1971 SANFL Mobil Cards – Part 7: Sturt

 

Sturt stood imperiously above the remaining nine SANFL clubs at the commencement of the 1971 season, having taken out each of the previous five premierships. There was no reason to think that maestro Jack Oatey would not lead his Double Blues to a sixth in 1971 when that year’s Mobil Footy Cards were produced.

 

(2) Dean Ottens (24, 6ft 6ins, 15st 7lb)

 

 

Dean Ottens grew up on a farming property near Koolunga in South Australia’s mid-north. Both he and his brother Wayne had a few runs with Centrals in 1964, on the back of Dean’s standout form in country rep footy. The bright lights of Elizabeth failed to entice them, so they returned to local club Gulnare.

 

Upon the recommendation of Daryl Hicks, who was teaching in the area, Sturt sent a deputation to the farm of Jack Oatey, President Alex Hammill and senior player Terry Short. Whatever they said worked, but only fleetingly as Ottens’ 1966 fling at Unley was brief. Dropped after playing the first two games of the season, he returned to the mid-North for a couple of years.

 

Ottens bobbed up again at Unley in 1968, adding three league games before seeking the respite of country life yet again.

 

In 1969 he established himself in Sturt’s side, taking over the rucking spot vacated by Doc Clarkson and benefiting from training at Unley more regularly, despite the five hour round trip from home. Ottens was amongst Sturt’s best when he was one of four Sturt players to play in their first flag, thumping the Royce Hart bolstered Glenelg.

 

Ottens was a right footer, but he wasn’t scared to give his left side a go.

 

His decision to move to the city was timely as another successful season followed for Ottens in 1970. His partnership with Greg Wild in the ruck gained them both a second premiership. He also played in both of SA’s state team losses (against Victoria and WA) as second ruck. His second game, paired with Craig McKellar, saw them both performing well in the narrow loss in Perth. In effectively his second full season, he was already regarded in the top three South Australian big men (Peter Darley was #1). He was also selected in the Advertiser Team of the Year.

 

Selected as one of Sturt’s 1971 Mobil representatives, the pose chosen for the country colossus did little justice to the athletic Ottens. (Unlike others from this series, the card seems to have been colourised, rather clumsily at that).

 

Sturt’s run of flags came to an end in the first week of the 1971 finals; Oatey was outcoached by Dennis Jones and Centrals ran away in the last quarter. Ottens had a solid season but was overlooked for state honours.

 

Ottens was the most senior of SA’s four ruckmen chosen in the 1972 Carnival squad, adding three games to his SA tally. Sturt missed the finals and were seemingly on the wane.

 

Sturt gave Ken Whelan his chance at full forward and they leapt back into finals contention in 1973. Ottens had his most fruitful attacking season, ending up with 39 goals (his previous four seasons yielded 21, 29, 31 and 31 majors).

 

A solid start to 1974 saw Ottens back in favour with the SA selectors, playing against the Sandgropers in the first ever State game at the new but barely complete Football Park. His seven goal haul against Woodville was an indicator of his great form. Sturt were ladder leaders by the time SA played the Vics at Sydney in early June. This was Ottens’ last State game, his final club game for Sturt following just a week later as he subsequently retired to his farming property in the Northern Territory, forgoing a chance at a third premiership.

 

Playing Career

 

Sturt 1966, 68-74  116 games/178 goals (2 Premierships)

 

South Australia 7 games

 

 

 

(12) Brenton Adcock (28, 5ft 9½ ins, 13st 0lb)

 

 

Brenton Adcock took the eye of Jack Oatey in 1961 when the ex-West Adelaide coach was watching his son Peter play for Kings College. Oatey’s appointment at Sturt in 1962 opened the door for the Norwood-supporting Adcock, who played 13 games for the lowly Double Blues in his first season.

 

Originally used on a wing or at half back, he cemented his spot as a straight-ahead back pocket type with a penetrating kick. Adcock became a key member of Sturt’s rise under Oatey. Sturt’s 1964 came to an end at the hands of South in the Preliminary Final.

