Interleague debutant Jamie Anderson has overcome three shoulder reconstructions to make his first rep team at 26.
The 193cm Anderson has been superb in defence for Wangaratta and been rewarded in Saturday’s game against Western Region at Yarrawonga’s JC Lowe Oval.
He spent two years with the Pies in 2014-15, but has returned an improved player after two years with the Doutta Stars.
“Yeah, I think so, I’ve just got a little bigger and stronger, I’ve had three shoulder recos over the past few years,” he said.
“I’m coming off my first year where I haven’t had shoulder surgery straight after the season and that’s made a pretty big difference spending a summer in the gym rather than sitting around waiting for my shoulder to heal.”
Anderson’s surgeries were on both shoulders.
“They never fully dislocated, I just had the labrum (which is attached to the rim of the shoulder socket), it was almost made of tissue paper and it would tear fairly easily,” he said.
‘It was basically get your surgery done, do your rehab and get into the gym as quickly as you can.
“Having them back-to-back makes them pretty weak and that contributes to doing them a couple of times, but I’ve been able to do that (get some work into them) at the moment.”
Boasting a lean physique at just 85kg, Anderson will play at fullback.
“I think because of my height, my speed’s my real strength,” he said.
“At my height, there’s not many people I play against that are as quick as me so I can sit off a little bit and back myself to close them down.”
Anderson not only plays a similar game to rep and club mate Michael Bordignon, he also looks like him.
Bordignon was sensational in last year’s win over Goulburn Valley, along with best on ground Jono Spina.
The pair will again form the nucleus in defence, while former Werribee star Nick Meredith (Lavington) and Wangaratta’s Dylan Van Berlo add tremendous marking ability.
The midfield boasts last year’s Morris Medal runner-up Mark Whiley and this season’s early season favourite in Albury’s Brayden O’Hara.
The league was hoping to name Yarrawonga’s Lach Howe and North Albury’s Shaun Mannagh, but they were named for Collingwood and Richmond at VFL level respectively on Thursday.