SANFL Blow-ins 1960-1990 Part 4: North Adelaide

 

After an absence of several years, this is Part 4 of the series that celebrates the (foreign) legion of those who came from outside South Australia to have a crack in the SANFL between 1960-1990 inclusive.

 

As a reminder, this introduction to the series outlines the few ground rules

 

SANFL Blow-ins 1960-1990 Part 1: Introduction and Coaches

 

North Adelaide was very light on for interstate recruits during the early sixties although the seventies changed all that. The eighties saw regional Victoria especially plundered for a vast intake of players, some had brief stays, others played in flags.

 

(Frank) Geoffrey Jones was a former Hawthorn seconds player who played fifteen games for North in 1963 (kicking one goal), including the Grand Final loss to Port Adelaide. He taught at Prince Alfred College that year, but returned to Melbourne in 1964. He was very pleased to be remembered by the club’s History Committee when he was tracked down in Wollomombi, near Armidale NSW fifty years later.

 

Kevin Coleman lines up for the South West League at Narrandera, 1964. Source: The Daily Advertiser

 

Kevin Coleman was recruited from the Essendon seconds, playing as a key forward in 17 games for 34 goals in 1966/67. He played in losing Preliminary Finals in both years. Coleman was the archetypal country footy champion, hailing originally from Grong Grong in NSW, and after his Roosters’ years, bobbing up at Maryborough (winning the 1969 Ballarat League B&F) and winning a hat trick of Sunraysia Football League McLeod Medals for Red Cliffs (73/74) and Irymple (75). He was last seen driving a school bus around the Sunraysia district.

 

Mike Patterson with Port’s John Cahill at the toss for the 1971 Second Semi-Final. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Richmond dual premiership player Mike Patterson came to Prospect as Captain Coach in 1970.  This heralded a serious North foray into the SANFL big time, after a decade of playing third fiddle to Port and Sturt. His VFL toughness rubbed off almost immediately and the Roosters were Premiers in both 1971 and 1972, the latter season finishing with the famous Champions of Australia victory over Carlton. The Swamp Fox played in the 1971 flag and the subsequent Champions of Australia series. He played 52 games for the Roosters from 1970-73 and coached through to 1977.

 

Barry Gniel Source: SA Football Budget

 

Walpeup’s Barry Gniel spent a season with Richmond’s reserves before having a crack at Prospect. He played the first four games in 1971, but didn’t add to his league tally again in two seasons at Prospect. He did however meet his future wife Glenys, who was the club’s receptionist and the couple returned to the family farm in 1973. Gniel was a standout when representing the North-Central leagues upon his return, just as he had been in 1969 when Garry Sporn had been a teammate.

 

Garry Sporn charges in to aid John Plummer’s escape from Port’s Trevor Grimwood. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Garry Sporn arrived from Murrayville in Victoria’a west in 1971 as a gangly 26yo ruckman, having previously knocked back opportunities to play for Essendon and Richmond. Appearing first in round 4, he was a permanent fixture during North’s dominant 71-73 seasons, playing in three grand finals and both Champions of Australia series. Sporn was named North’s second best (behind Barrie Robran) in the Champions of Australia win over Carlton, rucking against John Nicholls. Less fondly remembered is Sporn’s supplying of the shoulders leapt upon by Glenelg’s Graham Cornes in the dying moments of 1973’s Grand Final. His short but durable streak was halted in 1974, his last season at Prospect, finishing with 76 appearances and 43 goals. Sporn coached Ngallo to a Lameroo and District flag in his first year of coaching.

 

John Spry. Source: SA Football Budget

 

John Spry entered the Roosters’ side midway through 1972, as second ruck to Sporn, having played very well in his few games for Claremont. He did enough to keep his spot during the finals, finishing the year as both a SANFL Premiership and Champions of Australia winner. He followed his initial SANFL season with a very solid 1973 season but returned to Claremont for three more seasons. Spry was a surprising addition to the Port Adelaide lineup in 1977, winning his second SANFL flag with an epic rucking effort.

 

Geoff Strang. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Another ex-Richmond blow-in was Geoff Strang, a dual VFL flag player (’67, ’69). A member of the famous Strang clan from Albury, his straight-ahead style alongside CHB Bohdan Jaworskyj suited his ex-Tiger teammate Patto and he was a vital cog in the 1972 flag. He donned the Red-With-Big-White-V again in ’73 but lost his place after Round 16. The opening game of 1974 was the last of Strang’s 32 games at Menzies Crescent.

 

Lance Morton’s 1970 Scanlens Card

 

North added Lance Morton to the Rooster roster in 1973 after his record at Hawthorn (36 games, 26 goals from 1968/70) and South Melbourne (12 games, 23 goals on 1972). Presumably one of the few SANFL players to have ever donned the Canterbury Methodists jumper, Morton added 6 goals in his first two games of 1974 (after his 11 games and 9.17 in 1973). They were his final appearances at North Adelaide.

