Anderson was a rugby league player. Starting his career in the Queensland Rugby League Central Division he initially played in the Central Highlands Rugby League. He started with the Emerald Tigers, first in their Junior teams from 1976 to 1979 then progressed to their Senior teams from 1980 to 1982.
Staying in the Queensland Central Division he then moved to the Fitzroy Sharks, staying there from January to August 1983. The Sharks played in the Rockhampton and District league.
He then moved to the south-east Queensland Division known as the South East Poinsettias. He played in the Gold Coast Rugby League turning out for Surfersparadise Sharks in 1984. Moving to the Brisbane league he played for the Past Brothers between 1984 and 1985. and Southern Suburbs in 1988 and 89 seasons.
He represented Gold Coast Vikings, then a provincial side, between 1985 and 1987.
He moved to England where he played for another amateur side Milton Keynes. This was a move to get into coaching as he was player-coach for the team.
Anderson moved back to Australia, becoming a development officer for Queensland Rugby League between 1989 and 1992. From there he got an assistant coach job at Tweed Heads Seagulls, a New South Wales side playing in the Queensland Cup. He was there from 1992 to 1994. He then moved to the Western Reds as Development Officer (1995–97) and from there become the assistant coach at Melbourne Storm (1997–2000). During this period Anderson also was assistant coach with Australia Kangaroos and the World Cup team 2000.
He then moved back to England, becoming the head coach of Warrington Wolves (2001–2002). However he resigned after 7 straight defeats after only 10 months in the job.
He went back to rugby league in 2007, becoming the head coach of the Comets. In 2008-9 he went back to the Tweed Heads Seagulls this time as head coach.
Anderson was to switch codes to coach rugby union. Jim Telfer of the Scottish Rugby Union stated that he wanted Glasgow Warriors to experience different styles as he was concerned about the athleticism and professionalism of the players. Hence he hired Kiwi Searancke as head coach of Glasgow and Anderson as a defence coach. The other assistant coach Gordon Macpherson was also kept on. Searancke and Macpherson as New Zealanders, with Anderson, an Australian, making an entire antipodean management team.
The move did not, however, work out too well. Searancke's abrasive style caused a division between management and players. Telfer changed the management team in 2003; Searancke and Macpherson left the club and Anderson was sideways moved within the SRU. Telfer stated that "I've seen him [Searancke] and his assistant, Steven Anderson, coach and speak and they were probably in the wrong culture."
Anderson was moved to Murrayfield as high performance manager. Telfer states that this was already in his plans before the management changeover at Glasgow; as Anderson had particular skills in that area. Anderson was to develop and manage the SRU's Elite Performance plans; those plans being the SRU's academy structure for young talented players. Anderson stayed in this role till 2005.
Leaving Scotland, Anderson made his way to Ireland. He was similarly given the job of high performance manager of the Irish Rugby Football Union. He was in this role from 2005 to 2007.
Anderson is now the director of Rugby Union of Central Queensland Rugby Union, a post he has held from 2013. Previously he held the position of head coach for the Union from 2011 to 2013.
Whilst playing amateur rugby league in Australia, Anderson worked as a laboratory technician / manager between 1980 and 1988. He became the Queensland manager for the Australian Drug Foundation between 2008 and 2011; and the Queensland manager for integrated living from 2011 to 2013.