My first games in the Norwood guernsey were in the side yard at home using dad’s old #16 guernsey ( Peter Dalwood, 1945-1954, 147 games)
My junior football was played at Marryatville Primary School and Kensington Gardens Football Club before enrolling in year seven at Prince Alfred College in 1968. At PAC I played in the firsts for a number of years with success under Chester Bennett. However when I turned 15, ex-rays revealed that I had a stress fracture in my lower back caused by too much sport and working at dad’s iron foundry. in April 1973 I underwent surgery to fuse my L3-4 vertebrae.
All sport was out for the rest of 1973. Fortunately I was young and fit and commenced cricket again in first term of 1974 but was never able to bowl again. I played as vice-captain for the PAC First 18 in 1974 and we were the first undefeated team in the school’s history. I also played a couple of games for the Norwood under 19s at the season’s end under Malcolm Smith.
In 1975 I was appointed captain of the Norwood under 19s. We were knocked out of the preliminary final but I had done well enough to be selected as the captain of the State under 19s. We played two games at Footy Park, before state games, against the State high school teams, both of which we won. Paul Adler and I met whilst playing in this team and we were both selected to play in the seconds preliminary and grand finals in 1975; Paul at full back and me at centre half back as Jim Thiele had been promoted to the league team to stand Fred Phillis in the Grand Final.
Footy was hard, spots were heavily contested and we won the seconds premiership again in 1976. I continued playing with the seconds in 1977 together with a few league games. Ross Dillon took over as coach of the seconds in 1978 and we had a great year, winning the premiership, along with the league team’s memorable victory.
One memorable game was a trial in February 1979 against VFL premiers Hawthorn at Norwood. We won by a point in front of a packed house and I kicked three goals from centre half forward opposed by Peter Knights.
By the time Michael Gregg had left Norwood and Neil Button had hurt his knee, I started to get more league games and by 1980 when Balmy arrived, I was a regular - although he made it clear I wasn’t!
The 1980 Grand Final was a real heartbreak as we had progressed in the finals from fifth spot. My season form had been pretty good and Ugo Colasante and I were going okay as a ruck team until he crushed his thumb at work the day before the preliminary final against Sturt, so it was my job to ruck against Rick Davies and Peter Hargreaves. I had a good day and we won by a couple of goals to enter the Grand Final against one of the best Port Adelaide teams ever assembled. Nick Walker and I took over the ruck duties for the week but our team lucked out in the final 10 minutes of the game and we suffered the humiliation of sitting on Footy Park in front of 50,000 plus people - my worst ever memory of footy!
1981 started with a trial game at Victoria Park in Melbourne against Collingwood and rucking against Peter Moore was another daunting experience for a 190cm ruckman who only weighed 85 kg wet!
Then tragedy hit. At age 25, playing the Eagles at Norwood in round five 1981, I tore a posterior cruciate ligament in the second quarter, but had to go back on the ground to fill a forward pocket as we were down to 17 men. We won the game coming from a long way behind. It was Balmy’s first game and turned out to be my last league appearance.
I had surgery a month or two later and my leg was encased in plaster for eight weeks. Two years in the gym, followed by a couple of seconds games in 1983 and I realised I would never play at league level again with any success, so I retired to concentrate on my garden nursery business.
In 1988 I volunteered to run for the reserves, a job I thoroughly enjoyed for five years. In 1993 I was appointed under 19s coach and spent the next five years enjoying footy more than I could have imagined, with some degree of success based on hard work and the strong fellowship of lads from all over the NFC zone.
After five years and two premierships at Norwood I went to Saint Peters Old Collegians FC in 1998 as senior coach. I returned to Norwood in 1999 as an assistant to Peter Rohde. It was a good year, meeting a whole new age group, until we again lost the Grand Final to Port in the final few minutes of the game.
In 2000 I returned to coach the PAC first 18 for four years before retiring to concentrate on work.
Since retiring as a player I have also served the Norwood Football Club as, chairman of the Past Players and Officials Association, secretary of the Redlegs Foundation and a member of the Norwood Football Board ( 2010 to 2017)
G Dalwood March 2022