KADE Duel played soccer as a kid but switched codes as a teenager. Despite the change, the silky skilled midfielder was a natural at football and won several best and fairests throughout his career. He won a flag at Murray Magpies and is a 'Duel' premiership player at Jindera. Duel caught-up with The Border Mail's BRENT GODDE.
BRENT GODDE: You didn't start playing football until you were a teenager?
KADE DUEL: I played soccer as a kid before deciding to have a go at football when I was nearly 13.
BG: You played soccer against a young Archie Thompson?
KD: Archie was a freak as a kid and it wasn't surprising to see him have such a stellar career and play for the Socceroos.
BG: What led you to switch codes?
KD: I enjoyed playing soccer but most of my mates were playing football so I thought I would try something different.
BG: You played all your junior football for North Albury?
KD: Once I started playing football with my mates I loved it and I didn't really play much soccer again.
BG: You were a natural at football and won several best and fairest awards in the juniors including the thirds in 1996?
KD: I was lucky enough to win an under-15s and a thirds best and fairest. I think playing soccer when I was younger helped a lot with my foot skills.
BG: You played a handful of senior matches at Bunton Park?
KD: It was the late 1990s and I managed a few senior matches under Ernie Whitehead.
BG: You were also doing your apprenticeship as a refrigeration mechanic at the time?
KD: Football sort of took a back seat to my employment for a few seasons because I had to go to Sydney for TAFE in two week blocks.
BG: Not ideal when you are trying to establish yourself in the O&M?
KD: I found I would go alright in the seniors but then get dropped when I couldn't train while I was in Sydney which was a fair enough call at the time.
BG: In 1999 you decided to join Howlong under coach Damian Hale?
KD: Looking back I was fairly shy when I was younger and struggled to get the best out of myself while at Howlong. I was still going to TAFE in Sydney which wasn't ideal.
BG: Any particular reason you chose to join the Spiders?
KD: Troy Cole who I played alongside at North Albury was going out there and asked if I would be interested in going as well.
BG: The following season in 2000 you joined Murray Magpies who were still in the Coreen league at the time?
KD: Even though it wasn't far to travel to Howlong, I found it appealing to be able to train in town at Urana Road and I had a couple of mates playing at Magpies.
BG: Steve Hetherton was coach of Murray Magpies?
KD: I didn't know 'Heo' until I arrived at the Magpies but we have been good mates ever since.
BG: Hetherton was a prolific goalkicker in the Coreen league?
KD: I used to like watching 'Heo' in full-flight and he kicked some big bags at the Magpies. It's fair to say that he had a short-fuse and wouldn't take a backward step when the opposition targeted him.
BG: Personally, you started to find your own form at Magpies?
KD: I had finished TAFE so I could do all the training which makes a huge difference. I was at the Magpies for three seasons and finished runner-up in the best and fairest twice.
BG: 2001 was a memorable year for the Murray Magpies after claiming their only flag since forming in 1999?
KD: It was a huge occasion for the club and one of the most enjoyable seasons of my career because it was satisfying to be part of the club's first flag.
BG: Hetherton got his jaw broken in two places against Jerilderie three rounds before the finals series?
KD: A lot of people thought that it was season over for 'Heo' but underestimated how tough a player he was. With a flag up for grabs I knew he would do everything he could to get back.
BG: The club cited the Jerilderie player responsible?
KD: He copped eight weeks at the tribunal and missed the grand final.
BG: Hetherton made a surprise appearance in the preliminary final?
KD: It certainly was a surprise to see him come back so early but I think he wanted to get a game under his belt before the grand final.
BG: It turned out to be a thrilling preliminary final with the Magpies hanging on to win by two points?
KD: I remember we were kicking against the wind in the last quarter. It was just a matter of trying to hang on and we spent the whole quarter chipping the ball sideways and backwards. Heo kicked four goals for the match so we were fortunate he decided to play.
BG: During the finals series you had a week off and on the Saturday took a bus out to Oaklands for a training run because that's where the grand final was being held?
KD: I think 'Heo' was fairly innovative in that regard and there wouldn't have been any coaches in the Coreen league at the time that would have thought of doing that.
BG: You faced Jerilderie in the grand final and the Demons chose to taunt Hetherton on their banner?
KD: Jerilderie had won the previous two flags and were aiming for three-in-a-row. I remember running out onto the ground and their banner read 'Let's make it three-in-a-row, it will be a real jaw breaker.'
BG: Did the comment shock you?
KD: Not really, there was a huge rivalry between the clubs and 'Heo' was certainly a big part of that being coach.
BG: Jerilderie were the red-hot favourites in the decider and had beaten you in the previous six encounters?