 

Charlie Payne’s 1965 Scanlens Card. Source: australianfootball.com

 

From Terang in Victoria, Charlie Payne was a dual premiership player for Essendon at both ends of the field. Despite his imposing VFL record (184 games/128 goals) from 1962-72, he was only aged 28 when he came across to North Adelaide in 1973. Used mainly in attack, the genial Payne was amongst North’s best in the 1973 Grand Final loss and was more than handy again in 1974. His most fruitful season was 1975, where he racked up 33 goals from 13 games. His only three outings in an injury riddled 1976 were his final ones for North, totalling 94 goals from his 52 games. He was a regular representative for his club on KG’s Football Inquest.

 

George McInnes. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Brocklesby’s Arthur Robert “George” McInnes found his way to Prospect in 1974 after a low-key stint at Richmond. Opportunities for Tiger ruckmen were limited as shown by his 16 senior games and 88 reserves games during 1966-1970, playing second-fiddle to the likes of his future coach Mike Patterson. He was best man at Kevin Bartlett’s wedding and KB returned the favour when Big George tied the knot. McInnes moved to Wynyard in 1971, gained a Tasmanian blazer for the 1972 Carnival and was Wynyard Captain/Coach in 1973. After playing most of North’s games in 1974/75, he was only able to get on the park a handful of times in the next two seasons ending up in 1977 after 41 Roosters games.

 

Peter Cloke’s aerial dominance is on display in this match against West Torrens. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Oakleigh’s Peter Cloke, was not able to cement a permanent spot at Richmond, compiling 28 games and 4 goals from 1970-73. He won the Reserves B&F in 1972. Cloke joined VFA club Oakleigh during the 1973 season and starred in two losing Grand Finals in 73/74. He also appeared in a pre-season trial game at Melbourne in 1974. Moving to North Adelaide in 1975, the older brother of David Cloke, was an instant SANFL sensation winning North’s Best and Fairest. He gave the Ross Faulkner a fair old left foot roost(er), playing mainly at CHB for a club that was heading towards darker times. Cloke was one of the hardest and fairest defenders in the SANFL and a fearless and glorious overhead mark. Cloke was damaging when used in attack and tied for the Rooster goalkicking tally in 1978 with 28 goals after slotting 40 in 1977.  He was runner up to John Duckworth in the 1979 Magarey Medal and took out his second North B&F that year. After 146 games and 109 goals for North plus one State game, Cloke finished at the end of the 1981 season. As captain-coach of Bordertown, he won the Mail Medal for the B&F in the Tatiara Football League in 1982 and took them to the 1984 flag (his first at any level).

 

Peter Sporn. Source: North Adelaide Football Club History Facebook account.

 

Younger brother of Garry and also from Murrayville, Peter Sporn proved a handy player during his 20 games and 19 goals across 1975-78. His son Trent Sporn played for North Adelaide and Carlton.

 

 

Trevor Hill, Greg Smith, Laurene Bell, Charlie Payne and John Baruzzi try out the new Rooster Reviver wine. Source: @1975sanflseason scrapbook on Twitter

 

Former Richmond Under 19s player Greg Smith was a teammate of Cloke’s at Oakleigh and he had also taken the eye of the North scouts in Oakleigh’s 1974 Grand Final. Left footer Smith joined North in 1976 and gained a regular berth after making his senior debut in Round 5. A troublesome ankle stopped his 1977 season in July and business opportunities took the accountant back to Victoria after 28 games and 8 goals in the red and white. He continued with Caulfield in the VFA.

 

Greg Lofts was an accomplished player for Beaufort in Victoria before he joined the Roosters in 1976. He broke into the seniors in Round 17 in a back pocket and cemented his spot throughout 1977. Lofts added three games in 1978, playing 27 games all up, kicking 5 majors. Lofts returned to Beaufort in 1981 and played there until 1990. Lofts was a community stalwart, working for the Pyrenees Shire Council until his retirement.

 

Peter Walsh originated from Busselton in WA. Walsh won the Busselton B&F in 1973 and was their captain in 1975.  At North, he played 9 games for 2 goals in 1976/77. Walsh returned home to play Centre in Busselton’s 1978 bottom-to-top premiership win and was their senior coach in 1985 and 1986 before making way for former Central District blow-in Max George. Walsh was Busselton President in 1989. His younger brother Greg played 163 games for West Perth. Peter and Greg joined the family company in the early 1980s, which became the state’s largest meat processor under their stewardship. The Amelia Park brand successfully expanded its empire to include wines and thoroughbred breeding and racing.

