K rock Football

Magpies’ Milestone Man

Anthony Kilsby in action for North Geelong. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

FOR two decades, North Geelong veteran Anthony Kilsby has adopted a simple philosophy to the game;  “I love playing footy … I don’t know what else I’d do on a Saturday afternoon.”

On Saturday, he will bring up another milestone in what has been a glittering career when he runs out for his 400th open age match in the Magpies’ clash with Bell Post Hill.

“I’ve known it was coming for a little bit, but it’s one thing, once I’ve done – whenever that’ll be – it’ll be something I look back on and appreciate a little bit more,” Kilsby said.

“I’m just thinking of this week, to be honest; just getting through, week-by-week, and being able to get myself each time.

“That’s the main thought process at the moment.”

Kilsby started his career with Kalangadoo in South Australia’s Mid South-East league, where he played 191 games, either side of a stint at Western Border club North Gambier that yielded 137 games, playing in two premierships with both clubs.

The 38-year-old has also played six games at interleague level, while also being good enough to represent South Australia Country in a match against South Australia Amateurs.

Saturday is Kilsby’s 65th for the Magpies after arriving at Keith Barclay Oval ahead of the 2016 season for a couple of simple reasons.

“I played at Kalangadoo and they were the Magpies. And I played at North Gambier, so NGFC there,” he said.

“It was a link between being black and white and being NGFC – two clubs that I played with.

“’Keysy’ (then coach Daniel Kee) got my number somehow and gave me a call. I went down and met with him and clicked with him pretty well, and that was it.

“It was pretty much an easy decision to make to have a crack with those guys.”

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After starting as a forward following the departure of reigning Whitley medallist and GDFL leading goal kicker, Kilsby has settled in defence after commencing his career down back.

“Over a couple of years, we hadn’t been going as well, things get a little bit harder up forward,” he said.

“So, I wasn’t too fussed about going back. I started my senior at full-back, so it wasn’t a hard thing to go back to.

“I’ve enjoyed getting back there, and having ‘Matho’ (Darren Mathisen) back there again this year has definitely helped out.”

North Geelong remains in the hunt for a finals berth after six wins from 13 rounds, but Kilsby admits they will need everything to go right if the Magpies are to return to finals action.

“We had a nice draw early on. Dropping that East Geelong game (in Round 3) might hurt us in the end,” he said.

“Again, injuries have played a fairly big part in how we’ve gone, I reckon.

“Losing Lachie (Wright) and ‘Ringo’ (Steve Richert), and then ‘Keysy’ (Daniel Kee) hasn’t helped.

“But I think the last month – apart from the Werribee game; they touched us up – the two performances against Bannockburn and Thomson were very promising.

“We’d have loved to have pinched the points, that’s for sure.”

No matter what happens in the remaining five rounds, new coach Ayden George has laid a solid foundation for 2020.

However, Kilsby isn’t sure whether he’ll be part of it.

“I think my body’s slowly starting to tell me it’s nearly had enough,” he said.

“I’ve been pretty lucky. I broke my eye socket a couple of years ago and that was the biggest layoff I’ve had and that was six weeks. I worked out I’ve only missed 10 games (in my career).

“But I think the soft-tissue stuff is creeping up on me, so I’ll see how I go.

“I think the missus would be keen to have me around the home a little bit more if we decide to expand the family.

“It could be a combination of factors if I do call time, but we’ll wait-and-see at the end of the season.

“I know I’ll have itchy feet come pre-season.”

Twitter: @tom_king79
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