By Joseph Marciano
Beloved Redleg Sam Baulderstone has called time on his career after eight seasons.
For over the past eight years, Baulderstone has been the heart and soul player of the Norwood Football Club as well as the Premier Ruckman within the SANFL.
The 29-year-old played 136 games in the red and blue jumper, all with courage and pride. Baulderstone played all his junior football in Whyalla, won a premiership in 2007 with Central Whyalla and then moved to Adelaide to play for North Adelaide.
Baulderstone played underage & Reserves football for North Adelaide until 2009 then left to play country football for three years before arriving at the Parade in 2013.
A fantastic field kick Baulderstone kicked 36 career goals, including a clutch goal in the third quarter of the 2014 Grand Final against Port Adelaide.
A well-respected member of the playing group, Baulderstone was elected joint Vice-Captain in 2020, which highlights his leadership qualities amongst the coaches and players.
Baulderstone said he was grateful for all the support he received throughout his career.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better eight years of my life,” said Baulderstone.
“The football club has done so much for me and has put me in the position in life I am in today.
“I just want to thank the club in its entirety and the people involved. It is the right time to hang the boots up and move into a new chapter of life.
Baulderstone went onto say he was looking forward to moving onto his next stage of life and in particular spending more time with family.
“You probably don’t realise that football is a bit of a selfish game until something else comes along,” said Baulderstone
“My daughter born last week has shown me this and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with her and the family.
“In saying this, my body isn’t what it used to be anymore, I’m not getting any younger so it may look as if I’m still moving well, however rarely am I ever coming into games not bruised and sore.
“I last just want to thank Cotts (Jarrod Cotton) for his support over the past five years, Mark Ross for getting me to the club and Jace Bode for everything he has done for me.”
Senior Coach Jarrod Cotton spoke glowingly of his ruckman and the journey he has had since his arrival in 2013.
“From where Sam came from playing country football to now becoming a two time Premiership player and one of the best ruckman the league has had over the past eight years, just speaks volume of the person he is,” said Cotton.
“His ability to dominate a contest with his hit-outs to advantage and create clearances is amazing and then he plays like a midfielder with ball in hand.
“Such a well-rounded player, he has been such a champion for the football club over a long period of time and he will be missed by everyone.
Sam will play his final game this Friday night for the Norwood Football Club against West Adelaide.
Guernsey Number: 18
Career: 2013 to 2020
NFC Games: 136
NFC Goals: 36
Debut: v Central District (Elizabeth) 13th April 2013
Finale: v West Adelaide (Coopers Stadium) 25th September 2020