HALL OF FAME - Albert “Pongo” Sawley  

(1935 - 1946)


Loud voice, soft hands, warm heart

One of his era’s true characters, Albert Sawley, or plain “Pongo”, had such a loud voice that was it said he would never get a job in a library. But he used that voice to do a great job directing traffic at centre for Norwood, and later Norwood-North in the patriotic competition. Pongo was any coach’s ideal player; tough and uncompromising, he also was blessed with exquisite hand and foot skills. No one of his generation used the football better, and his long dropkicks to position were near perfection, as he demonstrated with St Kilda in the VFL in 1939. Pongo’s warm heart matched his soft hands. Rejected for war service because he lost his right index finger to a backyard childhood dare, he was the first to help a mate in need. Pongo also was the first to organise charity children’s picnics, where he would amuse the kids by sticking the missing digit you-know-where. He went to Perth for the 1937 Carnival, yet never played a State game. Mystery surrounds that trip, but it’s no mystery that Pongo was a loyal Redleg to the end. Until that voice fell silent in 1983, he could be heard loud and clear advising all and sundry on how to properly run his beloved Norwood Football Club.

Games: 143
Goals: 93
Premierships: 1941, 1946
Club champion: 1937
Further honours:
Norwood Player Life Member, Norwood Team of the Century, Norwood-North best and fairest 1942, Norwood-North premiership captain 1943, Norwood-North premiership 1944

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