Tigers Neil Irwin to Play his 150th 1st Grade Game
Veteran backline player Neil Irwin will take the playing field for the Queanbeyan Tigers against Tuggeranong at Greenway Oval on Saturday for his 150th 1st Grade game. In an ironic twist he was originally a Tuggeranong Lions Junior before crossing to play under age footy for the Tigers.
Being a resident of “nappy valley” provided closeness to the Junior Tuggeranong Club but it was never an issue where he would play his senior grade football with his grandfather Stan Anderson being a prolific footballer in his days with the Tigers Club along with Uncles Robert and Ian Anderson both playing senior footy for the Tigers – Robert being one of the great Tiger players having 229 1st Grade games to his credit along with a stint with Footscray (now Western bulldogs of the AFL).
Stan was a hard nosed tough player in his days who played in the 1961 Grand Final before retiring to become one of the longest ever serving Sports Medicine Trainers for the Club. His grandmother Bernice provided untold hours assisting with the Ladies Committees throughout the sixties / seventies era and is still an avid fan of the Club attending most games the Tigers are involved.
Neil has undoubtedly some of his grandfather’s qualities with his on field battles becoming legendary during his 150 1st Grade stint. This is probably no more so than in recent years with a younger Jess White of the Sydney Swans with their on field battles being something to look forward to. This was particularly so in the 2012 Grand Final with “big Neilo” taking the honours – as did the Tigers to win their first ever NEAFL Eastern Conference premiership.
There is no doubt of his loyalty to the Club naming his business Tigermade Constructions and employing a number of players in recent years. In addition he never seeks any remuneration for his efforts which indeed is a rarity in the quality competition the Tigers are now part of.
If he continues playing in 2014 he will rack up 200 Club Games and join grand father Stan Anderson and uncle Robert Anderson as Wall of Fame and Walk of Honour Inductees in addition to being awarded Life Membership.
Former Tuggeranong / Queanbeyan Junior player
1st Grade Games – 149, Reserve Grade Games – 37
Tigers Scholarship recipient – 1999
Reserve Grade Grand Finalist – 2001, 2003
First Grade Grand Finalist – 2004, 2007
First Grade Most Improved – 2004
Tigers Spirit Award – 2010
First Grade Most Determined – 2011
NEAFL EC Premiership Player 2012
NEAFL Conference Grand Final Player
The Tigers play the Hawks in all three grades on Saturday at Artic Park, the Under 18’s commence the day at 9.30am. The Tigerettes have the bye.