Glenn Archer is a former professional Australian Rules Footballer that played his entire career with the North Melbourne Football Club. Glenn had a reputation as one of the most courageous players ever to play the game signified by the AFLPA awarding him the Robert Rose Award for Most Courageous Player six times in nine years between 1998 and 2006, the most of any player in the award's history. In recognition as one of the best players in the AFL, Archer achieved All-Australian selection three times and also represented Victoria in the State of Origin.

A fearless defender who intimidated opponents and inspired teammates, Glenn was a vital member of the Kangaroos AFL premiership sides in 1996 and 1999. His Norm Smith medal-winning performance in the 1996 Grand Final, where he had the unenviable task of standing in front of Sydney full-forward Tony Lockett, sums up his career. Arch plays brave, uncompromising football, often whilst injured and is constantly willing to sacrifice his game for the betterment of his team.

Archer is one of the Kangaroos’ greatest players, a dual-premiership and Norm Smith Medallist, he holds the second most games record for the Kangaroos’, is a member of the Kangaroos Team of the Century and is widely recognised with the title the "Shinboner of the Century"‘having embodied the Shinboner spirit throughout his career.

A tireless worker, Glenn is recognized not only for his on-field brilliance, but also for a throng of selfless charity-based events to which he has given his time. A true legend of the game, Arch’s off-field endeavours, combined with his unquestionable playing record, re-affirms all that is great about Australian Rules Football.

 Steve: I recently read that you accidentally threw out your two premiership medals, Madden medal and Norm Smith Medal last year! Have you been able to retrieve them yet?

Glenn: No, unfortunately not, it was a bit of a mistake. I gave them to my daughter for her show-and-tell at school, she had some sort of a presentation and she didn’t put them back in the office, so I was cleaning out her bag one day and poured everything in the bin and the medals were in there. So I sent out the APB through the media hoping that the old needle in the haystack would appear. But it hasn’t appeared as yet.

 Steve: Oh, that’s a shame. What have you been doing with yourself since retiring from the AFL, Glenn?

Glenn: I’ve got a couple of businesses. I’ve got a Sports Management business called Stride Sports Management, where we basically manage a chunk of AFL Players, there’s 110 AFL players we look after along with some netballers, about 8 netballers on our books as well. So that’s been going for about 8 years, I actually started that when I was still playing. Also, I started another business called Kode Entertainment Group, which I started about 4 years ago with Leigh Colbert, so we concentrate a lot on different types of corporate hospitality. Our core business is overseas sporting tours; we travel to all the big sporting events around the world; US Masters, Superbowl, Monaco Grand Prix, The Ashes, World Cup, the Olympics... All that. We do it at a real premium end; all our tours incorporate special guests. We had dinner with Mark Webber before the Monaco Grand Prix, a game of golf with Greg Norman in Miami before the US Masters, so just try to offer those real ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.

Steve: Wow, sounds fantastic! You were an electrician before you started playing footy, was it a bit touch and go in the early years as to whether you’d actually be able to make a career out of football?

Glenn: Oh, absolutely. I was a bit of a late bloomer in footy, I played footy all my life since I was 5 years old, but I was never at an elite level as a junior, I was one of the better players, but nobody really spoke to me until I was about 17. I got asked to go down to North Melbourne to train in the Under 19s. I lasted about 3 weeks there, and then went back to Noble Park. Then the following year, I got asked to come back and play a game in the Under 19s, I played one game and it went okay, so I figured I’d stick this out for a little bit longer and then 17 years later I was still there. North Melbourne were the only club that ever spoke to me.

Steve: Fantastic. In your early years when you were not being paid a very high salary as most other footballers at North Melbourne, Sydney offered you a massive deal over 3 years and you turned it down to be loyal to your club. How hard was that decision to make?

Glenn: It wasn’t overly hard. I think I was on about $5,000 at the time at North Melbourne and Sydney offered me $450,000 over 3 years. It opened my eyes to the fact that I probably wasn’t being paid market value. But I’ve always been a big believer that you get paid well once you get some runs on the board and that’s what happened at North. I stuck around and once I put some runs on the board, I got paid well. At the end of the day, it was probably the best decision I made, because it was at that stage of North development where we started to have success and played in Grand Finals and won Grand Finals, so yeh I was lucky I didn’t chase the money.

Steve: Yep, sure. How did you used to prepare for games? Did you have a pre-game ritual?

Glenn: Yeh, I was fairly superstitious. I always had the same meal before every game, which was just one of your basic pastas. Where I live in Warrandyte, I have my house then up the back of my property I’ve got a pool house. So my general pre-game ritual would be to have my pasta with the kids and the wife, I’d have a little bag packed with plenty of water and Gatorade, I’d head up the back the night before and watch a movie or read a book, go through about 3 litres of fluid then come down in the morning, have a shower and go to the game. One of my rituals as well is that I’d usually spend about 15 minutes in my office before I actually left the house. I was big on visualisation so I spent 15 minutes just closing my eyes and visualising what I wanted to get out of that game, I’d write down 3 goals for myself and then head off to the game.

