Bill Medlen kicked just one goal in 36 league and seconds appearances with Norwood - but it was a goal like no other.
Bill was at centre wing against South Adelaide in the league match at Norwood Oval on 10 June 1933. Trailing by 14 points at half-time, the visitors were still in their dressing room when umpire G. R. Allen bounced the ball to start the second half. As described by The Mail reporter: “Medlen secured the ball at the bounce and with exaggerated leisure, carried it to the goalmouth. His place kick a few yards out caused great amusement as it went low through the goal.”
Initially stunned, South came back strongly and Redleg fans were relieved when Fred McCallum’s late goal secured victory by eight points, 16.16 to 15.14. Norwood went on to contest the finals that year, though Bill was not a member of the team which drew with North Adelaide in a semi-final, won the replay by one point and then beat Sturt by 12 points before running out of luck against West Torrens in the premiership decider.
Bill was born at St Leonards on 1 April 1907 to Peter Medlen and his wife Louisa, née Hasler, who had four other children, Louisa (Nell), James, Beatrice and Doreen.
Bill learnt his football as a goalsneak at Adelaide High School. After that he joined the Franklin Street team in the YMCA competition and later went to West Adelaide, where he played two seasons with the B grade on the wing before being promoted to the league team in the latter part of 1929. That year he was in the West side which upset Norwood by two points in the league second semi-final, 11.7 to 10.11, and then lost to Port Adelaide. Norwood as minor premier challenged Port for the premiership and, with captain ‘Wat’ Scott dominant at half-back, swept to victory 18.14 to 10.8.
Bill was a popular signing by Norwood in 1933. A small man of 165 cm and 63 kg, he was not especially fast but was a tenacious ground player blessed with remarkable stamina. He won two quarter-mile races on the cinder tracks at Payneham and Strathalbyn.
He was the owner of a stud Jersey farm at Balhannah when he married Emeline Eglinton at Norwood in 1933. They had one son, Peter. Bill Medlen was 73 when he died at Victor Harbor on 7 August 1980.
P Robins, D Cox, G Adams Nov 2020