Wartime competition 1942-1944
Norwood-North games: 38
Norwood-North goals: 1
Harold “Dick” Holmesby made his league debut for Norwood against South Adelaide as a half-back flanker in the opening round of 1939. A district junior, he had progressed through the colts, and played in a reserves premiership in 1938. Holmesby proved to be a determined, reliable defender for Norwood for 11 years and 170 games spanning World War 2. He played 15 games in his debut season, and received the award for the club's "most unselfish player". He won the same award in 1940 playing 13 games.
In 1941 Holmesby ( nine games) played in his first premiership for Norwood. Selected in a back pocket, he was named in Norwood's best players
after its convincing 29 point win against Sturt in the Grand Final.
During 1942-1944 Holmesby played with great success for the combined Norwood-North team in the war competition (Patriotic League), winning flags in 1943 and 1944.
His good form continued with the resumption of normal competition in 1945. He played 19 games, was named Norwood's "best placed man" and represented the State against a combined team of RAAF footballers from Victoria. At the start of the season he had been chosen as players' representative on the management committee.
In 1946 (18 games) he was again selected as the "best placed man" and more importantly, played in another premiership - Norwood defeating
Port Adelaide by 28 points in the Grand Final. He was the club's practice captain, reached the 100 game milestone during the season and impressed for South Australia in its easy victory against Broken Hill.
Holmesby was the "best placed man" in 1947 (19 games), was a member of the losing Grand Final side that was beaten by West Adelaide, and represented the State against the Collingwood Football Club.
In 1948 he made 20 appearances and was selected in the back pocket in Norwood's Grand Final victory over West Torrens. He was adjudged one of Norwood's best players on the day.
Dick Holmesby was awarded life membership of Norwood in 1948.
He played in all 19 games in 1949 and was named "most consistent".
A compact, nuggety footballer, he played mostly as a permanent back pocket, standing the opposition's "resting" rovers. He combined very effectively for a number of years with Norwood’s full-back Tom Warhurst (NFC Hall of Fame). Dick was also used as a “tag” to shut down opposition players, a role he played in Norwood’s win against Port in the 1946 grand final.
Throughout his career he put opposition forwards under pressure with his rugged, tear through style of play.
For several years Dick was vice-captain under captain-coach Jack Oatey , and acting coach of Norwood in 1951 when Oatey was unavailable.
In 1992 Holmesby was listed by the club in its top 35 players based on playing ability and value to the Norwood Football Club.
The consistent Harold "Dick" Holmesby had an impressive career. He played in three premierships for Norwood in 1941, 1946 and 1948 as well as two premierships with the Norwood–North combination (Patriotic League) 1943 and 1944. He maintained a high standard of play throughout his time with Norwood, being one of the first players picked each week, and with the versatility to play in a variety of defensive positions and to occasionally have a run on the ball.
R Crompton April 2013, R Cialini Feb 2020