 

A former Linton Cup representative, Adcock continued to play pennant tennis in summer, which was deemed sufficient pre-season training for football.

 

His breakout year was 1965, when he also appeared in the Mobil Card series. When selected for the State for the first time, coach Fos Williams told Adcock that ‘this is the way we do it in my team’, reminding the newcomer of the differences in game style between his Port and Adcock’s Sturt. Adcock must have listened as he played an impressive game in SA’s 64 point walloping of Victoria before 34000 Adelaideans. He won the best player prize awarded by the Victorians, but unaware that there was a post-match function, the novice Adcock went straight home after the match and missed the presentation.

 

Polling his equal career best Magarey Medal tally with 14 votes, Adcock’s side went into the Grand Final as underdogs against Fos Williams’ Port Adelaide. The Magpies fell in against the 1964 Premiers South Adelaide in the Second-Semi and Sturt surprised the Panthers in the Preliminary Final. The record crowd of 62,543 witnessed a phenomenal last quarter comeback by the Blues, who trailed Port by 27 points at the last break.

 

Getting within three points with five minutes to go, Sturt squandered several goal scoring opportunities. Following his opponent downfield after Port had stacked the backlines, Adcock was one of those who missed the lot when a goal would have proved decisive – Adcock jokes to this day, that despite all his subsequent achievements, it was this moment that many Sturt followers still remember him for.

 

This loss proved a turning point for Sturt, who went on to win the next five premierships, disposing of Port in the first two of those victories.

 

Adcock’s efforts for an otherwise dismal South Australia in the 1966 Hobart carnival led to All-Australian selection. Sturt double-bluesed Port’s score in that year’s decider. Adcock was in their top three that day to cap off the first of many momentous seasons.

 

The dashing, strongly balanced Adcock was Sturt’s best player in their 1967 repeat victory, although they needed to rely on fresher last quarter legs to surpass Port’s narrow lead. He was also runner-up to Doc Clarkson in Sturt’s Best and Fairest.

 

In 1968, Adcock’s 14 Magarey votes indicated underlined his continued dominance. Peter Endersbee’s pair of early checkside goals kept Sturt in the game before they kicked away in the second quarter to set up an unassailable lead and register their third successive flag.

 

The 1969 Carnival was held in Adelaide. Adcock was among the first selected for SA, which accounted for both Tasmania and Western Australia (he was high in SA’s best in this game), but came nowhere near the Big V when it mattered. Against a Royce Hart augmented Glenelg in 1969, Sturt proceeded on its merry premiership winning way. Adcock and his fellow defenders Paul Bagshaw, Tony Burgan and Clive Brooks rebounded all day, contributing to Malcolm Greenslade’s record-equalling nine goal haul and another Sturt pennant.

 

A fifth consecutive Grand Final win in 1970, again against Glenelg, and Sturt seemed unstoppable in September.

 

Adcock’s second Mobil Card appearance in 1971 had him wearily dishing off a handball but un-Sturtlike with no 44-gallon targets in sight.

 

His impeccable form was still evident, polling 11 Magarey Medal votes, third for Sturt and twelfth overall, a tribute to his endurance and dash from the often-unglamorous back pocket position. However 1971 saw the end to Sturt’s thrilling run at the top of the SANFL ladder.

 

A typical Brenton Adcock dash unfolds at Adelaide Oval against the Roosters.

 

The 1972 Carnival was Adcock’s last in State colours; by then he had accumulated an impressive tally of 20 games for the Croweaters. Sturt missed the finals that year. At season’s end, Adcock’s 217 SANFL games placed him in the top 25 “200 Club” members of all time. (Lindsay Head led the list with 327 games).

 

The Blues were only outpaced by Glenelg in the 1973 Minor Round, but were humbled by Glenelg then North Adelaide at the business end of the season. Adcock was by then Sturt’s most experienced player with the retirement of Terry Short.

