1971 SANFL Mobil Cards – Part 4: Norwood



By 1971, Norwood was a middle ranking side under playing coach Robert Oatey. They had steadily risen up the ladder since Oatey’s inauspicious first season in charge, 1968 (10th). Even after that lowly showing, the eldest son of Jack Oatey was appointed for a further six years. The Redlegs introduced an ambitious agenda, as Oatey was given a full-time role at the club and many talented youngsters were given their opportunity.



(6)         Roger Woodcock (20, 6ft 0ins, 12st 0lbs)



Woodcock came up through the Redleg junior ranks. The Norwood High local was the third Woodcock brother (after Don and Brian) to represent the club. He debuted on his 19th birthday late in the 1969 season.


He quickly became known as a dangerous left footed half forward flanker, scoring 45 goals in 1970, his first full year.


Woodcock went one better in 1971, leading the Redleg goal-kickers with 58 majors, which makes this 1971 Mobil pose a disappointment. A shot of  ‘Splinter’ striding out at pace while shooting for goal would have been more evocative.


Making the right flank his own for the next decade, Woodcock was the sort of player who could kick a couple in a hurry, often threaded from impossible positions. He was there to kick goals and kick goals he did, in the famous number 10 jumper. He just never bloody missed.


Woodcock swings onto that very familiar and productive left foot.


After Oatey’s tenure ceased prematurely, Woodcock continued to deliver for new coach Bob Hammond in 1974, topping the Norwood tally with 68. Another 50 or so in 1975’s drought breaking premiership year (chipping in with two Grand Final goals) and Woodock’s value as reliable source of scoring power was evident.


The Paradians fell slightly away the next two seasons – to be fair, they did win the Ardath Cup, the midweek national club competition (with no VFL clubs involved). However, Woodcock underlined his consistency with contributions of 61 and 54 goals, respectively.


Although the team load was spread more evenly in 1978, Roger added another Redlegs goalkicking trophy with 46, two of which were kicked in their famous last gasp Premiership win over the inaccurate and possibly overconfident Sturt.


Putting a relatively lean 1979 behind him, a fourth Norwood goalkicking award (with 62) was Woodcock’s in Neil Balme’s first year at the club. In their 1980 Grand Final loss against Port that year, he kicked, you guessed it, two goals.


Roger Woodcock’s final season saw him bring up his 600th career goal. Very soon after, his 267 game/602 goal career was halted permanently by doing a ‘big (right) knee’. Over twelve full seasons, this represents a season average of roughly twenty-two games and fifty goals – a testament to his reliability, durability and ‘goal sense’.


To this day he remains an active member of the Norwood Football Club History Group and the northern end of the Parade is known as the Roger Woodcock End.


Playing Career


Norwood 1969-81 267 games/601 goals (2 premierships)



(16)       Noel Pettingill (20, 6ft 2ins, 13st 2lbs)



Noel Pettingill was rushed into the Norwood lineup just after he arrived from Mt Gambier in 1969. A fluent onballer/flanker, he quickly became a regular, with an impressive 38 games for 40 goals in his first two seasons.


Pettingill’s reputation as the longest kicking SANFL player in living memory made this Mobil pose nothing short of bizarre. Pettingill’s prodigious punts regularly topped the 70 metre mark. The small confines of Norwood Oval made him a goal scoring candidate from anywhere near the centre circle on a good day. His effortless, well timed action contributed to his long kicking consistency, both from a standing start or on the lope.


Noel Pettingill pounces


His first five seasons under coach Oatey yielded 106 games, including 141 goals. In 1974, new coach Bob Hammond tried Pettingill in defence, which did not always suit his freewheeling style. The following season, injury and poor form meant that he was an onlooker on Grand Final day, playing in the Reserves flag instead.


Events came to a head in 1976. Pettingill had seemingly started well and was rated as BOG against Centrals in Round 5, but he was replaced late in a game against Sturt the following week (having failed to quell Michael Graham). He missed three subsequent training nights, so Norwood decided to allow Pettingill a free passage to Sturt, where he resumed his league career a few weeks later.


Unfortunately for Pettingill and his new club, after playing a dozen games for the Blues, his knee was ‘pulped’ during the 1976 First Semi Final (against Norwood), rupturing his right medial ligament and tearing the cruciate ligaments and cartilage. He returned to add four league games in 1977 and the same in 1978 before calling time on his senior career.


Playing Career


Norwood 1969-76, 137 games/153 goals


Sturt 1976-78, 20 games/26 goals



(26)       Mike Coligan (21, 6ft 1in, 12st, 7lbs)



After playing in relative obscurity for Rostrevor College, Christian Brothers Old Collegians and Tranmere YCW, Mike Coligan joined Norwood in 1969.


