Alex Georgiou – the Competitor

 

The 2013 Grand final v North Adelaide (Photo provided by the NFC and permission granted to use)

 

 

 Photo courtesy of and permission granted by the Norwood Football Club to use 

 

Alexis David Georgiou aka Mr Bean
Born:  1/2/1990

Career:  2010-2013 & 2015-2019:  Norwood

(173 games, 8 goals), South Australia (3 games), Melbourne (7 games)

Debut: v Sturt (Unley) 13th June 2010

Finale: v Adelaide (Adelaide)  8th September 2019

Norwood captain 2015-2016

Leadership Group: 2011- 2013, 2015 – 2019

Best & Fairest: 2017 (Inaugural Michael Taylor medallist)

Second Fairest & Most Brilliant: 2012

Joint 3rd B & F with Lewis Johnston in 2019

Premierships: 2012, 2013

Woods Medallist: 2013

Advertiser Team of the Year: 2012, 2013

Best Team Man

State Representative: 2013, 2015, 2016

 

Alex Georgiou, a tough, uncompromising defender, dual premiership player, B & F winner, has decided to hang up the boots at SANFL level. With Jace Bode, Brady Dawe and Ed Smart also retiring it really is a changing of the guard at the Parade.

 

Alex will be very hard to replace but back to the beginning!

 

Alex is the son of Judy and David, he attended Millbrook Primary school (Cudlee Creek) and Birdwood High School. Cricket was his main sport contributing strongly with bat in particular. Although making a ton with the bat, bowling was his forte. It wasn’t until he was 13 that he started playing footy. Alex ventured out to the Parade in 2004 playing two years of Under 15s, played a few games of Under 17s in 2006, and then was Captain of the 17s under the tutelage of David Oatey in 2007. Alex is grateful to David for his advice, guidance and help, and David had a significant influence on his career.

 

In 2008 and 2009 he played Under 19s (in 2009 as an over ager which he appreciated) and then in 2010 made his league debut against Sturt at Unley. Other youngsters to debut in 2010 were Cam Shenton, Tom Jonas and Angus Clarke. Alex quickly cemented a key defensive position and enjoyed the finals ride immensely.

 

His most vivid memory is of the preliminary final with Norwood trailing. Everyone was pressed up the ground and he was caught one out on Adam Grocke of the Eagles, but Jarred Polec then kicked the ball out on the full – what Norwood supporter can forget Brett Zorzi kicking a long goal and then Nick Duigan snapping out of a pack to kick the winner in the dying seconds!

 

The Grand Final against the Dogs was so near but so far. Simon Phillips getting injured in dubious circumstances was crucial. Back at the club that night it seemed to be a celebration of how we had performed, in particular the young guys buoyant that we would return.

 

It wasn’t as jovial in 2011 after losing the Preliminary Final with Bryce Campbell getting injured important but it set a steely resolve amongst everyone at the Parade (supporters, players, officials, the whole box and dice) to atone and didn’t we deliver!

 

Alex loved 2012 and 2013. We were a long way ahead of the competition particularly with defensive structures, we were confident in any game, provided we turned up to play that we would prevail. In the 2012 Grand Final against West Adelaide the footy world was surprised that the Bloods didn’t attempt something different. They were never going to beat us with that defensive game plan. The mood was of elation ending our 15 year premiership drought and quite a relief. In 2013 we were more wary of North Adelaide but Alex remembers being very happy at the opening bounce when Lewis Johnston lined up in defence for the Roosters. A strong team performance duly delivered, and Norwood had gone back to back.

 

Alex Georgiou was always a strong chance to be in the Best Off Ground votes, and in 2013 he delivered. Finally making it home on the Wednesday morning his phone rings. He thinks it’s work. Alex is an engineer specialising in the structural side of things (in lay terms he is in the commercial building industry game which these days his main gig is renovating pubs). Yes, he is a smart cookie!

