SEASON 2020 promised so much however we fell along way short of our expectations. As the season approached there was enormous excitement with the recruits that have been brought into the Club and the imminent opening of our new home, the Wolf Blass Community Centre. 2020 was a season like no other with the impact of the global pandemic COVID-19 and although we didn’t achieve the on-field success we were hoping for, there were still a number of things to celebrate.
Fortis in Procella
There is no doubt the success of the Fortis in Procella campaign significantly assisted the Club through the darkest times of COVID-19. The support, passion, and care from so many members and supporters was truly amazing and something as a Football Club we were very proud of. Without your assistance through these very tough times, I am unsure if we would have survived. We plan to celebrate the feats of this campaign at the start of the 2021 season, ensuring every person that contributed is duly recognised. I would also like to take this opportunity to specifically acknowledge and thank Dale Fleming as the architect and brainchild behind this amazing campaign.
The season started with so much promise and hope with the excitement around the recruits that had been brought into the Club and on the back of the continued development of the young men that had won the Reserves Grand Final in 2019. However, as the season unfolded there weren’t to many highlights in either the League or Reserves and what was even more frustrating is that at our best we were able to beat the eventual Premiers however at our worst we were unable to beat the bottom two sides. There is no doubt that it was a tough season and overall, we did not handle the challenges we faced as well as we should have. I know there will be a number of theories about what went wrong and what we need to do to improve in 2021 however rest assured we will be doing everything possible both on and off the field to deliver the success we are striving for.
Under 18s – Premiers
There is no doubt this team was exciting to watch, they played a wonderful brand of football. The enthusiasm and talent in this group of young men will ensure continued success at Norwood for many years to come. This team finished second only by percentage to the Minor Premiers, although throughout the year clearly showed they were best team. The Under 18s won both the Second Semi Final and Grand Final convincingly! I would like to congratulate coach, Chris O’Connor, his assistant coaches, support staff and all the players on an outstanding year. I also want to congratulate Cooper Murley on winning the Best & Fairest, there is no doubt he is a player to watch destined for a fantastic career in Senior Football.
Michael Taylor Medal
For the first time we had joint Michael Taylor Medallists, Brad McKenzie and Richard Douglas. Brad had another fantastic season winning back to back medals after claiming the 2019 Medal and Richard in his first year at the Club was simply outstanding. There is no doubt that Brad and Richard epitomised Michael “Kingo” Taylor traits throughout the year with their brilliance and continued consistency in all conditions. Well done and congratulations to both Brad and Richard for their unbelievable seasons in 2020.
New Coach – Jade Rawlings
I am excited to announce our Coach for the next 3 years is Jade Rawlings, Jade comes to Norwood with an enormous amount of experience and we look forward to him bringing all his experience and knowledge to Norwood. He has been an assistant coach at Richmond, North Melbourne, Melbourne, and Brisbane as well as coaching his own teams in the VFL, namely Coburg and Casey. In addition to his coaching career Jade also played 143 AFL games for Hawthorn, North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. Jade believes his background as a defensive coach in the AFL and his desire to ensure Norwood wins contested ball will be the hallmark of the way we play going forward. These are very exciting times for the footy Club and we look forward to officially welcoming Jade to Norwood when he relocates to Adelaide in mid-November.
Retirements – Sam Baulderstone
Well it’s time to farewell a great of the Club in Sam Baulderstone. There is no doubt that Sam has been the best ruckman in the competition for several years and his contribution has been an enormous part of our recent success. Sam played 137 games, is a two-time Premiership Player, four-time runner-up in the Best & Fairest and five times made the Advertiser Team of the year. On behalf of the Football Club I would like to congratulate and sincerely thank Sam on his magnificent career at the Norwood Football Club. We all have fond memories of him and would not have achieved the success we did in 2013 and 2014, if it were not for his contribution. Sam’s farewell speech was a testament to his character and his passion for the Norwood Football Club. On behalf of the Norwood Football Club, thank you Sam for your magnificent contribution and we honour you as one of Norwood’s greats! All the best in your retirement!
Wolf Blass Community Centre
The Wolf Blass Community Centre is finally finished and opened! Although taking longer than we had hoped we now have a home that we can be very proud of. We have been able to hold a few events there to date which have included an Appreciation Dinner on the last home game of the season, Women’s B&F, Under 18s B&F, Grange Club Dinner, Melbourne Cup Function and Committee/Volunteers Dinner. The completion of the new clubroom is very exciting as it provides us with a venue to call home and an opportunity to continue to grow the fabric of our football Club. This building would not have been possible without the generous contribution by so many donors and on behalf of the Board and future generations of the Norwood Football Club I would like to thank everyone who has donated the to date. I would like to especially acknowledge and thank Wolf Blass for his significant personal contribution of $1 million to this development. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Jo and the late Bill Cooper for their enormous contribution which is now up to $250,000. What I love about the most about these contributions is the why, both Wolf Blass and Jo Cooper have made it abundantly clear that Norwood is much more than a Football Club to them it’s a community, it’s their Family!
As you are aware Jarrod and the Football Club agreed to mutually part ways at the end of the 2020 season and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jarrod for his contribution as our senior coach. We were very close in 2018, to achieving the ultimate goals after clearly being the best team all year. There is no question he gave his heart and soul to the club over the last 4 seasons. His care and commitment to Norwood is a testament to his qualities not only as a coach but as a person. We wish Jarrod all the best for the future and thank him for service to the Norwood Football Club.
As the 2020 season has now ended I would like to acknowledge and thank all the wonderful volunteers that help the Norwood Football Club. This year has been more challenging than most and your efforts and continued support has been simply amazing. There are way too many volunteers to mention individually, however on behalf of the Board I would like to say thank you for everything you do, as without your contribution it would not be possible for us to be the Football Club we are. I honestly think we have the best volunteers in the league and what amazes me more than anything about our volunteers is their continued selfless acts, putting Norwood first and the enjoyment they all get from helping our Club. Thanks once again to all our Volunteers, you are the best!
I would like to acknowledge and thank all our Sponsors as without their continued support we would not be able to operate as a Football Club. Although there is too many to mention, I would like to specifically acknowledge our major sponsors Veolia, IWS, Coopers, Barossa Boy, Paradise Mazda, Findex, Schiavello and People’s Choice Credit Union. The support these companies provide us is truly amazing and I encourage all Members to support them whenever possible.
On behalf of the Board I would like to say thankyou to our wonderful Members and supporters who continually support our great Football Club through the good times and bad times. We have been fortunate over the years to have far more good times than bad and there is no doubt the continued support that our Members provide, is a significant factor in helping us be successful. Thanks again for your support in 2020 and we look forward to an exciting 2021 under new coach, Jade Rawlings!
In closing, we are always looking to improve our Football Club so if you have any ideas or would like to discuss any matter, please give me a call on 0418 856 085.
Paul Di Iulio