 

Sturt seemed to enjoy the recently reclaimed expanses of Football Park in 1974. As players like Rick Davies and Michael Graham matured (as players), the Minor Premiership was theirs. Sturt narrowly disposed of Port 7.19 (61) to 8.8 (56) in the Second Semi. Glenelg cast aside Port in the Preliminary by 49 points. Sturt were expected to have too much experience for Glenelg and on an appalling day, their 34 point lead at the first break was cut to 12 when Glenelg had its turn with a howling gale. Glenelg played out of its skins in the third quarter to edge to within 5 points, with their turn to the scoring end to come. Jack Oatey instructed his charges to attack at all costs and Sturt did, kicking 3.4 to 2.0, giving Adcock (and Oatey) a sixth Sturt Grand Final win. (Sturt’s combined finals tally was 16.35 to 16.15).

 

It was fitting that Adcock finished as one of Sturt’s best players in this, his final match. At the time of his retirement, he held Sturt’s games played record with 259.

 

Like Bob Shearman, Brenton Adcock was one of the initial inductees into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame and a member of Sturt’s Team of the Century.

 

 

Playing Career

 

Sturt 1962 – 1974 259 games/6 goals (6 Premierships)

 

South Australia 20 games (All Australian 1966)

 

 

 

(22) Paul Bagshaw (25, 6ft 1ins, 13st 6lb)

 

 

The McLaren Flat born and bred son of 1940 Sturt premiership player Hartley Bagshaw, Paul Bagshaw was destined to appear in the Double Blue. Bagshaw Senior, who also served his country in New Guinea, once remarked that “I did my best work for Sturt in the bedroom”. He was proven correct by the results achieved by his son.

 

Paul enjoyed personal success in their junior ranks whilst boarding with his grandparents in Cambridge St, Unley and attending Urrbrae Agricultural High.

 

Starting at Sturt Colts in 1961 at the age of fourteen, Bagshaw won that grade’s 1962 McCallum Medal and was runner-up in the Tomkins Medal in the Thirds in 1963. Knowing that they were onto a good one, Sturt selected Bagshaw for each of its 22 League games of 1964. Wearing the number 8, he goaled in his first match, against Glenelg at Unley, by crumbing a Dodger Ryan kickout that had reached the wing then launching a towering drop kick which eluded the waiting forwards. It was a portent of the sublime skills that Bagshaw would display during his seventeen seasons at the top.

 

Sturt went one better than its 1964 third placing with its narrow loss to Port in the 1965 decider. Chosen for the Mobil 1965 Card series (a rare honour for a player with one season only under his belt) Bagshaw consolidated his spot in the side, despite a minor knee injury keeping him out for a month.

 

His third season brought rich rewards, both personal and team. As Sturt’s first choice ‘run-on ruckman’ in 1966, the then 20-year-old was selected for SA in the 1966 Hobart Carnival, one of seven Sturt players. Bagshaw’s best game there was against the home team.

 

Although Sturt was the dominant side in the minor round, it lost to nemesis Port Adelaide by a point in the Second Semi Final. Led by a dominant performance from Bagshaw, highlighted by a 50 yard dropkick on the run in the third term that split the sticks, Sturt thrashed North Adelaide the following week to grasp a chance at avenging its 1965 loss.

 

In easily accounting for Port, Jack Oatey’s charges commenced a run of flags that has not been matched since.

 

Bagshaw’s first Best and Fairest in 1966 was regarded as a foregone conclusion. With unmatched ability to create his own time and space, Bagshaw regularly cut swathes through the opposition with his smooth, nimble and unruffled style. His skills by hand or foot were already of the highest order and he wasn’t afraid to launch himself high into packs, invariably coming down with the ball in hand.

 

Paul Bagshaw was spectacular from the outset.

 

Bagshaw was selected in the pivot for both of SA’s 1967 losses, playing especially well against Victoria, but was towelled up by Syd Jackson against WA (Bagshaw had a few mates that day). North Adelaide was the team to beat during the body of the season, but it lost both finals, setting up another Sturt v Port Grand Final. After a quiet three quarters, Bagshaw sparked his side with a ‘skyscraping mark and seventy yard goal’ according to the 1968 SA Football Record Year Book and it was two in a row for Sturt.