Introduced as part of the ‘Legs emphasis on youth, he had a strong finish to his first season, with 31 goals from his dozen games. His second season’s haul of 71 goals saw Coligan take out the 1970 club goalkicking by a large margin from Roger Woodcock.


The Mobil Footy Card youth policy had the inexperienced goalsneak Coligan swooping on a loose ball and assessing his options, which on match day, would have generally ended with him having a ping at the big sticks.


Although the quick-off-the-mark spearhead’s 1971 output was not as large, 51 goals from 16 games was enough to place him in the League’s top five for the year.


Mike Coligan takes on the Sturt defence and wins.


Norwood’s climb into the final four in 1972 was the culmination of coach Oatey’s efforts. Mike Coligan was a big part of that, producing a SANFL-topping tally of 81 goals. Unfortunately, Norwood was unable to get past Centrals in the First Semi-Final.


Coligan’s business career (his 1972 Budget Pen-Pix stated Occupation: Company Director) made him pause his footy career during 1973. It was around this time that he had an interest in a Parade chicken shop with West Torrens’ Peter Kelly. He resumed the following year but was felled by a cartilage injury.


His on-field career ended in 1975, when he played out the season in the Reserves after a solitary match in the Seniors, scoring almost 60 goals for the dew-kicking premiers (alongside Noel Pettingill).


As well as his thriving business career in sports administration, Coligan has written a book, Norwood Men Who Served, 1914-1918 and contributed research to Bernard Whimpress’ 1878: Norwood Football Club’s First Year. It is therefore no surprise to find that he was the Inaugural Chairman of the Norwood Football Club History Group, where he still maintains an active role.


Playing Career


Norwood 1969-73, 75 83 games/269 goals



(35)       Robert Oatey (28, 5ft 8½ins, 13st, 7lbs)



Making his Norwod debut under Alan Killigrew on Anzac Day 1961, Robert Oatey was a fine player from the beginning, being high in the best players in that year’s ‘Turkish Bath’ Grand Final loss to West Adelaide.


The son of coaching visionary Jack Oatey, Robert became a regular State player from 1962 as a tenacious, skilful, low to the ground, hard to shift rover.


Norwood’s post-Killigrew years yielded only one finals appearance during 1963-67, despite the return of Haydn Bunton Jr from WA after Doug Olds’ two years in charge.


Oatey took out his first Best and Fairest in 1967 whilst also topping the Redleg goalkickers with 45.


Norwood appointed Oatey as its new coach and captain for the 1968 season. Oatey, despite the added responsibilities, thrived on the field. The Coach, Captain, Best & Fairest and Top Goalkicker (30 goals) Honour Board listings all said ‘R. Oatey’. He was also runner up to Barrie Robran in the Magarey Medal.


Robert Oatey doing the team thing as always, allowing Bob Kite to get his handball away.


However, the Position column for 1968 read ‘Tenth’. The Norwood committee was unperturbed and appointed Oatey, then a Kings College Senior Master, for a further six seasons. At this point father Jack Oatey had just coached Sturt to the third of its five consecutive flags. Robert’s brother Peter was also playing for Norwood. (Peter played 120 games across seven seasons).


Norwood slowly progressed under Oatey’s thoughtful tutelage, rising to fifth in 1970. The 1971 Mobil pose (he was also in the 1964 series) is rather fitting, given that Oatey was by then known for his appearance at football coaching clinics across the state. He appears to be delivering a lesson in ball-handling to an attentive crowd seated at his feet.


RO claimed his third B&F in 1971, as Norwood hovered on the fringe of finals once again.


Oatey became Norwood’s full-time Football Director in 1972 an indicator of the club’s increasing professionalism. Quoting from the South Australian Football Record Year Book 1972:


‘The appointment was the first of its type in S.A. football.

At 28, Oatey is young, extremely energetic and has a proven football background.

He is a graduate in Phys. Ed. from the University of Adelaide and a fully qualified graduate of Adelaide Teachers College.

He holds the S.A.N.F.L. coaching certificate and has devoted the last eleven years to Norwood as a player, including the last four as coach.’


This move bore fruit immediately, although Oatey would have preferred to have made it past the first week of finals in 1972. With emerging players such as Phil Carman, Michael Taylor, Neil Button and Glen Rosser and strong support from John Wynne, Norwood seemed to have the correct structures in place to assure future success. Oatey took out his fourth B&F in 1972.


The Redlegs finished the  1973 Minor Round in fifth, but the newly installed Final Five system meant that they were given a virtual home Elimination Final against Port Adelaide. The Magpies were brushed aside by six goals, leading to another final at The Parade against the Roosters. Norwood was narrowly eclipsed by North in a closely fought contest that rankles with Norwood fans to this day.


