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By Reece Homfray, The Advertiser
Source: The Advertiser
A childhood friendship born from fishing and hunting together in Darwin has lasted the journey for this SANFL pair.
JOE Anderson and Cameron Stokes are proof that best mates stick together.
They've known each other since they were four, hunting magpie geese and ducks in the bush and hunting the footy on the field for Darwin's Buffaloes.
"Our families were close growing up," Stokes said.
"Joe came from Katherine but ever since we were young we went hunting and fishing together."
They both graduated from the NT's under-18 program to AFL ranks and found themselves in Melbourne by 2007.
Stokes was rookie listed by Hawthorn and Anderson was drafted by Carlton and they still saw each other every fortnight.
But as fickle as the world of AFL can sometimes be, three years later they were spat out the other end delisted in 2010 after 37 games between them.
"It was good experience, I learnt a lot from all the coaches and senior players," Anderson said.
"It made me more aware of the structures and gameplans.
"Darwin footy is pretty free flowing and everything changed dramatically when I got to Carlton."
Stokes showed promise but knee and shoulder reconstructions stopped him in his tracks.
Now living together in Adelaide they hope to resurrect their AFL careers and have chosen Sturt and the SANFL over the NT Thunder and QAFL to do so.
"We've both been through the same experiences so we can look for a new challenge together," Stokes, 21, said.
Anderson, 22, agrees. "Definitely, we're going through the same transition together," he said.
Their arrival at Unley will be a welcome sight for Sturt supporters who were more used to seeing players walk out the door over summer.
Anderson is expected to play off half-back in the same mould as Scott McGlone, while Stokes will inject pace and goalsense in the forward line.
They will join Charlie Sharples, Josh Cubillo and Patty Fittock who all played juniors and state footy in the NT together at Sturt.
"It's great to have these Territory boys here because they played a fair bit as youngsters and are excited to be back together," Sturt football manager Duane Massey said.