Steve: Sure. You have played on a lot of AFL superstars, who do you regard as the toughest opponent you played on in your career?

Glenn: Oh, well... There were a number of them. But, if I had to choose one, I’d probably say Tony Modra. I played on Tony at the height of his powers in the early-mid 90s and he was just an amazing player. Particularly when you were playing at AAMI stadium and they packed it out. Whenever he went near the ball the crowd would absolutely erupt. He had really strong hands, a great leap, great kick, great lead. He really was the quintessential full forward so he was really hard to stop.

Steve: Yeh, sure. I’m sure you’ve suffered many injuries through football; what has been the worst injury you’ve endured?

Glenn: I was pretty lucky. I never really had many injuries or ankle problems or anything. The worst was probably when I broke my hand fairly severely in 2004. One of the bones in my hand sort of disintegrated, so that kept me out for about 8 weeks and they had to put plates and screws everything to keep it in place. Even today, I can’t make a fist and it’s a little bit numb because I had all the intrinsic muscles damaged, I got carpal tunnel syndrome and all this sort of stuff. But, I was playing for 17 years, so if that’s the worst thing I came away with; I think I was pretty lucky.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. Are you still involved with the North Melbourne Football club?

Glenn: Ah, not in an official capacity. It’s hard these days with 4 kids and 3 businesses. I help out as much as I can, they’ll often ring and ask me to do the odd sponsors function and I do as much as I can. But yeh, I’m not involved in any official capacity.

Steve: How are your kids at footy? Any chance to follow in their father’s footsteps?

Glenn: Ah, I’ve got 3 girls and just the one boy. The one boy, Jackson, is 10 years old and, yeh, he goes alright. He loves it, he’s really passionate about the game and I think that anyone that’s obsessed and passionate about any sport, they generally go okay. I’m coaching him this year for the first time, so that’ll be interesting. But, yeh... He goes okay.

Steve: Yeh, fantastic. Do you still manage to get some fitness training in these days?

Glenn: Yeh, I do. I do probably about 4 sessions a week. A combination of gym and running. I’ve got a running track near me which is like a 7km track, so I try to do that as much as I can. I’ve got into a good habit I suppose, but if I don’t train, I feel like crap, so as soon as I go through a busy period and I don’t get a chance to train, I start to feel tired and lethargic, so I force myself to get those sessions in. I also try to sign up for things, like a half marathon every now and then. I do the Mark Webber challenge every December over in Tassie which is a big adventure race and I’ve found once you sign up for something, it forces you to train as well.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. It gives you something to work towards. What are your views on the modern game and how it’s changing? Being such a rough and tough player, do you feel like the game’s getting too soft?

Glenn: Nah, I don’t think it’s soft. But, i guess probably the one negative is that it can be confusing. The real problem with the AFL is that they’re constantly changing rules, introducing new rules or changing the interpretation of existing rules, so the players have become confused. You actually see it in games now, particularly with this new rule that if you dive on the ball and your head actually hits someone in the leg, you get a free kick against you which I actually find astounding because that’s part of the game we’ve always admired, guys that throw their bodies on the ball. So you actually see guys a little bit hesitant now when the ball’s on the ground that they’re not sure what to do. They’re thinking, ‘well, I can’t slide in with my feet... But I can’t go in with my head’, then that creates a bit of confusion and it’s just a really bad rule. I’m glad they change rules, because certain things look a bit ugly, but they’ve actually painted themselves into a corner with these rules because it’s making it really ugly for a footy-lover to watch, because they see guys pull up and think about what they’re going to do and as an old-school footballer, you look at that and it looks terrible.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. You have won a lot of big football accolades, but what do you consider as the highlight of your football career?

Glenn: Oh, definitely the premierships. We played in ’96 and then won in ’99. I think that anyone that starts playing the game at any level, the ultimate goal is always to play in a premiership at AFL level. So to actually achieve that is something that sits far and above any other award you can win. To do it with 21 of your close mates and to actually get to that final siren and be in front, it’s an amazing feeling.

Steve: Yeh, I’m sure. Just finally Glenn, who do you regard as the best player you played with or against in your 310 AFL game career.

Glenn: Ahh, for me, I think Wayne Carey sits above anyone. I have to be a little bit bias, because I played alongside him 200 times, but yeh, he was absolutely amazing. I always liken him to, in junior football when you’re playing under 14s, there’s always one kid in the league that is bigger, stronger and absolutely tears it apart, Wayne was doing that at AFL level. He was one of those guys that, when the game is in the balance, that’s when he really loved it and he’d turn it on for 5 minutes and kick 3, take 6 strong marks. Also Gary Ablett, he was just purely a freakish footballer, who was right up there as well. But for consistency, Wayne is the one for me.

Steve: Well, that’s all I have for you Glenn. Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it. Good luck with your business interests. I’m pretty excited to hear about your next trip through Kode. I like hearing the stories from my brother-in-law.

Glenn: Yeh, Nick’s coming to Darwin again with us for the Darwin Cup; he definitely enjoys himself, haha.

Steve: Yeh, fantastic.