Norton’s familiar intro into Reds’ senior list

Bradley Norton could correctly be referred to as one of the Reds’ new Hyundai A-League signings for the upcoming season, however the young defender already has a sense of familiarity entering his first year as a senior Adelaide United player.

Bradley Norton could correctly be referred to as one of the Reds- new Hyundai A-League signings for the upcoming season, however the young defender already has a sense of familiarity entering his first year as a senior Adelaide United player.

When a young up-and-coming player joins a senior playing squad at a club, they can often take time to adapt and feel that they fit in the group. But coming into his first season as a Hyundai A-League registered player, Norton has the advantage of already having spent the past 12 months in the Reds- senior environment.

After attracting the attention of Reds Head Coach Rini Coolen during the club-s pre season last year, in which he was given a run in a friendly against the now defunct North Queensland Fury, the 20 year old from Melbourne was signed to Adelaide United-s Youth Team for the 2010/11 season which would then lead into a two year contract with the Reds- seniors.

While he spent the majority of last season playing in the Reds- Youth Team, Norton trained with the senior squad throughout, giving him the chance to integrate into the Hyundai A-League squad and get a taste of what is expected at that level.

Other than having a little more in the hip pocket being on a Hyundai A-League salary, Norton says he does not feel too much different now that he is officially part of the senior list.

“Not really because in terms of the training it-s still all of the same, but it does feels a little bit better, a little bit more part of the team which is good, so I-m looking forward to a good season and hopefully the boys do well again,” Norton said.

“It-s all a bit surreal because it has happened really quickly, especially last season, but I-m really looking forward to what lies ahead and hopefully I can make a contribution to the team this year.”

Norton made his Hyundai A-League debut in a short cameo off the bench against Perth Glory at Hindmarsh on September 24 last year, his one other appearance coming in the dying minutes at AAMI Park in the Week 15 win over Melbourne Heart. This added up to just nine minutes of game time, but Norton says even just the little taste of Hyundai A-League football he experienced, coupled with being around the senior players on a regular basis, will prove beneficial.

“I think it will help a lot. I learnt a lot from the team last year and how much it takes to become a professional. It-s a lot of hard work you have to put in so I-m looking forward to it,” Norton said.

“I-m just going to try to continue to learn a lot more and hopefully take my game to the next level.”

Starting off at the age of seven playing juniors in the local leagues in Melbourne, Norton always had his heart and mind set on becoming a professional footballer. From this determination one thing led to another as he was selected in the Victorian State teams at U-13, 14 and 15 level before making his senior football debut with Melbourne Knights in the Victorian Premier League. A stint with fellow VPL side Northcote City followed, and it was there he was spotted by scouts of Melbourne Victory-s Youth Team for the 2009/10 season.

Now at the Reds, the left sided defender has one of the toughest asks of any trying to break into the team. Norton finds himself vying for the position currently held by the Reds- reigning Club Champion Cassio. The Brazilian pocket rocket has made the left side of defence his own, and while it may mean a patient wait for Norton, he is just happy to have a player of Cassio-s calibre to continue learning from.

“He (Cassio) is a great player, I think he-s the best the league has seen in a left sided player, so I-m just trying to learn as much as I can from him and try to follow in what he-s done for the club.”