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The Melbourne - Norwood connection



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Over the years, and particularly before the VFL turned national, there was always a close connection between Melbourne and the Norwood Redlegs in the SANFL. They have similar colours and historically, the clubs played many practice and exhibition matches against each other going back to the 19th century and more recently, in the early 1970s. The Demons recruited Tassie Medalist Graham Molloy from Norwood in 1970 as a potential Barassi replacement but injuries prevented him from showing his best in a 76 game career with the Demons.

The ABC used to televise the SANFL grand finals and for success starved Melbourne fans, we used to get a kick out of supporting the Redlegs to premiership victory. Their team is playing North Adelaide in the SANFL this afternoon and I wish them success and hope they also come out in their numbers in red and blue to support our boys tonight.

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I remember watching one of those Norwood premierships and cheering them on to the flag against Port Adelaide. I think it was about 1984. They had a couple of champion Magery Medalists in Michael Aish (uncle of Fremantle’s James) and Garry McIntosh who several clubs tried to lure to Victoria without success. Watching their victory celebrations was a shallow substitute for the feeling of winning a flag that’s eluded us to this very day. Norwood people hated Port Adelaide and I hope they come out in their numbers today.

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The Redlegs are the reason I support the Demons. The 1984 SANFL grand final vs Port Adelaide as mentioned above is possibly my earliest memory, with the 97' victory and 99' loss against the same foes close to my happiest and worst days as a football supporter (and as a human in general).

Possibly the coaching connection between the clubs is the strongest, with Neil Balme, Neil Craig, and Peter Rohde all coaching Norwood to some success in recent times (would still love to add Nathan Bassett to that list), and Jade Rawlings currently in the role. 

As for current and recent players, the infamous pair of Dean Terlich and Alex 'Uber' Georgiou are recent players for both clubs, as well as Michael Newton and Jace Bode, while Dom Barry is still running around for Norwood, alongside Jack's cousin Harry Viney. Harrison Petty flies the flag in the other direction. 

For some reason I have lost my hatred for Port in it's Power guise, but that may well be rekindled this year. Norwood were the first to push for an AFL licence, and I still have no idea who I would support if that had eventuated. Probably both teams. 

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One of my all time favourites Ross Dillon left in his prime & went to Norwood.

Part of the reason for our decline was that in the late 60's & 70's lots of promising players left for greener pastures.

Stephen Kerley also left Melbourne for Norwood & Greg Parke also had a stint there.

 

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My great grandfather Jack Morgans was an MCC member, and secretary of the MCC bowling club. When the old member's stand was still in place,  I went through the history archives once and found info about him.

He also played footy and cricket at Norwood, winning the cricket batting average trophy for 1895/1896. I was brought up with one eye on Norwood and how they hated Port Adelaide as much as we hate the Filth. 

The Norwood / Melbourne connection is very strong going back many generations, but it doesn't feel as strong as it used to be. 

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1 hour ago, whatwhat say what said:

support norwood cos of the dees; loved going to norwood oval in the 1990s

garry mcintosh is the greatest footballer from the 'modern era' to never play in the afl

Micheal Aish says hi

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9 minutes ago, binman said:

Micheal Aish says hi

hm, borderline 'modern' era - i'd say the kick off of that is really 87 (introduction of wa and qld franchises) or 90 / 91 (name change to 'afl', sa franchise into the competition)

i'd take macca, but that's probably only cos i saw him more

Edited by whatwhat say what
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3 minutes ago, whatwhat say what said:

hm, borderline 'modern' era - i'd say the kick off of that is really 87 (introduction of wa and qld franchises) or 90 / 91 (name change to 'afl', sa franchise into the competition)

i'd take macca, but that's probably only cos i saw him more

Fair points.

Loved him, moved a bit like Robbie, and like many dees fans was desperate for him to come to the dees. From memory he was close to doing so at one point.

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1 minute ago, Jumping Jack Clennett said:

We got Austin Wonneamarri and James Sellar from Norwood, too, I think.

Remember Ozzie in that great comeback from 55 points down at the MCG v Freo!

No, Sellar was from Glenelg. He was as useful there as he was for us 

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Add me to the list of modern day Demons fanatics that originate from the Norwood connection.  My grandma use to follow them when she lived in Adelaide and then latter followed Melbourne when she moved to Vic/Melbourne because the colours were the same as Norwood.  Probably helped that Melbourne had a bit of sucess around the time as well.  Three generations of somewhat tortured and downtrodden, but also loyal, diehard Demons supporters have been spawned from that connection since.

Edited by Rodney (Balls) Grinter
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Also a redlegs fan who then followed the dees.  My 7 years living in Melbourne watching them every week made me more and more passionate about them.

Out and about today at the kids sport, receiving quite a lot of well wishes wearing the colours.  I think there is quite a few people from other teams wishing us well.

 

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Full time in the Norwood game and they’ve cemented their place in the finals with a 12 point win over third placed North Adelaide. 

So hopefully, the fans keep their red and blue scarves on and make the short trip from Coopers Stadium to the Adelaide Oval for tonight’s game to make it two wins  in the one day for the Redlegs!

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On 8/29/2021 at 3:51 AM, einstein251 said:

Does anyone know if there were in fact many Norwood fans among those who wore the red n blue in the crowd last night?

Norwood provided their banners and floggers on Saturday night and there was a definite presence of Redlegs fans at the ground. Thanks Norwood and good luck in the finals!!!

C2095B2D-196C-442A-9E92-DB4018D4E5F5.jpeg

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