SANFL 70s Pen Pix: Norwood v Central District 1972

This staple of September Footy Budgets, the Player Pen Pix, comes from the only Centrals finals victory that I witnessed first-hand.



This cover photo, as well as being a sensational comparison of the kicking styles of Centrals’ Lyle Skinner and Phil Carman, is a nod to the infiltration of global sports giant adidas onto our local sporting arenas. Their new-fangled low-cut moulded sole boots, with the three stripes, were a potent symbol of the modernisation of sports and commerce (more of that later). Plus they were way more comfortable. And I can’t forget the smell of the my first pair (although mine were curiously only the semi-lowcut version, courtesy of Tony Casserly. The boots that is, not the smell).


What attracted me to this era’s pen pix, was their noting of the occupation of each player. This idea only lasted a few years, although the question of a player’s day job remained a part of the individual player profiles for decades to come.


Firstly to Norwood.


There are some outstanding examples of 70s jobs within the Redleg roster. Nippy Neville Harris supplied the Parade’s quota of meatworkers and I can picture a young Neil Button both fitting and turning with strength and ease. Bob Oatey was a football director before there were football directors. Young “Kingo”, Warren Packer and future Channel 9 honcho Des Flavel were still riding on the sheep’s back, as was all of Australia according to my Grade 7 Social Studies classes.


Insurance was a big deal back then, but I wonder what John Wynne was really managing. Current NFC historian and that season’s League leading goalkicker Mike Coligan was already a Company Director at 22. “Biscuits” Menz may have been between jobs, Michael Gregg was already an egg-head (as we liked to call clever people back then) and Dr Peter Oatey was a proto-Liptak. Did Roger Woodcock swing widely onto his left side as he stepped up to his drawing desk?


An assortment of clerks, representatives and officers also represented the Paradians although I don’t remember seeing Phil Carman/Carmen on Jaye Walton’s Touch of Elegance spruiking the opening of Melbourne Street’s newest macrame boutique.


What then of the Northerners?



Tony Casserly’s self-employment was at that stage still as the proprietor of the former Dixon’s Deli at the Elizabeth South shops, just across from the library and a stab pass away from the Rose and Crown (mine host Merv Waite, 2 Tests in 1938, 1 wicket @ 190.00). His move into real estate was imminent.


Beefy Andrews, Richard Cochrane and Richard Davis (plus Sally Saywell, whose name is missing) all spent their weeks tending to the academic needs of Elizabethan urchins, passing on their yard-ruler arse whacking techniques to young Jack Spaans. With the Holden factory running three shifts, the demand for fitters, turners, welders and storemen in the area remained high. Cracker Haughan was busy offloading the end result of their labour, across the road from the ground not yet known as the Ponderosa, at Peter Page Holden.


The earliest to training (arriving even before the chalkies) would have been the bankies Norsworthy and Vivian, the 3pm closing helping them in that regard. Constable Buck Moore was handy to know in case you had a run in with the fuzz needed some car registration advice.


At 6’9″ and 18st 5lb, Dean Farnham could do whatever he liked, and probably did. Irish Mulholland was singlehandedly responsible for all telegraphic communications from Gawler to Darwin apparently.


I’m not sure what Lyle Skinner did for a crust in 1972, but for the record, I’ll point out that his 2 VFL games while on National Service were for Fitzroy, not North.




I’ll leave it to you to work out how the soft-handed, shiny-arsed ponces from the inner Eastern Suburbs went against the blue collar, red blooded, white hot, salt of the earth blokes from Barossa South. (Hint, Centrals won 19.7 to 12.19).


Stay tuned for future editions, where we’ll find out how some of these fellas went down the track career wise and I’ll also revisit a couple of the other clubs.


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. Grand memories Swish. A reminder that Elizabeth was “aspirational” back in the 70’s with a better list of occupations than the eastern suburbs shiney bums. No “Centrelink assistants” back in those days.
    Imagine getting your 5 year medical degree plus one year’s internship done “on the side” these days while managing an AFL career? Sorry Clarko, I’ve got anatomical dissection at 3 – can you make the team meeting a bit later?
    Some terrific footballers among the lesser lights – Vivian (quick); Mulholland (ditto – poor kick?); Kroehn (played full back on Hudson in a State game? – is the PTSD treatment finished yet?); Glen Rosser was all class on a wing for Norwood.

  2. Lyndon Andrews says

    Another great article Swish. With all of these now in their sixties ( and some seventies) nearly all those I have info on are retired. Milky Vivian is still dispensing great financial advice in particular to retiring or retrenched Holden’s workers. Bill Cochrane is still patrolling the gaming venues helping clubs with their planning. Retired Dean Farnham had multiple careers including lawyering but now lives on a property near Gympie in Queensland . Haughan is back surfing the beaches in W . A. Ian Kroehn (att Peter B) has forgotten his State game and is often seen at cultural events in Adelaide although I do not think it was Hudson who kicked the goals on him(maybe Jezza). All the teachers including Spaaans now do not go anywhere near a classroom. Dean Mobbs still looks fit enough to play and keeps that way participating in rowing events for the Mannum club

  3. McAlmanac says

    Mike Coligan – what kind of 22 year old is a “company director”? ?

  4. Did the Legs have a sponsorship with G.H. Michell?

    Lyndon is right – my kids rowed a few years back and Mobbsy was still very competitive!

    I’m pretty sure it was Jezza.

    It was great growing up with all of the Doggies players as teachers. Lots of time for PE and I still remember Richard Cochrane bring his Seiko watch in that he got from the Channel 9 Sunday footy show.