 

In 1968, the State selectors bypassed Bagshaw. Sturt lost only to the Magpies (twice) during the minor round but were too good for them twice in September. Bagshaw and John Murphy had silver service from Doc Clarkson in the latter’s final appearance for Sturt and ‘Baggie’ was BOG, setting up numerous plays all day. He brought up his century of league games in 1968.

 

Glenelg claimed top spot in 1969 thanks largely to Fred Phillis’ historic season, but the Blues leaned on its reserves of finals experience to easily beat the Tigers twice. Bagshaw was second only to Jim Tilbrook on Grand Final day, thrilling the crowd of 55,600 with several spectacular leaps.  He added a second B&F after only missing Sturt’s best players in four matches. By now he was established as one of the State’s best, noted for his balance, ball handling, thumping dropkicks and versatility. He remained overlooked in the Magarey Medal voting, polling only eight votes and was not selected for the Adelaide Carnival side.

 

In many respects, 1970 was a duplicate of 1969. Sturt finished second on the ladder, the State selectors left out Bagshaw and Sturt triumphed in the Premiership decider. Once again, it was Paul Bagshaw leading the way for the victors with his deft blocking and shepherding adding to his sure ball-handling in the soggy conditions. The SA Football Budget has recorded that he “demonstrated his uncanny ability and big-game temperament to be the outstanding player of the day”. When presented with his third Best and Fairest, Jack Oatey said of Bagshaw, “If he is not amongst the best footballers in Australia then I am not a football coach”.

 

Throughout his career to date, Bagshaw trained only once a week at Unley due to his commitments on his orchard and vineyard at McLaren Flat. In fact, in 1970, he failed to appear at state squad training as he was unaware that he had been selected because he had not read the paper for a few days.

 

His sureness with the ball was brought to the fore in Bagshaw’s second Mobil Card feature in 1971 pose in which Bagshaw was wearing his customary Blue Star high cut boots.

 

A fourth Best and Fairest award was Bagshaw’s in 1971, the year that Sturt’s run at the top ended. He also returned to the SA ranks as Vice-Captain, perhaps due to Neil Kerley having replaced Fos Williams as coach. Tellingly, he appeared in SA’s best in two of their three matches (both wins).

 

Sturt had a temporary decline in 1972 and Bagshaw was quiet in his two Perth Carnival appearances.

 

Bob Shearman’s retirement saw Bagshaw appointed as Sturt Captain in 1973 after 187 club appearances. Sturt regained its regular finals spot under its new skipper and Bagshaw joined the 200 Club. He also had his best ever result in the Magarey Medal, running third to Barrie Robran.

 

Bagshaw led the Blues to top spot after the Minor Round in 1974 and they narrowly won against Port in the Second-Semi. Two weeks later, they played off against 1973 Premiers Glenelg, who had easily seen to the Magpies the week before. Bagshaw’s winning the toss gave Sturt first use of a five goal gale, which proved decisive. Sturt wasted the breeze in the third quarter, forcing them to go on the attack in the last. This worked and three unanswered goals enabled Bagshaw to lift the TS Hill Memorial Trophy after the final siren.

 

Dubbed ‘Mr Magic’ by Wally May, Bagshaw was given another shot at State football in 1975, selected as Vice-Captain in two appearances in the Red, Navy and Gold. After finishing third, Sturt failed dismally in the finals, scoring an ignominious 5.23 in its loss to Port in the First Semi-Final.

 

Sturt’s late season form had tailed off badly in 1976, losing its last two minor round matches badly against Port (top, by 28 points) and Glenelg (third by 82 points). Playing Glenelg for the second week in a row, Sturt lost the Qualifying Final in a gruelling encounter by 23 points.