 

Paul Ah Chee was a smooth mover. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Paul Ah Chee was born in the Adelaide Hills but spent his early years in Alice Springs so can be regarded as qualifying as a blow-in for the purposes of this series. He moved back to Adelaide at 14 to complete his schooling and started at North via the Under 17s. Ah Chee gained league selection against Glenelg late in 1977, showing much promise as a speedy flank/wing in his 6 games. He played the first three matches of 1978, finishing his season early with a dislocated elbow. Ah Chee only added three games in 1979. His first game of 1980 was in Barrie Robran’s 200th game at Prospect where Ah Chee scored two late goals coming off the bench. His final season was 1981, spending most of the season in the Reserves until playing three League games late in the season. His injury abbreviated North Adelaide career closed with a 22 game/15 goal record, which was followed by a stint at Ingle Farm in the SAFA. Paul Ah Chee has a long a fruitful post-football career in the arts and tourism industry, notably his work with the group Amunda.

 

Greg McAdam sinks another one at Prospect. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Greg McAdam was also from Alice Springs, coming down to Adelaide for his schooling at Northfield High. He rose through the Rooster junior ranks, playing his first League game in the final round of 1977 whilst only 16 years old. A damaging centreman, he was soon a senior Rooster regular, collecting State honours at U/17, U/19 and U/21 along the way before McAdam took out North’s B&F in 1980. He was almost lost to North Melbourne in 1981 but returned home after three weeks. McAdam played at Prospect until 1983 racking up 110 games for 153 goals and made the Croweater State side four times. McAdam moved to Geelong in 1984 but went back to Alice Springs without playing any league football. He lined up for St Kilda in 1985, playing ten games before his VFL career was curtailed by a knee injury. McAdam lined up with his brother Gilbert for Central District in for eight games in 1989. Returning to Alice Springs, he coached South Alice for many years. Now known as James McAdam, he moved Bathurst Island to coach the Tiwi Bombers in 2021.

 

Brenton Hartfield in a 1975 appearance for Claremont. Source: Kulin Past and Present Facebook account.

 

A product of WA wheatbelt town Kulin, Brenton Hartfield was ‘leased’ by North from Claremont in 1979 after three seasons there. During his two Rooster seasons, he produced 40 goals from his 33 games. He was even more productive when he crossed to Norwood in 1981 but left the Redlegs abruptly in the middle of 1982 after a being dropped not long after he kicked a bag of nine goals. He then played a handful of games at Glenelg. Hartfield returned to WA where he continues to run a successful sporting equipment and apparel agency.

 

Never a truer word written. Source: SA Football Budget

 

A Teal Cup All-Australian Centre Half Forward in 1977 for Victoria, Mildura’s Grenville Dietrich was injured during his pre-season with Richmond in 1978 and returned home. He was almost a SANFL Bulldog in 1979, being accommodated in a caravan at the rear of coach Daryl Hicks’ property, before getting his marching orders during the pre-season after an uncharacteristic altercation at the club. North spotted his talents when he was back in Sunraysia territory and Grenville (as in Kylie, Madonna or Wilbur) was a Rooster for season 1982. He debuted in Round 4 against the Panthers, but had to wait another month for his next chance. Goals came regularly but not in great numbers until he bagged 24 majors in the last three weeks of the season, topping the Chooks’ goalkicking with 55 (plus 10 in the Escort Cup) for the 1982 season (noting that Port’s Tim Evans, Central’s Greg Edwards and Warrior Trevor Pierson all kicked centuries in the League season proper). Dietrich’s ability to score heavily was evident in 1983 where hauls of 10, 12 and 11 contributed to his 110 goals. He went even bigger in 1984 with 116 goals, but the Roosters slumped to eighth. His off field exploits were already the stuff of myth and legend as beautifully told by Malcolm Ashwood.

 

Mike Nunan’s Roosters rose to prominence in 1985 and Dietrich’s contributions were steady. However a missed Friday training session saw Nunan hand out a suspension and the Second-Semi final was the full-forward’s last game for the year. He missed North’s Grand Final loss to Glenelg as a consequence despite his 81 club goals that season. Determined to atone in 1986, three separate bags of 11 goals vaulted Dietrich into the South Australian side against Victoria (4 goals) and WA (3 goals). He had 48.11 after six rounds and looked destined for his first Ken Farmer Medal. Injured against Hawthorn in North’s third Foster’s Cup game, Dietrich missed the next dozen games. Upon resuming his spot up forward for the eventual Minor Premiers, he was solid with 12 goals in his last three games. The Grand Final Football Budget pithily noted of Dietrich that he was “A top full forward who has few peers in SA but this is marred by a lack of discipline”. With a solitary point to his name at half-time of the Grand Final, he was benched thereafter in another North lost decider. His time at Prospect was up after 105 games and 452 goals. Dietrich moved to Thebarton in 1987 where the need for goals outweighed any off-field considerations. He added a West Torrens top goalkicker award (54 goals) to his five North ones. Conversely, the Torrens full-forward John Roberts reversed his decision to retire and ended up as a premiership player and Ken Farmer Medallist with 111 goals at North. Dietrich’s League career was halted by injury after two Torrens games in 1988 but footy took him to Mildura, Leeton, Kilburn, Coleraine and Karween-Karrawinna thereafter.

