Noel Pettingill joined Norwood from North Gambier in 1969 and proved to be a quality recruit from the start of his career. His first game was in Round 2 against South Adelaide, the day after his clearance had been approved. Named on a Half Forward Flank, he settled in quickly and had a very impressive debut season. He quickly raced to his 100 game milestone, playing mainly as a Half Forward or Ruck-Rover, and in 1973 represented South Australia in the 21 and Under team that played Queensland.
In 1974, new coach Bob Hammond played him at Centre Half Back. Unfortunately, Pettingill struggled to keep his League spot in 1975 and only played 5 senior games in Norwood's Premiership year. He did however play a significant role in Norwood's Reserves flag that season. Named in the middle, he was high in Norwood's best players in its win over Sturt.
His Norwood career came to an abrupt end early in 1976, after being taken off in the last quarter in a game against Sturt. Ironically, he was cleared to Sturt after Norwood terminated his services. He played another 20 League matches for Sturt until a serious knee complaint finally forced him into retirement in 1978.
Noel Pettingill will always be remembered for his ability to kick the ball incredibly long distances. He put it down to practice and timing. He was a right footer who was almost as impressive on his non-preferred leg, and some of his efforts now border on folklore.
In 1972 a kicking competition was arranged between visiting French rugby player Pierre Villepreux who, at the time, was often rated as the world's longest kick, and Pettingill. The latter beat his opponent by 13.5 metres.
Round 1, 1972 saw Pettingill take a kick from the centre wicket area of Norwood Oval which hit the fence surrounding the light tower behind the northern goals. The distance, measured the following day by Bob Oatey and John Wynne, showed the ball had travelled 96 metres.
Advertiser journalist Merv Agars reported in June 1974 that in the weekend match against North Adelaide at Football Park, one of Pettingill's high screw punts had travelled 85.39 metres - Agars and head groundsman Doug Butterfield had measured the kick on the Monday. Also in 1974, Julian Swinstead from The News wrote about a game between Norwood and Sturt, again played at Football Park. Pettingill had received a handball at the southern most point of the centre diamond, approximately at centre half back. He took 3 steps and unleashed a kick that was touched by the pack near the Norwood goals. If not for that intervention, Swinstead believed the ball would have landed on the boundary line, after travelling over 100 metres.
Noel Pettingill also won the Royal Show annual long kicking competition on four occasions.
R Cialini July 2014