 

Against Norwood, bedevilled by injury and relative inaccuracy (6.10 to 11.1 at half time), Sturt needed to pull out a stunning 7.7. to 1.2 third term. Norwood almost pegged back the deficit late in the game before a late goal from a dashing Michael Graham assured Sturt of another chance.

 

Glenelg had faltered against Port Adelaide in the Second-Semi, but the Bays had the recent wood over the Blues and seemed likely winners of the Preliminary Final.

 

Sturt had to work exceedingly hard yet again to obtain a Grand Final spot, dragging out a 6.4 to 2.2 final term to win by 7 points.

 

Before a record crowd of who really knows how many and led by a Rick Davies masterclass on the ball, Sturt had accomplished what captain Bagshaw termed ‘Sturt’s finest hour’. Port was never in the hunt after the first change, with the Blues frustrating the Magpies out of the game for most of the game. The 41-point margin was due in part to the even spread of contributors, Bagshaw’s 3.2 outscoring everyone else on the ground. 1976 was also notable as Bagshaw overtook Brenton Adcock as Sturt’s games record holder.

 

The Blues slumped to seventh in 1977, the hangover of all hangovers. Bagshaw was awarded his fifth B&F – interestingly, Rick Davies had won the previous four and would go on to win the next three. He also wore State colours for the final time, picked as Vice Captain to Russell Ebert in SA’s ill-fated Centenary clash with WA at Football Park.

 

Put this one down for a major.

 

In 1978, Oatey moved Bagshaw off the ball to take up the key attacking post. The Blues also gained the services of Gary Hardeman, which stiffened its backline. The Unleysiders were untroubled throughout the 22 home and away rounds, dropping a single game against West Adelaide in Round 6. Sturt’s average winning margin was 8 goals, with all bar three of its wins exceeding a three-goal margin. The resolutely unfashionable Bagshaw even took to wearing light blue boots.

 

Norwood was the closest team on the ladder with 15 wins and Sturt waltzed past the Paradians in the Second Semi-Final by 22 points (or, more ominously 2.10). Two weeks later they met again. Bagshaw had scored 73 goals for the year (including a bag of 10 against Port), easily the most for Sturt. He started 1977 with only 122 career majors. In what he later suggested was “the biggest disaster of my career” and “our own stupid fault”, Sturt failed to put away Norwood, as the quarter by quarter scores show.

 

Sturt                    5.9         8.15       12.21    14.26    110

Norwood            1.5         5.10       9.10       16.15    111

 

Reminiscent of 1965, Sturt had three chances to score in the final minutes, but could only score a single behind after Redleg Phil Gallagher put his side ahead thanks to a dubious Des Foster decision. Bagshaw’s solitary goal tells much of the story.

 

Sturt’s misery continued in 1979, finishing ninth, the worst placing under Oatey. Bagshaw remained skipper and the season was notable for him breaking Lindsay Head’s record of 327 SANFL games. He contributed 43 goals, second only to Phil Heinrich’s 51.

 

Sturt recovered in 1980 in Bagshaw’s eighth season as captain. Port and Glenelg held the quinella after the minor round, Sturt beating Norwood into a place narrowly on percentage. The 34 year old Blues captain was restricted with a back injury, missing several games. Sturt met Glenelg in the Qualifying Final and blitzed them 6.12 to 0.2 in the first term, before the Bays responded to narrow the gap to 2 goals at the main break. It was never close after that. Sturt were outplayed by Port the next week, then once more epitomised Wally May’s maxim that “bad kicking is bad football” against Norwood in the Preliminary Final.

 

Sturt appointed Brendan Howard as its 1981 Captain as Bagshaw was unsure if his body could get up for an eighteenth season. When Bagshaw announced his retirement in June of 1981, his superlative career of 360 Sturt games and 14 for SA was over. He wore the League runner’s tracksuit in 1982 and that was that.

 

Bagshaw was (finally) inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2016, after earlier being recognised by the SA Football Hall of Fame and Sturt’s Team of the 20th Century.

 

‘Played Bagshaw. Played Bagshaw. Played Bagshaw.’