 

Les Turner came to North in 1982 from the Pioneer club in Alice Springs. He had been chosen for the NTFL team which played the Australian Amateurs at VFL Park in July 1979. Turner made his debut for North in Round 1 against Sturt at Prospect, kicking 2 goals. Turner returned to Alice Springs after the Round 10 game, with a seven game, three goal tally. His career as a Senior Executive in the Commonwealth Public Service led to him joining the NSW Aboriginal Land Council in 2007, where he was named CEO in 2013. He led the Aboriginal Legal Service from 2017-2019, then returned to Alice Springs after 37 years to become CEO of the Central Land Council.

 

Lance White was also from the Pioneer club at Alice Springs and was also selected in the NTFL team in 1979, on a wing. He won the Mail Medal for the Central Australian Football League in the same year. His first match for the Roosters came in Round 3 of 1982. White returned to Alice Springs with Les Turner having played seven times for North Adelaide and scoring three goals. White won the CAFL Best and Fairest again in 1983 and 1987 and also played for St Marys in the NTFL including their 1987/88 flag. He was nominated in the NT’s top 100 players of all time in 2016 as part of the AFLNT Team of the Century process. Lance’s nephew, Brisbane triple-premiership player Darryl White has stated that Lance inspired him to play football.

 

When Turner, White and Greg McAdam lined up together in Round 5 against the Redlegs, it was the first time since that three Indigenous men had represented North Adelaide since 1892.

 

Hamilton’s Trevor Russell tried his luck at North in 1982, playing 8 games for 9 goals. He is a life member of the Hamilton Kangaroos FNC.

 

Phil Harrison was pleased to grab a spot in the Geelong Ardmona cards roster

 

Phillip Harrison came from Numurkah and was recruited to Geelong in 1980. A rangy half-forward flank, he played in three Cats Reserves flags from 1980-82, without really breaking into the senior side (2 games in 1981, 5 in 1982). Joining North in 1983, he played 8 games late in that season. In 1984, after a single Escort Cup game for the Roosters, Harrison moved to Port Adelaide, commencing a fruitful six season 133 game career for the Magpies which included flags in 1988 and 1989. A long coaching career followed with appointments at Millicent, Tantanoola, Port Districts, Gaza, Modbury and Broadview.

 

Mike Parsons beaming as always in this 1986 team photo. Source: SA Football Budget

 

From Legana in Tasmania’s Tamar region, Mike Parsons was a standout junior footballer and basketballer. Awarded a basketball scholarship to Utah, Parsons played for Launceston in the National Basketball League, winning the league in 1981. Moving to Adelaide for studies, Parsons played for the West Adelaide Bearcats. North Adelaide offered the 203cm Parsons the chance to return to football late in the 1983 season. A league spot was his after only one week in the Reserves. The pairing of Parsons with North’s sterling ruckman Mike Redden gave the Roosters a huge boost on the ball, but Parsons was also dangerous when plyed in attack. After losing both deciders in 1985 and 1986, Parsons spearheaded North’s 1987 premiership with a six goal, take-no-prisoners Jack Oatey medal winning exhibition against Glenelg. Sydney consequently grabbed Parsons at Pick 10 in the 1987 draft. Parsons’ form was intermittent at the Swans and he put together 25 games across 1988-90. It was no coincidence that his return to North in 1991 resulted in another premiership. He finished his SANFL career at the end of 1992 after 158 games and 196 goals. The affable man known as “Bristles” was a popular boundary rider for the ABC’s SANFL coverage after his retirement, then business took him to Sydney. Michael Parsons died at the very young age of 48 after the effects of a stroke and a brain tumour in 2009.

 

Doncaster Heights’ Mark Eaves had a crack at Prospect in 1984 after his two-game VFL career with the Fitzroy Lions in 1982/83. Used as a forward by North Adelaide, the lethal left-footer’s five games produced nine goals before he was summarily dismissed by the club. Eaves was best on ground in a VFA premiership for Sandringham at CHF in 1985 under Bob Keddie. Eaves went to Footscray in 1986, but was unable to gain a senior berth. Heading the Reserves goal-kicking with 42 goals after the first nine rounds, Eaves did not make another appearance for the Dogs and returned to Sandringham where he played just over 100 games.

