golden decade for the Bellingen club.
"All those premierships and the Clayton Cup for best country team," he remembered.
"It was an exciting time with great memories and many friendships made."
Elected to Group 2 management in 1994, Anderson has remained a fixture in local football to the present day.
During a brief leave of absence from the police force he entered the hotel industry while continuing to commute from Armidale on football business.
Now finally retired as a policeman, or so he says, Anderson is Group 2 treasurer.
"We're in the best financial position for a number of years," he said, a fact club delegates didn't miss at the AGM when acclaiming his financial prowess.
"The game is in an evolutionary mode, something it's always been in.
"We can have our disagreements but everyone soon realises we're all united by football."
While admitting administration can be draining, Anderson says it has its rewards.
In recent years, his policing skills have been widely used as a negotiator, particularly in the delicate dispute involving Gimbisi Valley.
"If people are talking to each other and are honest about their problems, things rarely are as bad as they seem," he said.
"The Group management is there to help but there's little we can do if the clubs don't open up."
Anderson has no plans to retire but will be content to move on if he feels the tap on the shoulder.
"Nobody has a right to the job," he has often said.
"While they keep voting you in, you stay involved and be helpful wherever you can."