 

Playing Career

 

Sturt 1964 – 1980 360 games/258 goals (7 Premierships)

 

South Australia 14 games

 

 

(32) Bob Shearman (31, 5ft 10ins, 13st 6lb)

 

 

 

Shearman joined West Torrens in 1961 after 64 games for Essendon. He was a sixteen-year-old when he made his VFL debut in 1956, taking the eye with his enormous drop kicking.

 

West Torrens had appointed Essendon’s coach Dick Reynolds who ensured that his young star Shearman also came across the border. All-Australian selection followed in Shearman’s first SANFL season after the Brisbane Carnival.

 

He was appointed as Eagles captain in 1962 and was selected as one of West Torrens’ Mobil Cards in 1964 (in 1971 becoming the only player to appear for two separate clubs). Reynolds departed Thebarton at the end of the 1964 season. After one season under new coach Jim Slaven, Shearman wanted to leave for Sturt in 1965.

 

Shearman was by then one of the premier players in the league. He had amassed several games for SA in his previous four seasons and was captain of his adopted state from 1962-64. This included SA’s famed win at the MCG in 1963.

 

Torrens refused a clearance, despite Shearman having commenced his business activities at Unley’s Waverley Hotel. However, Shearman broke a leg in a preseason game, taking no further part in 1965 in any case. The Permit Tribunal granted a clearance for him to join Sturt in 1966.

 

It was no coincidence that Sturt’s next five years were all premierships, with Robert Osborne Shearman (aka ‘R.O.’) featuring in the centre for all of them.

 

Shearman means business as he leads the Blues out for another finals appearance.

 

John Halbert was captain for the 1966-68 triumphs (although Shearman was acting captain in the Grand Final of 68). When Halbert and Doc Clarkson retired and Brian Schwarz (to New Guinea), Brenton Miels (National Service) and John Murphy (South Melbourne) were unavailable, Sturt regrouped under new captain Shearman to extend to Blues’ winning run in 1969 and 1970.

 

Shearman’s 1971 Mobil Card pose brought out many the features that he is remembered for – poise, concentration, coolness under pressure and rugged good looks. He oozed the confidence that you would expect from of the skipper of the club with the last five SANFL flags.

 

His final two seasons as captain were largely unfulfilled, although he added a second Craven Filter National Champion Kick title in 1971 to his accumulation of acclaim. Sturt was overrun by Centrals in the 1971 first semi-final and Shearman was unable to shake off the attention of a disciplined Lyndon Andrews. A tendon injury midway through 1972 ended his playing days.

 

Shearman spent five years as a commentator on Channel Nine’s live Reserves telecasts. Continuing the pre-noon theme, he then coached Sturt’s seconds in 1978 and Woodville’s twos in 1979-80.

 

One of the great drawcards of his era, he was inducted into the SA Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and selected in Sturt’s Team of the 20th Century.

 

 

Playing Career

 

Essendon 1956-60 64 games/8 goals

 

West Torrens 1961-64 70 games/90 goals

 

Sturt 1966 – 1972 121 games/92 goals (5 Premierships)

 

South Australia 13 games (Captain 1962-64)

 

 

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

 

 

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

Comments

  1. Daryl Schramm says

    A cracker of a read again Swish, and definitely worth the wait.. Fantastic SANFL history of a club that dominated during the period. Bought back many memories for me as a young footy follower who barracked for the black and white at the time.

  2. As a Sturt supporter I had been waiting patiently for this instalment. What a ripper of a series you have going here.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Sorry that I’ve taken so long to return to this series DS and Greg, glad that you’ve found it worth reading.

    I haven’t been including video links so far, but here’s a ripping collection of Bagshaw moments, including the checkside from his backside in 1973 at 3:30s right in front of Advertiser photgrapher Barry O’Brien.

    https://www.facebook.com/SturtFootballClub/videos/paul-bagshaw-afl-hall-of-fame/1102754209788097/

  4. Peter Fuller says

    Fascinating series for this Victorian as well, thanks Swish.