 

Phillip Bunn played for Horsham Demons, kicking eight goals on one leg in their 1979 flag. before he had a stint at Melbourne, playing a season and a bit in 1980 and 1981. He returned to Horsham as inaugural coach of Imperials-Wonwondah in the Wimmera League. Bunn was recruited to Prospect in 1984 and started the season in the seniors before losing his spot after Round 2. He returned late in the season with a five goal haul in a win over West Adelaide and kept his spot for the rest of the season. After playing three Escort Cup games before the 1985 season proper, Bunn had consecutive bags of three goals when recalled mid-season, but was out of the side again after three games and his time at the Roosters was up after 15 appearances for 19 goals. Returning home, Bunn famously steered the renamed Horsham United to the 1988 Wimmera FL flag, leading by example with 10 goals. Bunn worked in recruitment for Port Adelaide (the AFL version) from its inception in 1997, taking on a similar role at the Adelaide Crows after having earlier coached TAC Cup side Murray Bushrangers to the 2008 flag. He was appointed coaching director of Fitzroy in the VAFA in 2021.

 

Wagga’s Kevin Carey played one Escort Cup game in 1985. His younger brother Wayne was playing for North’s under age sides at the time.

 

Michael Poynton lining up for Fitzroy in 1983. Source: lions.com.au

 

Michael Poynton wasn’t quite 18 when he made his debut for Fitzroy in 1979, arriving from East Doncaster. The lightly built flanker came to prominence in 1980 with bags of 4 and 6 goals. He nailed down his spot the following year when the Lions roared into fourth place with Poynton a regular contributor around the sticks with 32 goals. His career faltered in 1982 kicking 12.22 from 12 games and late in 1983 he awoke from exploratory surgery to find his leg in plaster along with his marching orders from Fitzroy after 52 games and 66 goals. He was a fan favourite at the Lions as shown by his regular Scanlen’s footy card selection. Poynton took 1984 off while he was rehabilitating. His arrival at North in 1985 proved that he had recovered when he kicked consecutive 5 goal hauls in the opening two games. He injured his “good knee” when attempting his 5th goal in Round 3 against Norwood leading to his second reconstruction and 1985 was over for him. (There may have been a financial inducement behind Poynton’s attempt at a hat-trick of handfuls). Poynton recovered to have a marvellous season in 1986, playing 28 games (including the Foster’s Cup) and snagging 54 majors. North were Minor Premiers and Poynton was North’s most productive forward during the finals. The losing Grand Final was his last appearance as a Rooster.

 

Bernie Edmonds was from Hamilton and played two Escort Cup pre-season games in 1986. He returned to Hamilton. Edmonds bobbed up briefly in 1991 for Sandringham in the VFA and was the Old Geelong Best and Fairest in 1993 in the VAFA.

 

Christian Thomson. Source: blueseum.org

 

Christian Thomson took the long way round to North Adelaide. He grew up in Mansfield in Victoria’s High Country, where his father Rev Peter Thomson was Chaplain and Principal of Geelong Grammar’s Timbertop campus. Thomson Jr was briefly a boarder at Geelong Grammar, before moving to Adelaide when his father was appointed Master of St Mark’s College at the University of Adelaide. Thomson finished his schooling in Adelaide at St Peter’s College (aka Hackney High) before returning to Mansfield. Former Test cricketer Paul Sheahan was the Saints’ Principal and recommended Thomson to Carlton so in 1985 he was a member of the Blues U/19s (and also played one Reserves game). Phys Ed studies took Thomson back to Adelaide, which was how he arrived at Prospect in 1986. He was a solid, tall utility for North, playing in five winning games late in 1986, but wasn’t selected in the finals. He played one pre-season game in 1987 before deciding to play at St Peters Old Collegians. He was a member of the Amateur League State side in 1988 and had another crack at League level with Port Adelaide in 1991, playing three games. He then made his final return to Mansfield where he still teaches to this day. Known by all as “Fish”, Thomson is a legend of the Mansfield Eagles FNC, where he has coached at Senior and Reserves level as well as winning B&Fs for both. When studying at Oxford, Peter Thompson formed a very close friendship with a young Tony Blair and this continues with the Reverend’s popular and outgoing son.

 

Tim Edmonds in 1986. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Also from Hamilton, Tim Edmonds had his only outing for North in the first round of the 1986 Foster’s Cup against Melbourne. He went on to West Torrens in 1988 and made three appearances there.

 

Adrian McAdam during his brief time at North Adelaide. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Like his elder brothers Greg and Gilbert, Adrian McAdam came down from Alice Springs to play at North Adelaide. Adrian played in the Under 17s flag of 1987 and was first selected in senior ranks for four Escort Cup games in 1988, playing 12 Reserves games in the season proper as a 17-year-old. He played a solitary Reserves game in 1989 and in 1990 played three League games. He was in the League side from Round 1 of 1991, playing 8 games for 16 goals that season. It is fair to say that he was never able to settle in at the Roosters and his tally there was 15 games/21 goals. McAdam took the AFL world by storm when he joined North Melbourne in 1993 – he was Pick 98 in the 1992 Draft. Starting the season in the Reserves, McAdam had 30 goals in the first four weeks before a spot opened in the League side. He was a revelation during the first three weeks at senior AFL level, kicking bags of seven, ten and six, lining up in a forward pocket alongside Wayne Carey and John Longmire.. All up, McAdam’s first season yielded 68.43 from 17 games, although his tackle tally for the season was seven. Opposition sides took advantage of McAdam’s lack of bulk in 1994 and were able to keep him to 22 goals from 18 games. A whack across the chops from Brisbane’s Damian Bourke in a 1995 pre-season game took away much of McAdam’s desire so with only 1 Kangaroos game in 1995, his spectacular time at Arden Street finished after 36 games for 92 goals. Unsurprisingly, a move to Collingwood in 1996 did not provide the type of welcoming environment that McAdam needed, and he returned to Alice Springs before the season began. McAdam was appointed coach of South Alice Springs in 2021 having previously coached Southern Districts in the NTFL, but he had also represented the NT in cricket, basketball and soccer.

