Frank Holbrook was one of a large number of junior recruits invited by Norwood to participate in the 1945 pre-season trials. Due to the ravages of war and the postponement of league football, the club realised that these juniors would initially make up the bulk of the side.
Frank was described as the biggest of the recruits and not surprisingly was played as a ruckman. He showed promise in the trials and was included in the league training list. He was chosen to make his debut in round one against North Adelaide. He was chosen as the second ruck, changing with Way in a forward pocket and was one of ten Norwood players making their debuts. This was more than any other club.
Norwood won the game by 30 points against a far more experienced and highly favoured North Adelaide side. Frank played his part well and kicked two goals. Unfortunately he sustained a leg injury late in the game which sidelined him for the next four games.
He was rushed back into the league side as the leading ruckman Way, was injured. Frank played the next three games against Sturt, North Adelaide and South Adelaide. There were victories against Sturt and North Adelaide but then came a six goal loss to South Adelaide at The Parade. Coach Jack Oatey acted swiftly and sternly to the loss. Seven players, including Holbrook, were dropped to the reserves.
This was a significant turning point in Frank’s career as he never again became a regular selection for the league side and his remaining four league games were as a short term replacement to cover injuries in the league side. Frank failed to see out the season in the reserves due to the recurrence of a leg injury
Following the 1946 trials Holbrook was selected in the reserves training list. It wasn’t until August that he was called upon to play in the league side. He played in successive games against Sturt and West Adelaide and although being named in the best players and kicking two goals against West Adelaide the following week he was again relegated to the reserves.
His final season in 1947 was similar to the previous year. After playing the early games in the reserves he was called up for the league side in late May to play against Sturt and West Torrens. In his final game against West Torrens he was again named in the best players and kicked two goals but, as fate would have it, the following week he played in the reserves against Glenelg.
B Ridge May 2021