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Show: 563
Week to air: 13/06/2005
Guest: Dean Widders

Deadly Sounds: Joining me today is Parramatta Eel’s footballer, Dean Widders. Dean, thanks for joining us on Deadly Sounds.

Dean Widders: Not a problem, it’s great to be here.

Deadly Sounds: Now the Eels are doing ok.

Dean Widders: Yeah, we’re starting to pick our season up a little bit. We struggled a bit at the start but we got a lot of new players and I think we are still developing combinations and stuff like that. Once we get all that going I think we will be in for a good season.

Deadly Sounds: I think you might. Well the reason we are talking to Dean, apart the fact that he is a great footballer, is because he recently won an award called ‘The Community Athlete of The Year’ award, which is brought to you by the Bo unce Back Foundation in Melbourne . Basically, ‘Bounce Back’ is a foundation that helps young athletes to improve their physical, emotional and mental health. Dean that’s a pretty amazing award because there were quite a few people that were up against you with this award such as Glen Bo wer from Carlton, Xavier Clarke and Andrew Gazes, so that’s pretty amazing and congratulations.

Dean Widders: Yeah it was a great honour, a lot of athletes in the communities all around Australia are doing different things to help and there’s plenty of work for sports people in charities and fundraising and stuff like that all across Australia. So to get the award, it just recognises the great effort that athletes put in and it’s pretty proud to be chosen.

Deadly Sounds: Well congratulations. So apart from football Dean what else do you do?

Dean Widders: I’ve got a few things to do at the moment, I’m a patron of a program called, ‘ Bo oks In Homes’, which goes around to lot’s of remote communities and delivers books and gives the kids a book they can take back to their homes to keep. I’m also a NASCAM ambassador, so I go around and giving health and fitness talks to kids in a lot of different areas so I’ve been to a lot of different places which I really enjoy.

Deadly Sounds: And that’s pretty amazing because a lot of your community work involves children and it was your dream once to be a teacher and you are almost doing that now in a way aren’t you?

Dean Widders: Yeah my mums a teacher so I grew up being around education and learning.

Deadly Sounds: How did she make you do your home work?

Dean Widders: No footy unless I did all my home work and that was all for a good reason.

Deadly Sounds: Did you enjoy school, were you good at school?

Dean Widders: I loved school when I was growing up, I don’t think I ever missed a day, even if I was sick I still wanted to go and it was a good place for me. I enjoyed learning, when I finished school I went and did Tafe for a year while I was playing rugby league and I still have ambitions to go to university in the next couple of years, hopefully when I get more time on my hands.

Deadly Sounds: And what would you do there?

Dean Widders: I want to be a P.E teacher.

Deadly Sounds: Fantastic, so Dean why did you leave the Roosters?

Dean Widder: Opportunity I think, and I was a great fan of Brian Smith the Parramatta coach.

Deadly Sounds: Did he used to coach St George as well?

Dean Widders: Yeah he used to coach St George, he coached them to a couple of grand finals and he’s a very successful coach. I think his attitude to the game impressed me so I really wanted to go out there and play under him. Although the Rosters are a great club and some people looked at it as though I made a bad decision because the Rosters played in the next three grand finals in a row. I think my career has taken off since I made the move to Parramatta , my attitude towards rugby league and professionalism has really changed, I think it’s been a good move.

Deadly Sounds: When you play football do you actually have to live in the area of the team you play for?

Dean Widders: No I don’t actually live in Parramatta I live in the city so it’s a 45 to 50 minute drive for me. So you don’t have to live in the area you’re playing for we’ve got players coming down from the central coast and at one stage we had a bloke travel down from Newcastle , it was Darren Tracey, so you don’t have to be in the local area as long as you don’t mind the travel in the morning.

Deadly Sounds: That must be a great job, getting to do what you really enjoy.

Dean Widders: Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of being an NRL player so I’m living out my dreams so I’m pretty lucky.

Deadly Sounds: Did you have that mapped out ever since you were a school boy?

Dean Widders: Yeah, like everyone I started with a dream in my head and I was pretty determined, my mum and dad helped me a lot and I just focussed on what I wanted to achieve and how to take the steps to get there.

Deadly Sounds: You must have had a bit of talent as well, you can’t really learn that sort of talent.

Dean Widders: I think I was just as talented as the other 100 kids in the street but I think it was the determination and commitment that sort of got me there. I made sure I was working as hard as could and did everything I possibly to be an NRL player.

Deadly Sounds: I remember when I was young players around then were people like Artie Beatson and of course I guess you grew up with people like Cliff Lyons?

Dean Widders: Yeah Cliff was a hero of mine when I was young but some of my favourite players were Steve Renouff, Cliff, Ricky Walford, them sort of blokes, and Ronny Gibbs. So I had plenty of hero’s out there when I was a young kid

Deadly Sounds: Pretty amazing actually in the last decade how many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are playing for both codes, almost every team now has a black player.

Dean Widders: Yeah I think we’ve got an over representation when you look at the amount of Indigenous people in Australia compared to the greater population. Whereas in the NRL I think around 13 percent of players are Indigenous, I think it’s good to have that representation.

Deadly Sounds: Yes I think the percentage would be even more than 13 percent. But you’ve done a bit of work on that, you’ve got a couple of kids haven’t you, increase those percentages, how many kids have you got?

Dean Widders: I’ve got three kids and I think one of them is going to be a footy player when he gets older too.

Deadly Sounds: Would you like to see them playing football or would you rather they be more academic?

Dean Widders: Whatever they have the passion for really, I don’t think I’ll ever push kids into doing things they don’t want to. If there’s a career in it for them ill tell them to work as hard as they can and give them as much support as possible. I think you can’t push a kid into an area they are not interested in so whatever their passion is I’ll support that.

Deadly Sounds: Dean thanks so much for joining us and again congratulations on your award. You were up against some pretty strong sportspeople there so well done.

Dean Widders: Yes I think the award covered every sport in Australia , there was some good competition but although you don’t do this work for a community award or recognition you know it is great to be recognised.

Deadly Sounds: Indeed it is and of course you were presented with the award by the Honourable John Landy, who’s the governor of Melbourne at a function at the cricket ground, and that must have been pretty amazing.

Dean Widders: Yeah and they’re getting ready for the Commonwealth Games down there and it’s looking pretty massive, it’s going to be a great atmosphere for the athletes next year. I was talking to Kyle Vander-Kyup at the awards and he was looking around the stadium and he can picture it being packed and getting ready to run the hurdles and hopefully win gold medals. I think it’s going to be great when they finish the MCG.

Deadly Sounds: Well Dean, thanks for talking to us and good luck with Parramatta, and that’s all we can say really because you know some of us are support other teams but good luck and thanks for joining us.

Dean Widders: Thanks Rhoda.

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