16 June 2001
It may be mathematically impossible but two does go into one. Like that choc coated vanilla ice-cream on double sticks. Like a world championship wrestling tag team bout where two baddies double team a goody at the turnbuckle. A footballer that had two careers rolled into one was Kristian Bardsley.
The Kangaroos picked up a youngster named Kristian Anning from Scoresby in 1991. The far eastern club had provided for the Shinboners such stars as Darren Crocker and Adam McCarthy. Anning was 172 centimetres tall and weighed 77 kilograms. He wore the number 46 jumper. He wasn't over blessed with pace but he read the game well and committed his body at every contest. His work ethic was exemplary. Kristian made his senior debut in 1992. As a midfielder he got belted around a fair bit because he parked himself at the foot of packs. Anning accumulated three senior games in his first year. Competition for spots in the middle was hot with experienced campaigners the calibre of Peter German and Matthew Larkin and Jose Romero and Wayne Schwass and Anthony Stevens. Anning played two more senior games during 1993. The magic midfield at Arden Street was hard as a macadamia nut to break into. The young bloke sought greener paddocks elsewhere.
Here's where the second portion of the same career started. Kristian changed his last name to Bardsley. The transformation was complete when St Kilda drafted the ex Roo with 1994 pre season pick 36. The Moorabbin heavies gave Bardsley the number 14 guernsey that had been worn by Danny Craven and 'Plugger' and Jim O'Dea. Round 8 1994 against Collingwood at the MCG. Bardsley showed he could both run with an opponent and run off him. KB's job was to throw a blanket over the dangerous Paul Williams. Bardsley negated number 10. Also twice in the second the new Saint motored down the field and found himself so well shepherded for he goaled first from 40 then from 45. 10 minutes into the last the ball was roosted high into the 50 metre arc. Bardsley with eyes only for the ball took a gutsy mark and was crunched in stereo. When the cobwebs cleared, he had a set shot from 45. No mistake. Unfortunately St Kilda lost 11.12 to 19.13.
Better news in round 24. Fitzroy at the then Western Oval. The Bard starred in midfield where his willingness to get the hard ball created dream goal opportunities for Damen Shaw and Matthew Lappin. Plus he booted a major himself early in the second half hour. The Saints by all of South Road. 21.14 to 15.12.
Great excitement for the following year. Bardo started like Puffing Billy in overdrive during the 1995 Ansett Cup match against the new Fremantle Dockers. He booted four and provided as many for Stewart Loewe who recorded nine in a walkover win.
The first round. Eagles at the WACA. Halfway through the third Bardsley bounced off Jakovich and turned Chris Lewis inside out to score a brilliant six pointer from 35. The Saints copped a quilting though 18.13 to 11.9.
Thence to 1996. Round 1 vs. the Kangas at the Park. Bards played in defence and rotated on Peter Bell and Stevo. OK so Bell notched four but early in the third the Saints number 14 ran forward, took on an entire backline and kicked a great snap goal. St Kilda down 12.13 to 15.19.
Everyone recalls the round 2 match against Geelong at KP. The second stanza. Bardsley tackled Ablett who was steaming at full speed towards goal. Blood and concussion for the Saint. Ablett got a two week holiday for charging. The B boy bounced back for round 16. Friday night versus the Roos. He got a goal. 25 percent of the St Kilda final score. 4.5 to 17.16. The courageous Kristian spent time in the rezzies during '96 and '97.
The gritty guy was released at the end of 1998. 5 games at Arden Street, 59 at Linton Street. A career with two strings on the one bow.
The Coodabeen Champions Pharaohs of Fate