KD: They had but there had been some tight encounters and we knew if we performed to our best that they were certainly beatable.
BG: Hetherton was the hero in the decider as the Magpies claimed their maiden flag?
KD: 'Heo' was and he booted eight goals which was an unbelievable performance considering his preparation. From memory he went into the match on 96 goals but we all didn't realise he kicked his 100th until after the match.
BG: How were the celebrations?
KD: Being the club's first flag, they were huge. Phil Nicholson was the publican at The Boomerang at the time and really looked after us.
BG: The Magpies were despised by rival sides within the league?
KD: We were because we were the new kids on the block and were fairly successful early. But that's football and everybody is entitled to their opinion.
BG: You were involved in some fiery matches during your time at Urana Road Oval?
KD: I'm not sure why but it always seemed to be fiery when we played Coreen-Daysdale United. One particular match at Urana Road Oval got fairly ugly.
BG: After three years at Murray Magpies you decided to travel overseas and missed three seasons?
KD: I missed 2003-05. Originally I was only going to go for 12 months but I loved it that much I ended up travelling for three years. I rate it one of the best decisions that I made in life.
BG: Did you miss not playing football?
KD: I really did miss not playing football but I have no regrets about my decision to head overseas.
BG: You decided to join Jindera when you returned to the Border in 2006?
KD: 'Heo' was coaching Jindera and had kept in contact with me while I had been overseas so I followed him out to the kennel.
BG: It didn't take long for you to make up for lost time after winning back-to-back best and fairests at the kennel?
KD: After missing so much football I couldn't wait to play again. We had a fairly handy side and played finals in both 2006-07.
BG: You attribute Hetherton to turning around the fortunes of the Bulldogs?
KD: I think the club hadn't played finals once in the previous seven years before 2006.
BG: Albury premiership ruckman Corey Whittaker replaced Hetherton at the helm at the start of 2007.
KD: Unfortunately he did replace 'Heo'. To cut a long story short, I just didn't connect with Corey as a coach.
BG: You were ready to quit Jindera?
KD: I was leaving and I wasn't the only one and there were talks of a player exodus. I went and had a few training runs at Murray Magpies under coach Andrew Robertson.
BG: You phoned Geoff Boyle and asked to meet up with him because you wanted to tell him face to face you were leaving the Bulldogs for the Magpies?
KD: I met with Geoff and he told me the club has basically sacked Corey because of the backlash from players. Geoff replaced Corey at the helm.
BG: How did you rate Boyle as a coach?
KD: Geoff was fantastic and we ended up playing finals again which was a good effort with the list we had.
BG: It was a sliding door moment for the club?
KD: Undoubtedly, if the club didn't sack Corey there would have been a player exodus. The club then wouldn't have won its two most recent flags in 2008 and 2011.
BG: The Bulldogs had a young side in 2007?
KD: It was a young side but Geoff put a lot of faith in the kids and instilled a lot of confidence in them which led to future success.
BG: The following season in 2008 Robbie Murray was appointed coach?
KD: It was a huge recruiting coup for the club at the time with Robbie finishing up in the O&M. Robbie is obviously my brother-in-law and I would like to think I had some influence in getting him to the kennel.
BG: Mark 'Bomber' HIlton followed Murray to Jindera?
KD: We had the nucleus of a good side but Robbie, 'Bomber', Nic Holman and James Quarmby added the class we needed to be a genuine flag contender.
BG: The cherry on top was the mid-season arrival of a 20-year-old Joel Mackie who had returned home from a stint in the SANFL?
KD: Mackie was just a bull in the midfield and dominated in the bush. But to be honest, there wasn't a weak link in the whole side and every line had class players.
BG: Ken Stevenson was running the bench for Murray?
KD: Ken was big on midfield rotations and resting players on the bench which was innovative at the time and something a lot of the players weren't used to.
BG: Previously midfielders used to rest in a forward pocket or on a flank?
KD: It was a big change at the time but it didn't take long to see the benefit of resting on the bench. A few supporters weren't happy but the players went along with it.
BG: Despite boasting a star-studded side, the Bulldogs missed out on the top-two and the double chance during finals?
KD: Because there were so many new faces we probably didn't hit our straps until the second half of the season. But we were brimming with confidence ahead of the finals series and knew we could win four straight finals.
BG: You are not a fan of the top-six finals format?
KD: No, I'm more of a traditionalist and think if you finish third you should also get the double chance.
BG: History says Jindera flogged sides during the finals series?
KD: We beat Lockhart by 118-points and then flogged Holbrook by 161-points the following week. We had a comfortable eight goal win in the preliminary final against Culcairn.