 

Alan Mazzini in 1988. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Mildura’s Alan Mazzini played four Escort Cup games in 1988, then the first six minor round games.

 

Chris Stacey came from Koroit in Victoria, and played one game for Fitzroy in 1986, then 3 games (5 goals) for Brisbane in 1987. Stacey played in two Escort Cup games for North Adelaide in 1988 and that was it for the Roosters. Closer to home, Stacey was top goalkicker in the Warrnambool and District Football League in 1997 and 1998 for Dennington.

 

William Lyall was one of a posse of players who arrived at North Adelaide from Horsham United in 1989. He played his only league game for North in a big Round 3 home win against Port Adelaide that year.

 

Marc Marshall roosts it into attack. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Another 1989 Horsham United recruit Marc Marshall made a slow start to his career at Prospect, registering three Foundation Cup games that year. The pacy wingman settled into the senior side in 1990 and was a regular selection come finals time. A very strong season in 1991 saw Marshall play 27 games, pick up 10 Magarey Medal votes and become a North premiership player. He remained a valuable clubman throughout his career, finishing in 1998 after 119 games and 34 goals.

 

Horsham’s Trevor McClure played a single 1989 Foundation Cup game for North Adelaide. McClure is now the Principal of Edenhope College as well as holding down senior roles at the Horsham District Football Netball League and the Edenhope-Apsley Saints, who he also played for as recently as 2018.

 

Maurice Natoli was the fourth of the Horsham United quartet to arrive at North in 1989. He played two Foundation Cup games before his debut in the season proper in Round 15 against Port Adelaide. He added two Foundation Cup games in 1990.

 

A confident Todd Stone in 1989. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Todd Stone grew up in Melbourne’s west and played Under 19s for Richmond in 1987. Lobbing at Prospect in 1989, he was an instant boost to the Rooster ranks, playing dependably across 20 games.  The 1989 Grand Final Budget described Stone as “Exciting, young, solidly built utility from Victoria who the Roosters have pinned their hopes on for the ‘90s”.  Stone’s last game that season was in the losing Second Semi-Final against Port. In 1990, he played in the seniors until the middle of the season, in what was to be his last season for North, winding up with 31 games and 21 goals. In 1997, he recorded 20 goals for North Wangaratta in a match against Tarrawingee in Victoria’s Ovens and King League. Stone also had pair of century seasons for Longwood in the Benalla and District League.

 

Ashley Bond. Source: nafc.com.au

 

From Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, Ashley Bond was awarded the Most Potential in Squad trophy for Hawthorn’s Peter W Crimmins under age squad in 1984 and followed this up with a stint in the Hawks U/19s in 1985. Coming to Prospect in 1990 fresh from a QAFL premiership for Southport, Bond was straight into the North’s Foundation Cup side for all five matches. He appeared in the League side for the first two rounds then consolidated his place in the last half of the season. A rangy on-baller, Bond had two standout matches, nabbing four goals in huge wins against both West Adelaide and Sturt, but did not play for North again after Round 18, finishing with 16 games/19 goals. Bond returned to Morwell in 1991 and in 1992 was prominent for the LVFL with 6 goals in the Victorian Country league final against Geelong. Playing later for Sale, he won the 1997 Best and Fairest and was named in that club’s Team of the Nineties. Ashley Bond passed away in 2003.

 

Duane Massey was a very good player at Tuggeranong in the ACT, making the ACT Teal Cup side in 1985 and the ACT Colts side in 1988. His Senior playing record at North consisted of two Foundation Cup matches and one League game in 1990. Massey was the club’s Reserves coach from 2001-2003 and he was also caretaker Coach of the league side for the last six games of 2003, replacing the axed Darel Hart. Massey then had two seasons at Sturt as Reserves Coach/Assistant Senior Coach and was Football Manager at the Double Blues from 2006-2010. West Coast Eagles appointed Massey as an SA-based full-time recruiter in 2011.

