I wish to thank the Norwood Football Club for entrusting me with the responsibility of chairing the Hall of Fame Committee following the retirement of its previous Chairman Michael Coligan. Michael has served our proud club with great honour both as a past player during those ‘halycon days’ of the 1970s and as a tireless volunteer thereafter. In his role as Chairman, Michael’s professional and humble approach has become a highly regarded ingredient of our Hall and Fame culture and in his wake, it will be my privilege to further nurture his previous contributions. Recognition of his significant contributions has recently been acknowledged when he was awarded Life Membership of the Norwood Football Club at our 2021 AGM.
The Norwood Football Club Hall of Fame was instituted in 2006 to recognise and acclaim those people who have made a significant contribution to our great club since its beginnings in 1878. The Hall of Fame selectors are guided by a Charter. The architect and father of the Hall of Fame Charter, Wally Miller OAM designed it in such a way that inductees can be adjudged on the key elements of outstanding service and overall contribution to the club, as well as individual records, ability, integrity, sportsmanship and character. A player, coach, volunteer, honorary official or administrator at any level of the club is eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Value is also placed on any wider involvement in Australian football at state, national or affiliated league level that has significantly enhanced the image of the Norwood Football Club. Every two years up to five new inductees may be acknowledged at any one time as having served the club with distinction.
COVID restrictions during the 2020 and 2021 seasons delayed many scheduled events on the Norwood Football Club annual calendar including our prized Hall of Fame event. Despite the many roadblocks faced by our club since COVID we were very excited to hold our ninth Hall of Fame event for the first time in the new Wolf Blass Community Centre. To celebrate this year’s event and for the enjoyment of all its members, the Norwood Football Club Board gave approval for the History Committee to display a number of preselected items from its sizeable collection of memorabilia. To that end, I would like to extend a special thanks to all members of the Norwood Football Club History Group, and in particular Bob Walsh. Bob has been a significant financial donor and a dedicated volunteer for the Norwood Football Club. I wish to acknowledge his tireless commitment over the last fifty years and his sober approach toward sourcing and archiving the vast number of items of memorabilia. It stands alone as the premier collection of memorabilia in the South Australian National Football League.
Prior to 2022, the previous Hall of Fame event was held during the 2018 season when our club celebrated a significant milestone, its 140th year in the South Australia National Football League. To respect our proud and pre-eminent position in the SANFL and as one of the most successful and highly regarded football clubs in the country, the Norwood Football Club board approved the introduction of ‘Legend’ status into its Hall of Fame Charter. On that evening we honoured Walter Scott, Wally Miller OAM, Michael Taylor, Michael Aish and Garry McIntosh with this prestigious and esteemed award. During this year’s Hall of Fame event, we inherited the opportunity to salute these newly elected 5 Legends again along with our 63 previous Hall of Fame members including those who are living and those awarded posthumously.
To that end, last month the Norwood Football Club inducted four men into its Hall of Fame making them, officially, Norwood heroes indelibly etched into our proud history. Each Hall of Fame member inducted during the evening made a special contribution to the Norwood Football Club. On behalf of the Hall of Fame selectors, it gave me the utmost pleasure to honour and welcome Neil Craig, James Gallagher, Merv Roberts and Tom Woodroofe as the latest inductees into the Norwood Football Club Hall of Fame.
I wish to also acknowledge Master of Ceremonies Ben Hook for his professional services during our Hall of Fame event. Ben has championed the careers of many (amateur and professional) sporting athletes from within his weekly Sunday Mail ‘Hook Shots’ column. The depth of his research into all of our Hall of Fame Inductees highlighted Ben’s outstanding professionalism. He provided a platform in the room for our Inductees and/or their proxies to speak with enormous pride and candour – you could hear “every heart beats true for the red and the blue” humming in the background.
To that end, I again acknowledge the efforts of the History Committee who also provided all the archival research material to the Hall of Fame selectors. To the Hall of Fame selectors, Wynton Heading, Reonaldo Cialini, Alex Georgiou and Stuart Bown, I extend my appreciation.
28th April 2022