Break in cricket gives Baldwin football time

Grant Baldwin’s sporting life has come full circle. He has experienced it all – the various aspects of the bubble that is professional sport. 

After spending the past six years working for Cricket Australia as the teams masseuse – a position he still occupies today, Baldwin now finds himself playing for the Ballarat Swans in the Ballarat Football League.

He originally moved to Ballarat a few years back and decided to make it his home when he is not touring around the world with the Australian cricket side. 

For Baldwin, the lure of coming back to competitive sport was an opportunity he could not turn down this year, with his busy cricket schedule finally opening up after five years out of footy.

ON THE BALL: Grant Baldwin swoops on the football in his Ballarat Swans senior debut against Lake Wendouree on Saturday. Picture: Dylan Burns

ON THE BALL: Grant Baldwin swoops on the football in his Ballarat Swans senior debut against Lake Wendouree on Saturday. Picture: Dylan Burns

Baldwin’s return to footy did not exactly get off to the greatest of starts. He was originally penciled in to play the first three games of the year, but that plan quickly went south as he injured his hamstring in a practice match. The joys of footy were back.

Despite the Swans current ladder position, Baldwin is loving his involvement in the club.

“On a personal note, it’s been really enjoyable playing with a lot of younger guys,” he said.

Baldwin points to last weekend’s six-point defeat against ladder-leaders Lake Wendouree as a sign that they are improving as a side.

“The guys aren’t that far off. Two wins doesen’t really reflect where we are at and how well we’ve played at different stages this year,” he said.

Baldwin’s path to becoming Cricket Australia’s masseuse has certainly been an interesting one. He played football until the age of 14, but then dropped it to focus entirely on his cricket career.

He managed to make the Victorian Bushrangers squad, but was delisted without playing a senior match. A myotherapist by trade, he managed to get a job in the IPL at the same club that Darren Lehman was coaching at. From there he was asked to apply for the job at Cricket Australia, which he successfully obtained.

After 268 days away from home in the last financial year, Baldwin is keen to play as much footy as he can next season. 

Alfredton is certainly a long way from the Adelaide Oval – the venue where he famously had to field as a substitute in a test match against New Zealand in 2015. Although describing that experience as “unbelievable”, he jokingly argued that it was not something he was “capable of doing.”

For now, Alfretdon will do just fine as he familarises himself with country footy.