 

Alex answers the phone and understandably he’s not really processing what’s being said on the other end of the line. It happens to be Jase Taylor, a recruiter from the Melbourne FC, and he says he would like to meet up with Alex and discuss the possibility of being recruited and moving to Melbourne.

 

Alex thinks it’s someone from work taking the mickey, he very nearly tells him in stronger terms to jump in the lake. Luckily he realizes in the nick of time, hey this guy might be serious. In the next week or so a meeting is arranged. Alex remarks that Melbourne were very upfront and transparent and wanted to draft him as a rookie. For a youngster in general, they would jump and clasp the opportunity with both hands but Alex who at that stage was working with Baulderstone’s (now Lend Lease) had to decide whether he wanted to have a crack at footy as his full time job and realistically taking a pay cut.

 

Alex has always played footy for mateship and enjoyment and was settled. He was also loving the success at Norwood so it was a big decision to make. In the end Alex and Lauren decided to have a crack.

 

I had met Lauren briefly, my first, lasting impression was leaving the rooms after defeating Sturt at Unley with Alex. I said hello to Lauren and asked Alex if he was attending a club function the following Saturday night. Alex replied, “not sure”, Lauren replied very firmly, “yes, we are.” Lauren left quite an impression, she’s a ripper of a person, and her and Alex were childhood sweethearts.

They are very well suited and Lauren is the captain of the Georgiou household. All the best to Lauren, Alex and Isabella in the future too!

 

Alex was promoted from the rookie to the senior list before Round 1 making his debut in that Round 1 against St Kilda. He played seven games which had some memorable moments including this clash with Buddy:

 

A tad of mayo added by the commentators.

 

Alex adds his toughest opponents were Buddy Franklin (yeah, he goes alright Alex!), Jonathon Patton (then) of GWS, and Tom Hawkins of Geelong in a trial game.

 

Alex believes his skills improved dramatically at Melbourne by being a full time footballer. Melbourne defeated Adelaide at Adelaide Oval with Jack Viney being controversially suspended after a head clash with Tom Lynch which was later turned over on appeal. What is forgotten is that Alex was also the meat in the sandwich and was concussed.

 

He was very, very unlucky to be dropped. He bluffed his way through a concussion test and played the next week for Casey admitting he shouldn’t have played. Alex was emergency several times during the rest of the season but unfortunately did not receive another AFL opportunity.

 

He performed more than serviceably for Casey and finished fourth in Casey Scorpions B & F despite playing seven games of AFL.

 

During his time at the Dees a twitter account called “uberAlexGeorgiou” was created providing a fair bit of mirth and laughter which Alex took in his stride. It has never been revealed who was responsible though there was a long line of suspects!

 

 

Melbourne decided to go in a younger direction. While Alex was disappointed, in other ways he was relieved to return to his mates at the Parade. With the great man Kieran McGuinness returning to Melbourne, Alex was appointed Norwood Captain in 2015.

 

Seasons 2015 and ’16 were disappointing. In hindsight several matters could have been handled better by all concerned and may have resulted in a better result for the club.

 

Alex adds overall he rated Ben Warren highly and in that he felt he took the only option in continuing to implement Nathan Bassett’s game plan. Let’s remember Ben delivered a premiership in one of the greatest games in SANFL history.

 

Alex had a great season personally in 2017 being the inaugural winner of the Michael Taylor medal (Norwood made the decision to name our best and fairest after Kingo https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/michael-kingo-taylor-mr-consistent-2/). A brilliant decision could not have been a more worthy choice.

 

In 2018, the season had many highlights. The comeback win at Richmond, the amazing last quarter at Unley where we kicked 13 goals, although Alex thinks the highlight is his goal in the second quarter! If anyone has a spare couple of hours, Alex will gladly take you for a trip down memory lane and go in to each of his eight career goals in detail.

 

The Second Semi Final win Alex adds as a highlight with the Grand Final being his career lowlight (personally cost me a bloody fortune in petrol driving different routes so I wouldn’t have to drive past the West End brewery chimney!)