BG: You met Osborne in the decider?
KD: I think we kicked seven goals to two in the first quarter to set up a 51-point win. The club hadn't won a flag since 1975 so it was a huge occasion because the reserves and netball had also done well.
BG: There were a lot of long suffering supporters who finally got to enjoy the ultimate success?
KD: Just to the jubilation on the faces of blokes like 'Strop' Weldon, Des Ryan and Geoff Boyle who had sons playing in the side was priceless.
BG: A lot of good judges rate the 2008 premiership as perhaps the greatest in Hume league history?
KD: It's a tough question to answer and everybody will have different opinions. It was one of the best I've seen during my playing career but the history in the Hume league goes back a long way. Obviously Osborne has had some unbelievable sides during its golden era.
BG: You thought Bryce Scott didn't get the accolades he deserved?
KD: Bryce wasn't the hardest trainer or the fittest bloke but he had an uncanny knack to play some unbelievable games and really hurt the opposition.
BG: You were also a huge fan of big Ben Ryan?
KD: As a midfielder Ben was an awesome tap ruckman and certainly gave his midfielders an armchair ride. He was also a big unit who didn't mind throwing his weight around.
BG: You lost a few players after the flag triumph?
KD: Mackie, Holman and Quarmby left plus a few others.
BG: You faced Culcairn in the preliminary final in 2009?
KD: It was a thrilling final and Mick Blomley kicked a goal in the dying seconds to send us into the decider. It was a bit of an upset really because Culcairn were expected to win.
BG: You rate Culcairn and Osborne as your biggest rivals during that era?
KD: Looking back Culcairn won the flag in 2007, we did in 2008 and Osborne in 2009. There wasn't much between the three sides which the results probably reflect.
BG: Osborne beat you in the grand final fairly comfortably?
KD: Osborne won by six goals. Looking back we probably played our grand final the previous week against Culcairn. But it was good to make another grand final and give yourself a chance of winning it.
BG: The following season in 2010 Dale 'Daisy' McFaull replaced Robbie Murray as coach?
KD: I think the club put the feelers out for a coach from outside the club but didn't have any luck. 'Daisy' was good enough to put up his hand and I thought he did a great job under the circumstances.
BG: 'Daisy' did the coaching job for next to nothing?
KD: 'Daisy' did it for the love of the club which I respected greatly. We played finals which was a good effort with the list we had.
BG: The following season in 2011 Ken Stevenson was appointed coach. By all reports Stevenson was a polarising figure at the kennel?
KD: That would be a fair comment but personally I always got along well with him. Ken knew what he wanted and how he wanted to do it and didn't waiver from that which I respected.
BG: Stevenson did ruffle a few feathers internally?
KD: Ken wasn't liked by everybody including a few club officials but some people don't like change and he did go about things a bit differently.
BG: You were a fan of Stevenson?
KD: History says he won us a flag and you can't do much more than that.
BG: Hilton coming out of retirement was significant?
KD: I think 'Bomber' kicked 100 goals that season which is a fair effort in the twilight of your career. Especially considering Trent Castles was in the side as well.
BG: You finished outside the top-two and were faced with the tough task of winning straight finals?
KD: Ken was big on fitness and we rated ourselves as the fittest side in the competition.
BG: You faced Holbrook in the decider?
KD: I think most people thought we were underdogs but internally we were brimming with confidence. They had some stars in Jarrod Twitt, Michael Lamb, Jim Grills and Mikal Bloom.
BG: The match was up for grabs in the last quarter?
KD: I thought our superior fitness was the difference in the end.
BG: You announced your retirement in the lead-up to the decider?
KD: I was lucky to go out on the ultimate high. There was 'Bomber' Hilton, Ryan Storey, Aaron Lezius and myself who all retired.
BG: You still has a run around in the reserves after you retired?
KD: I retired from the seniors because I had a young family and my business was time consuming but I still enjoyed having a kick on the weekends in the reserves.
BG: You also had a stint with Murray Crays?
KD: I played a bit with the Crays which was also enjoyable?
BG: You have also played in the Bali Masters 9's on several occasions?
KD: I loved playing over there and did it on three occasions.
BG: You suffered a knee injury in Bali?
KD: I had hurt my knee before I arrived over there but didn't bother to get any medical advice. Which was a bit stupid because I lasted two minutes in Bali and my knee gave away.
BG: You have since had a knee reconstruction?
KD: I did about 18 months ago but I had to have an arthroscope since and it hasn't healed as well as I had hoped.
BG: You have been heavily involved with the North Albury Auskick?
KD: I've been president for a while and the kids love it there.