24.9°C 03:00 pm

Wiz closing in

Saturday, 25th May, 2019

North’s Anthony Henderson (left) and former Bulldog star Jason Simmons at the Jubilee Oval. Henderson needs three goals to overtake Simmons on North’s all-time goal-kicking list. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan North’s Anthony Henderson (left) and former Bulldog star Jason Simmons at the Jubilee Oval. Henderson needs three goals to overtake Simmons on North’s all-time goal-kicking list. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

Anthony ‘Wizza’ Henderson is within three goals of the North Football Club’s all-time record following a bag of six in last Saturday’s win over South.

Henderson, who has played 186 games for the Bulldogs, has been one of the premier forwards in the Broken Hill competition with an ability to play both as a lead up and a small, crumbing forward. He currently sits on 477 goals, two behind the all-time record.

“I never thought I’d get here (to the point of breaking the record),” Henderson said.

“It was all just about playing footy with your mates, not to get to number one.” 

He’s been a consistent force in the Bulldog forward line since debuting in 2006 with his best return coming in 2017 with 68 goals. Henderson looked odds on to take the record last season but a run of poor form saw him kick just 11 goals in 11 League appearances and lose his place in the senior team.

“It (the record) definitely has (been on my mind) for a while,” he said.

“Going back to last year, I think I put too much pressure on myself and there was a lot of outside talk about it and it sort of slipped away but I’ve got back to playing basic football and letting the scoreboard come as it does.”

While he’s only played four matches so far in 2019, Henderson looks to be getting back to his best, especially after booting six goals in North’s 40-point win over South last round. 

“It’s been a long and hard road to get back to where I’m at now but it’s been about getting back to basics,” Henderson admitted.

“It’s been a challenge but I’m starting to feel more at home and at ease (on the ground). Instead of trying to make it happen, I just had to let it happen. Play the team role and as it comes it comes.”

Jason Simmons holds the goal kicking record for North with 479 career goals, having taken that mantle from David Ruddock in 1998, but that could well change after Saturday. Simmons played 213 games for the Dogs from 1989 until 2002 and a 69-goal haul in 1997 was his best season.

There’s definitely no hard feelings between the pair of sharpshooters, with Simmons saying he’s pleased someone is finally surpassing his record.

“As we all know records are there to be broken,” Simmons said.

“It’d be a boring old life if no one ever broke records and given that it is Anthony, who I helped coach for a season, it’s good to pass it on to someone I’ve seen play, and who’s such a good bloke.”

They might have over 900 League goals for the Bulldogs between them but Simmons and Henderson are quite different in terms of playing style. Simmons was more of a traditional key forward while Henderson is more suited to that small-forward role.

“Goals are goals and it doesn’t matter where you get them from,” Simmons said.

“I don’t think he (Henderson) is just a forward, I think he could play just about anywhere on the ground.”

North FC president Justin Hoskins paid tribute to Henderson, saying that the record will be well-deserved.

“Records are made to be broken and we have been hoping for a champion full forward to come and take this record ever since Jason (Simmons) retired,” he said. 

“Even though ‘Wizza’ (Anthony Henderson) isn’t the big bodied full forward we have always been after, he is a true champion and we couldn’t be happier to see him break the all-time goal kicking record for the Bulldogs.”

“After a challenging 2018, ‘Wiz’ has been slowly returning to his best form after committing to pre-season and training at a high level,” Hoskins added.  

“He deserves to be the North Football Club goal-kicking record holder; at least until Taylor and Ellie Walker have three sons who come and play for us and kick 100 goals per year each year from 2035 until they retire!”

© Copyright 2020 Barrier Daily Truth, All Rights Reserved. ABN: 38 684 603 658