 

Season 2019 had its moments. Alex had a consistent year finishing equal third with Lewis Johnston in the B & F, and easily the highlight being the Elimination Final win over Sturt.

 

Alex’s SANFL career didn’t have the fairy tale finish he hoped for with the Crows being way too good in the First Semi (personally I hope Alex does a Gags and gets the bug to come back!)

 

Alex mentions Jarrod Cotton was good for the overall group galvanisation, uniting the players and implementing a more attacking game plan which some individuals were crying out for.

 

Alex played three state games: in 2013 against the NEAFL, which was a cliffhanger  from the opening bounce before SA proceeded to win by 20 goals coached by Micky Godden (Alex has a healthy respect for Mick and thought he was very well organised); and was excellent in 2015 and 2016.

 

Alex played under Graham Cornes who was old school but adds Peter Caven and Kane Cornes added a more modern element. Willie Rioli showed what he was capable of in 2016, and beating the big V was very enjoyable in 2016. Playing with Jordy McKenzie, Aidan Riley and Mitch Clisby, teammates at the Dees, added a nice touch.

 

Alex names Clint Alleway, Kory Beard, and Damian Hynes (Central District, the only player who kicked five goals on Alex in his career) as his best players, and Nathan Bassett was the best coach he played under, and the biggest influence on his career.

 

(Photo taken by John Emery and permission granted to use)

 

This photo is hilarious in that it is Sturt player Mark Evans (ex-Redleg) and very good mate of Alex (Evo, congrats to you and Ashleigh on your recent nuptials).

 

Nathan Bassett adds, “Alex came in for his first game after we had won six in a row and we lost to Sturt at Unley. Alex played on Ryan Herring. He had played excellent football in the reserves, but I had been told we couldn’t win a league game with him in the team. Certainly didn’t turn out that way!”

 

Alex graduated to the leadership team after one season and 14 games. He was highly committed, with my favorite memory being when he was working on the freeway down south in 2013. He’d worked all day Saturday, then worked 5-12 Sunday, then played at 2.10pm at Woodville. He had worked 17 hours on the weekend and then played football (he played well, we smacked the Eagles at Woodville).

 

Other players that debuted and went on to play good footy for Norwood in 2010 were Matty Fuller (yes, he played one game in 2008, all of 10 minutes on the ground), Cam Shenton, Tom Jonas and Angus Clarke.

 

The words of Brett Zorzi: “A group of quality Hills players came through the club in the late 2000s. Georgiou, Fuller, Jefferies, Kirwan, Dawe, Smart and Bampton (plus a few I may have missed). I remember Georgiou being a skinny, uncoordinated, unique player but very effective at training. He had something about him. He was also hard to get an easy kick on at training when he stood you and he trained with a match day intensity. Mid 2009, Cotts moved me from FB to the midfield. I was a big wrap for Presti as I knew he had the determination and skill to play in the backline… plus I wasn’t keen on returning to FB either. He was a massive part of our team success in the 2010s. Above all… a cracking fella and a terrific club man”.

 

Alex, thank you for your enormous contribution to the NFC. All the best to you Lauren and Isabella, Lobethal’s gain is Norwood’s loss! All the best!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Brilliant tribute. Alex is a wonderful person on and off the field. Thanks Malcolm.

  2. Michael Rehn says

    A great article as usual Malcolm.Thanks to Digital Pass I was able to watch Alexis’s last three seasons, and I loved the way he went about his footy. Alexis had that power to surprise, be it a little biff with Buddy Franklin or a sixty metre goal at Unley Oval, that’s why he is another Norwood great. Barring injuries I reckon Norwood will put a pretty classy team on the paddock this year, a real quality hard defender would really ice the cake…..it’s never too late to come back !!!

  3. Fantastic player to watch over his years at the club. Was extremely influential.

  4. One of the most competitive team mates I’ve had the privilege of playing with. Uncompromising, relentless, selfless, we always knew what we’d get from him as a team mate. A significant impact on field but just as much off field in setting up and driving standards and our culture. Left his Guernsey and our club in a better position than when he walked in which is all you can ask of anyone. A career to be proud of with plenty of good times in the new club rooms to come.