 

Martin McCague was born in Ireland and his family settled at Port Hedland in the 1970s. Although primarily a footballer (he was playing reserves for East Perth), he was spotted as a fast bowling talent and was selected for the Australian Cricket Academy, housed in Adelaide. North Adelaide got wind of McCague’s availability and selected him for his only League game in Round 9 of 1990, a goalless appearance at full-forward against South Adelaide. Unable to force his way regularly into the WA Shield side, McCague went to England to have a crack County Cricket for Kent. McCague did so well initially that he accepted a full-time contract with Kent that soon lead to a surprise Test selection for England, thanks to his British passport.

 

Tim Perkins was already a key player for North per this excerpt from the 1991 Grand Final Budget. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Tim Perkins was selected in the 1986 Teal Cup side for Queensland. He played for Mayne locally and was listed by the Brisbane Bears as a non-draft selection in 1988. Playing well in the Reserves, Perkins was very close to senior selection in 1989 until multiple injuries and Brisbane’s less than stable football environment led Perkins to join seek opportunities down south. With his housemate in Brisbane, Bears player Matthew Simpson, Perkins arrived at North Adelaide for the 1990 season. Perkins broke into the side in Round 8 of that year and was rarely out of the Roosters side after that. After his very strong debut season, Perkins was even better in 1991. North Melbourne picked Perkins in the mid-year draft but he remained at North Adelaide. Providing endless rebound from his half-back flank and delivering with pinpoint disposal, Perkins was a standout during the 1991 finals series and was second only to Jack Oatey Medallist Darel Hart for the victorious good-old-red-and-whites. He was also named in The News Team of the Year. Although not tasting premiership success again for North, his stamped himself as a genuine champion of the club by taking out the Best and Fairest in 1992 and 1995 (jointly with Kym Klomp and Tim Nunan respectively), while also captaining the club from 1994-1996 and representing SA in 1993. The Adelaide Crows also had a dip at Perkins in the 1992 mid-season draft. Perkins finished with 129 games and 23 goals at North from 1990-1996. He was an assistant coach at Woodville-West Torrens for a year and returned to Brisbane for family and business reasons in the early 2000s and now proudly follows the fortunes of his soccer playing sons.

 

Rod Saunders doing the team thing. Source: SA Football Budget

 

Rod Saunders was playing at the Mooroopna Cats when picked by Essendon in the 1988 draft and he spent the 1989 season in the Bomber Under 19s. Saunders came to North in 1990 and cemented his place as a rugged defender midway through the season. Essendon re-selected Saunders in that year’s mid-season draft, but he elected to stay at North. Like Tim Perkins, Saunders kicked on in 1991, gaining a spot in the News Team of the Year to go with a North Adelaide premiership while playing every game. All up, Saunders played 133 games (18 goals) from 1990-1997 (missing 1994). He coached the McLaren Football Club to the 2014 Reserves flag and is now a beekeeper.

 

Matthew Simpson from the Mayne club in Brisbane was on the Brisbane Bears list in 1988 and found form towards the end of that season, picking up two Brownlow votes in only his seventh game, playing nine in all for two goals. Simpson was awarded the Bears’ Best First Year player award. He did not play a senior game in 1989 for the beleaguered Brisbane due to an ankle injury. Simpson arrived at Prospect with Tim Perkins in 1990 but only played in two Foundation Cup games for the Roosters before transferring to West Adelaide that same season. In 1991 he played a key role as close but fair tagger who also knew where the goals were. After nullifying South’s Mark Naley in the Preliminary Final, Simpson was given a similar role on North’s Darel Hart in the decider. North Adelaide decided to nullify the nullifier in the most brutal Grand Final of the modern SANFL era. He finished at West in the mid-90s after notching 90-odd games and is now a prominent lawyer.

 

From Tuggeranong in the ACT, Glen Thurbon had a brief shot at the Roosters, playing in two Foundation Cup matches in 1990. Back home, he won Tuggeranong’s Best and Fairest in 1991 and is a Life Member of that club, racking up 165 games.

 

Darren Vanzetta was another to come to North Adelaide from Hamilton in Victoria. His debuted in 1990 and broke into the senior side in Round 16, impressing with four goals the next week against Glenelg. His first year yielded eight games as North went deep into the finals. However, in 1991, he only played two Foundation Cup games and that was it. Vanzetta played for Kilburn in the Amateur League making 1993’s State team. He captain-coached at Leeton-Whitton in the Riverina in 1995/96 and since then has held coaching roles at Padthaway, Flagstaff Hill (2019 Southern Football League Premiers) and will coach at Echunga in 2023.

