Berowra junior and former NSFA representative player George Blackwood is targeting a double figure goal tally when he runs out for Adelaide United in the upcoming Hyundai A-League season.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a breakout year last season after making the switch from Sydney FC, scoring six goals in 29 appearances across both the A-League and FFA Cup.
“I want to do better than last year, scoring more than five goals in the A-League – hopefully doubling that and we’ll see how we go from there,” he said.
“Obviously it depends on how fit I am for the whole season, I want to make sure I’m always fit and up for selection and then string good performances together, especially early on in the season.
“So that’s what I’ll be looking to do, get off to a flyer and work my way into the season from there.”
Blackwood made his first competitive appearance this season in United’s FFA Cup semi-final victory over Bentleigh Greens, setting up a second straight FFA Cup final clash with former club Sydney FC in Adelaide on October 30.
“I was lucky enough to slot back in for the semi-final after being out injured for a while so I was really happy with that; I got 90 minutes under my belt and my fitness is getting better as well,” he continued.
“It’s great to have a home final, we’ll be hoping to get a little bit of revenge this year but they’re a quality team so we need to ready and up for the contest.
“I’m sure there’ll be a big crowd there so I can’t wait to get stuck in, it should be a great game.”
After starting his football journey as a four-year-old with local NSFA club Berowra, Blackwood joined the NSFA representative set-up in 2007, playing up an age group in the Under 11’s.
A second year in the Under 11’s followed before moving into the Under 12’s in 2009, finishing as the Football NSW Combined Metro League Premiers and Champions that year.
The team, coached by Danny Hurwitz and Lloyd Robson, featured fellow A-League representatives Patrick Flottman, Anthony Kalik and Daniel Alessi as well as current Northern Tigers First Grade players Mo Bachelard, Zach Morris and Aidan Hancock.
“We had had a great team actually, it was a good couple of years,” Blackwood reflected.
“We were really strong and he (Hurwitz) was a great coach.”
Following spells at Manly United and APIA Leichardt, the young attacker was signed by Sydney FC in 2014.
After three seasons at his hometown club, Blackwood played his last game for the Sky Blues in a friendly against Premier League giants Liverpool, alongside fellow NSFA juniors Tom Heward-Belle, Patrick Flottmann and Seb Ryall.
“It was amazing, even before the first whistle, I had goosebumps,” he said.
“There was about 80,000 people there and everyone was singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, and you looked out and you could see all the scarves being held up and it was an unbelievable feeling.
“To rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world was amazing, it was a great experience.
“I thank my lucky stars for that night.”
As a lifelong fan of the Merseyside club, it was perhaps no surprise that Blackwood linked up with another team in red in Adelaide United.
“I needed more game time than what I was getting at Sydney to help me develop as a player so it was definitely a good time to move on, it was a solid first year for me,” he said.
“It was probably my first full year of playing week in, week out so my body was getting used to it and I was trying to get used to playing week in week out.
“Towards the end of the season I felt a lot more comfortable with my body and now this year I think I can really push on and have a good season.”
Written by Nick Amies – Northern Suburbs Football Association.
Photos provided by Samuel W Lacey.