  5. As usual Malcolm, well done! Another great article.

    Like many defenders, Alex certainly had a cult like following with the Norwood faithfull (as evidenced by the great cheer he got by sneaking down the ground and kicking a goal!)

  6. Peter Myers says

    Marvellous read Mal. One of the things I like about reading your articles, is that they trigger so many great memories for me.
    I certainly had a few chuckles reading this one. Perhaps Alex should consider writing a Ph D thesis on his magnificent goal kicking exploits! ?
    As for your comment regarding avoiding the West End brewery for 12 months after we lost the GF, we moved house from Sefton Park to Plympton shortly after that crushingly disappointing day. Had to make countless trips back and forth, and I ended up concluding that the most direct route took me straight past that [email protected]#%n chimney! I didn’t avoid it like you, I was just overloaded by the experience of moving house for the first time in 25 years, but I can tell you now, I didn’t drive past it once without looking up and letting off a few choice words as I did so!
    Congrats to Alex on a very fine career, he’ll be a hard man to replace. I mean, where are we gonna get our goals from now??!!

  7. Alan Clarence says

    He was one of my favourite players. I remember one day at the Grandstand End , he made an error which allowed his opponent an opportunity run free near goal. He then ran the guy down and then continued fighting till he could clear the ball out of defence. It was just dogged hard defending. He was going to make amends and take responsibility no matter what. I thought ‘bet he’s a good bloke too’

  8. Craig Lewis says

    RGood article again Malcolm. From an opposition viewpoint Alex wasn’t one of the more noticed or flashy players, certainly one of the more respected players nonetheless.

    Definitely disappointed Westies didn’t try something different in that GF. Really thought our a back 6 or so were dominant enough and didn’t need to play as a press (perhaps Mickan’s Glenelg zone approach would’ve been handy for Collo to look at with the group we had). Our midfield was deep enough and our forward line had plenty of goal kicking ability. Skills as so often were a problem for the Bloods and I felt we made the GF on pure tenacity alone throughout the finals series and that wasn’t going to be enough against Norwood. Really went into the game with a mindset of it was a bonus to be there plus it was a prelude to something else, which did ring true in 2015. Once again mindset in sport is such huge thing.

    Congrats to Alex Georgiou on a solid career and best of luck with life after footy!

  9. Brad Harris says

    Another great article, Mal. Alex was a true warrior for our great club.

    Love this quote from Nathan Bassett…

    “He looks like Mr Bean, he runs like he’s running on broken glass and his kick looks awkward. But he’s such a good defender, he uses the ball well and he makes good decisions.”

  10. Mal Lockwood says

    Thanks so much for this RB.
    Well done Georgy and thanks

  11. Once again Malcolm, you’ve come up with a fine tribute to Alex Georgio. There’s no possible doubt what so ever (sounds like a line from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Gondoliers”) that Alex’s superb play from the back lines will be missed. I loved watching him sneak into the edge of the forward area a dob a long bomb through for a sausage roll, inspirational stuff.

    I’m not surprised he named Nathan Basset as one of his best coaches. I firmly believe Bass was the real deal. I only wish the Crows had selected him as head Coach a few years back – even at end of last year.

    Can’t wait for next season to see how the new recruits shape up and more Rulebook player profiles.

  12. PS GREAT PHOTOS

  13. Duane Stewart says

    Was lucky enough to coach Alex in my 2 yr stint as the 2’s coach and he impressed me big time. Always knew what you were going to get with Alex (100% effort) and the amount of extra time he spent on his kicking paid dividends later on. Great career Alex and well deserved – such a nice bloke also.!

  14. Not only is Alex in my personal top 10 Norwood players, maybe more importantly he’s in my personal top 10 Norwood Football Club men.
    IMHO he’ll be the hardest to replace of our retirements over the last few years.
    I can honestly say that his match worn (torn?) Indigenous Guernsey from season 2019 is probably my favourite Guernsey, and I’ve got plenty!!

