Grassroots to Legends: Ashley Gordon
From being the first ever signing for the nib Newcastle Knights to being an icon for players past, present and future, Knights TV sat down with Ashley ‘Flash’ Gordon to celebrate Junior League Appreciation Round and learn about his path from grassroots footy to a Knights legend, and how his time as a junior helped shape his career.
‘Flash’ had an illustrious career with the Knights, playing 71 games between 1989-1995, where he held countless records for try scoring and goal kicking. He was also awarded the Dally M Winger of the Year in 1990; the first Knight to ever receive the prestigious award.
Gordon started junior league at Cardiff, before moving to Souths Newcastle in first grade at the age of 16.
“I grew up in a little town called Brewarrina and we played a lot of footy out there,” Gordon said.
“We lived and breathed footy. Coming to Newcastle, the way we played the game was very open and distinctive… I took a lot of risks and often it paid off. “
“I remember the first time we played I did a chip-kick from the kick-off, I was told if I did it again, I would be taken off.”
Looking to inspire the next generation of juniors playing rugby league, Gordon explained that his source of inspiration in his younger days was remembering his history as an Aboriginal youth, and the llong lasting memories and friendships he made from junior league.
“I was taught that from a very young age from my parents,” Gordon stated.
“You’ve got to always remember where you come from… coming from South Newcastle is a special place in my heart. We played in a grand final, I’ve got good mates from Souths.”
Fond of reminiscing about his time with Cardiff and with Souths, Gordon is thankful for the mateship that he picked up as a junior that has helped develop friendships and social skills along the way.
While being inspired by professional players and the NRL is important, young players should look to play junior league for fun and to enjoy themselves.
“Don’t be worried about what is on the TV… play footy for fun and play to enjoy yourself," is Gordon's advice.
"Back yourself, support your mates… if you’re not a Knights player, then that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with playing 100 or 200 games for your local club…you will really enjoy the mateship, comradeship and being around a team.”