Colin Mengersen played more than 500 games with Burnside and Payneham but struck the odd snag in his two seasons at Norwood. While he got on well personally with Haydn Bunton, he thought the young coach had a lot to learn in 1958.
Used to playing as a key forward or defender, Colin found himself roving for the Norwood seconds. Then, promoted to the league team, he partnered Bill Wedding as a follower, changing in the back pocket, and says he received no instruction from the coach on his new role. Colin did not experience much joy in his two league games, Norwood being defeated 13.21 to 8.7 by West Adelaide and 10.22 to 5.10 by Port Adelaide. He did, however, receive a trophy in 1958 for “most unselfish player”.
Colin played 23 games with the seconds in 1958 and 1959, kicking six goals. In 1958 he was selected with Norwood teammates Dennis McAvaney and Ray von Einem in a South Australian Reserves team which lost by one point to a Victorian Second 18 at Adelaide Oval.
Born on 8 August 1934, Colin was one of five sons of Warrant Officer Frederick Mengersen, who died while a prisoner-of-war in Japan in World War II, and his wife Phoebe, nee Bonython. Colin was only 14 when he first played in the Burnside A grade team. He celebrated a premiership at Burnside, where he was one of eight brothers and cousins in the team at the same time. Later, at Payneham, he was two years captain in the night series at Thebarton Oval. He coached junior and school football for 15 years.
Married to Carmel, Colin worked as a joiner with North-East Timber Mills, Windsor Gardens. Retired in Perth – far from his Victorian-based daughters Leanne and Sharon – Colin in 2020 was a sprightly 86-year old, enjoying his lawn bowls by the sea at Safety Bay and, with his son Russell, still coaching schoolboy footballers at Victoria Park.
P Robins, D Cox, G Adams January 2021
* We thank Colin Mengersen for his picture