  15. Cameron Glenn says

    Another great article and a great one on Alex. Some great photos used a a good trip down memory lane.

  16. Tim Wedding says

    I loved re living that 2010 preliminary final, one of my favourite memories as a Norwood supporter. Alex is going to be sorely missed down back, as you said, but the beauty of this player is, that he will be remembered for years to come. The question “Do you remember Alex Georgiou?” will always be followed by, “Oh yes of course.” Solid contribution to some of the most successful years at our great club.

  17. Harry Butler says

    Thanks (again) Rulebook. It’s a huge asset for a team to have a defender it knows will lock down an opposition’s key forward every time, eg Rutten and Talia. Norwood had that with Alex. Well done on a great career.

  18. Great article Malcolm and appreciate the mention for Ash and I.. I think that photo sums up Alex and My onfield relationship a little too well…

  19. Luke Reynolds says

    Great tribute and photos Malcolm, love the Melbourne phone call story, wonder how often people get those calls and think it’s someone taking the mickey!

  20. Martin Rumsby says

    As a supporter I always knew what Alex would deliver – 100% effort and commitment. Thank you Alex! (and Malcolm).

  21. Malcolm Ashwood says

    PB thank you and yep he is a ripper.Michael thank you and v well put couldn’t agree more.Jace excellent you nailed it.Bill thank you and yes always a lot of involvement and joy from the crowd when,Alex kicked a sausage roll.Peter the other interesting part in writing re avoiding the chimney,Alex added to me he may have done the same thing, the,PhD would be popular and thank you.Alan tenacity having a crack and honesty are,Alex’s greatest traits.Craig it is a good point re 2012 helping towards 2015 I think most people thought re
    2012 for goodness sake try something different don’t just accept the inevitable and thank you.Brad gold and v v,Bass.Mal thank you.Fisho Alex will be missed greatly and hopefully,Bass will get a opportunity at afl level he has a lot to offer,thank you to Roger Woodcock and the,NFC history group for the photos and to John Emery.Duane Alex working his backside off to get the most out of himself and to the best benefit of the NFC yep huge tick and yes top bloke.Fester v well said your comment about the guernsey nails it and yes you would have plenty to pick from.Cameron thank you.Tim agreed great memory the 2010 preliminary final and yes the legs faithful will always remember,Alex with affection.Harry yes a lock down defender is quite often in reality the most important person in the team the footy smart people realize how vital they are.Evo congrats and yes that photo is gold and has certainly provided some mirth and laughter thank you.Luke thank you yes v good point I’m sure that would have happened on quite a few occasions thanks folks

  22. Eric Matisons says

    Good article as always, big part of that great backline in the Bassett era that was hard to score off

  23. Great read Book

  24. Dave Brown says

    A fitting tribute, Rulebook. Alex is very much loved by the Norwood faithful (who would always start buzzing if the full press was on and Alex would hover around a teammate with the ball 60m out). As he says, him freeing up Zorzi to go to the midfield maintained our backline and substantially strengthened our midfield which was particularly important in the 2013 Grand Final, which was closer than the scoreboard suggests. Looks like Lobethal will have a decent side in 2020.

  25. David Woodcock says

    Great article as usual Malcolm.I enjoyed Alex’s career. Super competitive, often conceding size to his opponents and never took a backward step. A great leader and crucial to the premiership era.

  26. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Eric thank you and v much so.TC thank you.Dave v much so a vital part of our backline ( the hills mafia all vital in there own way ) always a buzz when,MR Bean had a ping at goal and couldn’t agree more re the 13 gf,Lobethal will be v hard to beat.David thank you and you nailed it thanks folks

  27. Great article Malcolm I do remember Alex kicking a great goal after appearing on the high rating Coast fm show

  28. Geoffrey Wilson says

    A great article Malcolm on a wonderful player, defender and leader. I always loved Alex’s defensive work, especially his ability to handle bigger opponents and marshal the back line. A great career, well done Alex.

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