  5. John Stimson says

    Thanks for putting this together. A great read for a life long Sturt supporter.

  6. The playing strips back then were so much simpler yet so much better, right across the board. Socks were pulled up (the only exception being the 2nd half of a hot Adelaide Oval GF). Bring back checkside ruck play at centre bounces as well!

  7. Ah, those were the days – Bags, Big Deano, Wild Gregory, Diamond Jim, Wheels, Enders (my favourite), Mickey, Chess, Greeny, Schoffy, Adders, Hicksey, and on and on. A Shearman stab punt to a Greenslade lead in the left full forward pocket at the southern end of Unley Oval; Tilbrook’s expansive chest and booming torpedoes; the understated glide and elegance of Short, Chessell and Brooks; the aerial magnificence of Rick Davies and that 1976 GF masterclass; later on, the dynamism of ‘Flash’ Graham; Whelan soaring, hanging there and marking with consummate ease; the almost nonchalant beauty of a Bagshaw mark over the back of a pack, a deft handball to a player in space, a precision pass off either foot- the best player never to win a Magarey Medal but right up there with Robran and Ebert as the best players of that generation. And Jack Oatey’s capacity to inspire.

    Thanks, Swish, for this parade down a beautiful memory lane!

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Peter, John and Ian for letting me know that I’ve managed to do what I intended with this piece and series.

    Those pristine jumpers didn’t see out the 70s unfortunately Greg. Glenelg having the sponsor’s name along the sash is footballing blasphemy

  9. Bagshaw was the player I loved watching as a kid; more so than Ebert, Marker et al. Made it look easy and magical at the same time. Is he still down at McLaren Flat? Great stuff Swish.

  10. Agreed, Mickey. Ebert was very skilful but seemed to rely just as much on his bustle and physical power. By contrast, Robran and Bagshaw were silky in their skills, they moved with unhurried elegance and seemed to do things with incredible ease with that little bit of extra time up their (cut off) sleeves. But, to be fair, we’re talking about the difference between 9.85 and 9.90 out of a perfect 10. As a Sturt supporter, ‘Bags’ shaded Robran in my favouritism (again by the smallest of margins) but I do consider Barrie to be the best player I ever saw in the flesh. A great pity that his career was cut short by ‘that clash’ in the interstate game.

  11. I was at the 65 Grand Final sitting with my dad and grandad on the wooden benches in the old Edwin Smith Stand. As Torrens supporters we hated Port so were barracking for Sturt. When Sturt started their last quarter comeback I got excited but dad said “Port are too experienced, they’ll hang on”. Adcock’s miss on the run 30 metres out on a 45 degree angle made me think dad understood the mysteries of sport and life in a way an excited 10yo couldn’t.
    I loved that Sturt 5x flag side of the 60’s. They played beautiful football – handball; stab kicks; possession – in a way I’d never seen. Port typified the footy of the 50’s and early 60’s – brawn, intimidation and physical dominance. Bagshaw personified the Jack Oatey style. Looked slow but the quickness of brain, hands and quick steps could evade any opponent and find a target. (Am I being unfair with him not liking the Vic physicality in State games?). Bagshaw and John Murphy were an unbeatable pair of ruck rovers (“tall mids” for the kiddies). Murphy was my favourite – more the reliable everyman than the laconic Bagshaw. Players like Chessell; Endersbee; ME Jones; Doc Clarkson stick in the mind as being the classy athletic Sturt style.
    Shearman!!**### (I preferred looking at Francine.) West Torrens and Fremantle Dockers premiership players at other clubs – discuss.
    Thanks Swish. Great memories.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’m pretty sure that Baggy is still down there Mickey.

    Ian, you’ve taken two bites at the cherry, something that was rare for those skillful Blues.

    Some great observations there PB – hope Bobby turns up in the post soon.

  13. Daryl Schramm says

    I don’t know about last year but in 2019 Paul Bagshaw was playing Seniors Pennant Golf in Adelaide. There was a belated comp last year but don’t know if he participated.

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