 

 

North Adelaide 1960 – 1990 Blow-Ins Honour Board

 

Coaches – Mike Patterson (’70 – ’77)

 

Captains – Mike Patterson (’70 – ’72), Tim Perkins (’94 – ’96)

 

Best & Fairest – Peter Cloke (’75, ’79), Greg McAdam (’80), Tim Perkins (’92, ’95)

 

Top Goalkickers – Peter Cloke (’78), Grenville Dietrich (’82 – ’86), Michael Parson (’91)

 

Magarey Medals – nil

 

Ken Farmer Medals – nil

 

100 Game Players – Peter Cloke (146), Greg McAdam (110), Grenville Dietrich (105), Michael Parsons (158), Marc Marshall (119), Tim Perkins (129), Rod Saunders (133)

 

Premiership Coaches – Mike Patterson (’71 – ’72)

 

Premiership Players – Mike Patterson (’71), Geoff Strang (’72), John Spry (’72), Garry Sporn (’72), Mike Parsons (’87, ’91), Marc Marshall (’91), Tim Perkins (’91), Rod Saunders (’91)

 

Other Articles

 

Other articles in this series can be found here

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Many thanks to Nick Haines from the NAFC History Committee, for helping me with the original list many moons ago and for answering my relentless and obscure questions. If only every club had records like the NAFC does.

 

Continued thanks to Andrew Gigacz from australianfootball.com for the access to a collection of SA Football Budgets.

 

Errors, Omissions and Comments.

Please don’t be afraid to let me know of anyone I’ve missed, any factual mistakes or anything else that you can pass on regarding these players by dropping in a comment below.

 

 

More from Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt can be read Here.

 

 

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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. Colin Ritchie says

    Another fabulous piece of footy history Swish!
    Charlie Payne was a great favourite of mine at Essendon, whenever he marked, got a kick or goaled, many in the crowd would break out into song, “what’s his number, what’s his name, number 7 Charlie Payne!”.

  2. Another ripper read Swish, there’s a bloke from down here in the south east just over the border at a place called Coleraine Justin Munro who kicked 4 on debut in 1993 who would be classed as a blow in I reckon.

  3. Peter Crossing says

    Well done Swish. Magnificent effort.
    Garry Sporn was again second best on ground to Barrie Robran at the recent luncheon celebrating 50 years since the 71/72 Premierships and Champions of Australia.
    Robran was methodically brilliant, Sporn was very funny and next best a very down to earth Darryl Webb (from Trigg Street, Blair Athol and thus not a blow-in).

  4. Epic. The sublime to the ridiculous in terms of playing talent. Swamp Fox was the first blow-in coach to succeed after the Oatey/Williams/Kerley triumvirate ruled SA footy for decades. 1973 GF is my favourite SA footy memory (pity about the result). He seemed an early Neil Balme prototype – the strong brooding type with a touch of genius for man management. Any idea what became of him after footy?
    Loved your research of what became of the players after footy. That reflection of life in the triumphs and tragedies.
    I had forgotten that Grenville Dietrich went to my West Torrens in the swap for John Roberts. Can’t resist sticking the boots in can you.
    Please hold publication of the Billy Barrot and Bob Shearman edition until after I’m dead.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Col – Payne always seemed older than he was. He was good value at the Roosters.

    Ta Danny – my cutoff was 1990, which excludes Munro from this series, but a blow-in he was nonetheless.

    Bewdy PC – this piece was given the Barrie R seal of approval this morning which has made my 2022. He made special mention of Sporn and Cloke.

    Thank you PB – I don’t know what Patto did after footy, but as the once Kentucky Fried King of Adelaide, he hopefully looked after himself. Grenville and Roberts wasn’t a direct swap per se, just two separate transactions that were causally linked. At the rate I’ve been completing this series, Torrens will be out around 2040.

  6. Warwick Nolan says

    Brilliant wirk, Swish.
    A terrific read.

  7. Great stuff Swish yes a surprising number from Richmond.How Peter Cloke wasn’t a successful vfl player is bizarre he was a gun.Barry Gniel just a g to many hey ? Contact me anytime re redlegs questions – thank you

  8. Great stuff Swish. Love these articles and thank you for the enormous time you must invest.

    Interesting to see the photo with the Roosters enjoying wine. As I’m sure you know John Baruzzi went on to be a winemaker (could still be) and also played for Kapunda with Dad who maintains he was the best footballer to ever front up for the Bombers by some distance.

    Bonus point for the Tony Blair reference although some might argue for a demerit point!

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Warwick, appreciate your comment.

    Thanks ‘Book, the hardest part is identifying who came from interstate, especially in the sixties. I know that a few Vics followed Killa to the Legs, I’ve found six that came in 1960, for example. Thanks for your offer, you’ll no doubt hear from me.

    Ta Mickey, I love doing this stuff, which accounts for the general disrepair at our place. I’ve seen a few emails recently about Baruzzi’s dominance when at Kapunda, after he left Port, but before he went to North. Peter Argent reckons that he polled 36 votes out of a possible 42 in the 1974 Mail Medal.

  10. A really enjoyable read. Thanks for the enormous effort invested. It’s sparked some great memories. If you’ve received the BR seal of approval then put your laptop and phone to bed. Your 2022 cannot get any better.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks to you Charlie for your help when I first started digging around for this one.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ve just found out that Duane Massey kicked 115 goals for Kilburn in A1 ammos in 1992.

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