  5. P. Carmen- PR officer. Indeed.

    Jaye Walton’s Touch of Elegance. Surely an entire series of posts on this iconic TV program is required, especially including the episode featuring Sir Les Paterson from which it could be reasonably argued, she scarcely recovered.

    1 Test wicket @ 190.00. Ouch, but one more than most of us! The very nature of running the Rose and Crown probably meant Merv could handle any criticisms of his cricket career.

    Thanks Swish. Looking forward to this series.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks all, I’ve gotta justify that pile of old Budgets somehow.

    PB – Ian Aitken dubbed Vivian as the Flying Milkman, but the Milky epithet was due to his complexion. He should’ve gone with “Ernie”. Mulholland looked an awkward kick, but was pretty effective. Ian Kroehn’s nemesis was Jezza in the 73 state game (Vics won by less than a kick) – he was a popular driver about town in his Nippy’s OJ truck once he gave away the welding caper. I’ll begrudgingly admit that Norwood had a few that could play a bit too.

    Lyndon A – I can’t resist calling you Beefy, even if you still aren’t. Thanks for the inside info. Jack Spaans and Kevin Johns followed up the 72 season with a year or two playing baseball for the local Bulldogs, with some success.

    McAlmanac – “Rostrevor” – enough said.

    Culls – who needed a Rolex when you could win a Seiko? I remember when Mobbsy did his knee and his (successful) rehab involved running up and down the Elizabeth grandstand until he dropped.

    Stayed tuned Mickey – the 1974 Grand Final teams could be next. Margaret Glazbrook just didn’t cut it, did she?

  7. Peter Oatey was a Doctor! Should have been playing for the Blacks. Unless he went to Flinders! Did Flinders have a Med School in 72?
    Neil Button. If he was rowing, be must have been playing as an amateur in the SANFL. Should have been playing for the Blacks.

  8. Rabid Dog says

    Great article Swish. Was also at the game. It was the one two weeks late that really broke my heart though. Almost 4 goals up at 3/4 time, only to lose by 6 points. Day I realised how much I hate Port (and still do). Jack Spaans figures heavily in my recollections as to why the big last quarter turn-around….
    Nice to read the player pix – still have the Budgets (note – BUDGETS) from each game of the 1971 and 72 Final series at home – should pull them out for a read too. I’ve even got the Champions of Australia series budgets – the one in 1972 where Roosters beat Carton by a point.
    A couple of other points – Ian Kroehn did indeed stand Jezza (1973) (Jezza I think kicked 10) – saw that game at Adelaide Oval too – fantastic match. Seeing Jezza mobbed as he came out of the change rooms to the masses was a special moment. Sony played back pocket. And we so nearly beat them.
    Skinny did play for Fitzroy – saw that error too.
    Culls, pity I went to EWPS and not EDPS – could’ve had my selection of CDFC players as a teacher (there were quite a few!).
    Can’t picture Neil button as a fitter and turner, but then again, not sure one of my favourite ever players would’ve been too good as a used car salesman.
    Robin Mulholland had a cramped kicking style, but very effective – I remember one kick that bounced off the top of the goalpost at the Northern end of DOGGY PARK. He still looks pretty fit today (as does Mobbsy ,Richard C, and Kevin Johns. I saw Dean Farnham a few years ago in Cairns. Still see quite a few of the other CDFC players at games.
    6% Peter went on to become a Neurosurgeon, and is still practising in ADL. Adelaide grad. So too is Michael Gregg, who is GPing at Kadina. Like a few others, had the ability to play SANFL and elected to do so when could’ve played for the Blacks.
    John Wynne (‘Number 2-8′) an out-and-out champion. Phil Carmen warrants an entire article (Swish?_.
    Thanks for the memories – helps while away the night shift. Keep ’em coming.

  9. Great and important stuff, Swishter.

    Phil Carman, Public Relations Officer. An oxymoron if ever there was one.

  10. Rulebook says

    Swish not the result re the game I would have liked but love blasts from the pasts still say,Carman is the only one who competes with Robran re pure ability bloody white line fever.Lynn Stewart played for the blacks.Dean Mobbs was a sensational player thanks,Swish

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks again.

    6% – as Rulebook pointed out, the only Norwood bloke that I hadn’t heard of did play for the Blacks.

    Rabs – your comments were longer than my article. Thanks for all that. Almanacker Matt Watson has written the book you are after – Fabulous Phil – out next month.

    Smokie – not sure it’s important, but it’s always fun.

    ‘Book – that Carman/Cornes stoush in the mud at the Parade doesn’t get old either.

  12. Swish- At what historical point did the player profile first include the question and reply format along these lines-

    Favourite dish: steak/seafood
    Favourite song: Khe Sanh
    Favourite movie: Rocky.

    No other answers were permissible. On the West Coast I once saw this in a local budget

    Do you smoke: Never looked.

  13. matt watson says

    Swish, this is a great take on footy. I love the analysis of the jobs the footballers had.
    I once enjoyed reading short bios on the players in the VFL Football Record (I was once a Victorian!)
    When I was a kid, I remember being shocked that a lot of players listed their favourite drink as beer.
    Back then, I thought, they shouldn’t be drinking if they’re playing footy.
    How naive…
    The book, Fabulous Phil, is about to hit the distributors…

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Mickey and Matt, thanks for the idea that you didn’t realise that you’ve just given me. It looks like 1976 was “Ground Zero” in the Player Profile steaks, err, stakes.

  15. Mark Duffett says

    Unfortunately I’m not quite old enough to remember seeing him play, but I’m guessing Robin Mulholland showed plenty of dash.

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