Stanley Appelbee was spotted playing in the East Torrens Association and invited to trial with Norwood prior to the 1928 season.He made an impression and was chosen in the B or Association team (Reserves) for the early rounds. He alternated between wing and centre. Such was Appelbee’s form, he was selected, on the wing, in the League side against South on May 20th.
He established himself as a regular choice and an Advertiser report described him as a, “Fast and resourceful player,” who exhibits, “Smart ground handling,” and who possesses, “A strong kick.”
The 1928 season ended disappointingly for Norwood and Appelbee. The Redlegs lost the Grand Final to arch rival Port by 48 points and Stanley missed playing in the game due to badly spraining an ankle against West the previous week.
The 1929 season made up for the previous year’s disappointment. The Advertiser described Appelbee as one of Norwood’s, “Most reliable players.” Norwood made the Grand Final, avenging last year’s result by beating Port by 41 points with Stanley playing on a wing and kicking a goal.
1931 was Stanley Appelbee’s last season and what a dramatic one it was. The 16th May was a horror day for the Redlegs. The game was against Port at Alberton. By half time Norwood had sustained five injuries: to Biddel, Krome, Johns, Heffernan and Appelbee. The Mail reported that, “ All were of little use in the second half.” Port went on to win by 101 points and Appelbee sustained a serious leg injury that required surgery. On the 30th May The Advertiser reported, “ S. Appelbee who has performed well at centre and on the wing during the past couple of seasons has now decided to retire from football as he cannot put in the necessary time into practice.” He was also recently married.
He was talked out of this decision and returned to training on Tuesday, 21st July. Just 10 days later he was chosen in the League side to play against North, his first game since the 16th May. He battled through a few more games, finally retiring in August.
Outside of football, Stanley Appelbee was a community leader. He commenced work as an assistant clerk with the St. Peter’s Council, eventually becoming Town Clerk. In 1938 he was appointed Town Clerk of the Kensington and Norwood Council.
In 1952 he was appointed to the Board of the Norwood Football Club, a position he held for 15 years including one year as Chairman. His service as administrator and premiership player culminated in deserved Life Membership.
B Ridge April 2015