Somewhat surprisingly, Oatey’s tenure was then brought to a premature end and he was replaced as coach by North’s Bob Hammond for the 1974 season.


Robert Oatey then joined Sturt in 1974, playing under his father Jack and immediately playing in a premiership against Glenelg on a wet and windy day at Football Park. Robert Oatey remained at Sturt until the 1978 season, but did not play in the 1976 or 1978 Grand Finals.


Robert Oatey continued his life in football after his playing days ended. He provided thoughtful special comments for Channel 7 and coached at underage State level. His final formal involvement was as the SANFL Coaching Co-ordinator for almost two decades.


A member of the SA Football Hall of Fame, Robert Oatey OAM was a true great of the modern SANFL era.


Playing Career


Norwood 1961-73, 232 games/114  goals


Sturt 1974-78, 69 games/67 goals (1 premiership)


South Australia, 9 games



Thanks to aussierulescollectables.com.au for the assistance. It’s the ‘go to’ site for all of your Footy Collectable questions.


The Redlegs Museum site is marvellously curated collection of Norwood Football Club history.



To read all parts in the 1971 SANFL Mobil Footy Cards Series click Here


To return to the Home Page click HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Loving your virtual collections and remincences Swish. I’ve still got the original cards, remember getting them from Mobil as a 10 year old.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    Thanks Swish. I remember the players and the years well. Didn’t Noel Pettingill win a World of Sport long kicking competition one year using his left (wrong) leg? I seem to recall in a minor round game at Footy Park he was attributed with doing an astronomically long general play kick from deep, wide half back to deep, wide half forward right towards left of screen which was featured on the front page of the Sunday Mail the following day. Do you recall the estimated distance? I’m surprised Warren Packer and John Menz didn’t get a card!

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Could hear Rulebook’s excitement this side of the border when this was posted.

    Reading Malcolm’s piece on Woodcock and what you’ve written here, he was some player. Maybe Daicos like if the Macedonian Marvel had spent his whole career in the forward line?

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Diggers. That 1971 set is very rare. Sing out if you ever want to sell it.

    Hey DS, thanks for giving me the opportunity to reprise the day in 1976 that Pettingill knocked off Wayne Bevan in the final of the long kick at the Ponderosa. We slipped across from Eliz High to watch. He pantsed him. There’s a couple of Pettingill roosts and Woodcock goals in these 1974 highlights. The Footy Park kick is in there I think.


    Unlike Daicos, Woodcock didn’t need to resort to trick shots Luke.

  5. Swish thank you,Woody is a fantastic help re any Norwood photos for articles and Mike has helped with words of wisdom re my upcoming book ( I did get a email from,Wynton from the history committee re quite chuffed that two members of it were covered so extensively in the article ) Daryl I do remember that kick I will try and chase up ( Jeff Fehring did a v v similar kick ) Luke I wasn’t shattered unfortunately the Redlegs faithful are far from happy as we have fallen away let’s say I reckon the article would have got more traction
    Woody is technically I think the best kick for goal I have seen always straightened up only kicked across the body when it was necessary a lesson a hell of a lot of players could learn now.Noel Pettingill was effortless just superb timing kicking the footy the cricket comparison is Mark Waugh.Robert Oatey fantastic player and probably is not given enough credit for his role in lifting the legs out of the doldrums.Awesome photo of Mikes mark thanks,Swish

  6. Dave Brown says

    Great stuff, Swish. I have the Oatey and Pettingill 1971 cards in my somewhat haphazard collection (and Barrie Robran). Re. Pettingill’s prodigious kick, there is a story that in 1972 he kicked one from the centre at Norwood that hit the fence around the light tower at the northern end on the full, subsequently measured by Oatey and Wynne to be 96 metres. A great story even if somewhat gilded. The remarkable thing about Woodcock is kicking 600 goals as a genuine half forward flanker. Another unique player. Keep going.

  7. Go for it Swish!

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks for the thumbs up ‘Book, Dave and Smithy – now I’ll have to find something nice to write about Port.

    I’m led to believe that a certain former Rooster who may have shared Woodcock’s number 10 thinks very very highly of Roger.

  9. Daryl Schramm says

    Hey Swish. I am getting old(er) but the Pettingill kick at 16:50 of the video is similar, but not the same as the one I had in mind. My recollection is that the vision was from a higher angle (maybe after the main stand was completed and may have even been in color and came from the left half back flank, not the right or CHB. Anyways, the vision in the link certainly illustrates Noel Pettingill’s long kicking ability. The vision and memories of the link is another story on its own.
    Cheers and keep up the great work (passion).

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