Craig Balme played for the Subiaco Football Club in Western Australia before joining Richmond in the VFL. After playing in the Under 19's and Reserves, he made his VFL debut in 1983, playing three senior games for the year. At the end of the season Balme parted ways with Richmond and moved to Adelaide.
At Norwood he joined his older brother Neil, who had been coaching since 1980. Craig made his SANFL League debut against Port Adelaide in Round 6, 1984. After playing his early games as a ruckman, he was at full back when the Redlegs played Port next time around. He was exceptional on his direct opponent, Tim Evans and proceeded to line up in that position for the next couple of seasons.
Balme was part of SANFL history in his first season, when the Redlegs became the first team to come from fifth to win the flag. Amongst other incidents, the game will long be remembered for the pre-match stoush between Balme and Evans while the national anthem was played.
1989 saw Balme sustain a serious knee injury which resulted in him missing the entire season. He recovered well from the setback and in 1992 won the coveted Woods medal; just reward for his outstanding leadership and service to the Norwood Football Club.
Ever reliable, and always up for the contest, Balme is possibly best remembered as a full back, but he also played several seasons as a ruckman or centre half forward.
While not necessarily the most gifted of footballers, Balme made the most of his ability. A powerful kick, and strong overhead, he proved to be an outstanding clubman.
Craig Balme was awarded Player Life Membership in 1994, and reached the 250 game milestone the following year. His final game was in the 1995 Preliminary Final.
R Cialini Jan 2015