John Rudd epitomized the dedicated, persistent clubman on whom Norwood could and did rely. For almost his entire career John found himself in a rotation cycle between the League and Association sides, as well as spending a significant number of games warming the A Grade bench.
After playing in the 1948 pre-season trial games, Rudd earned a place in the Association (B Grade) training squad. He spent most of the season playing for this side on a half-forward flank. Outstanding form led to his elevation to the League training squad and he gained league selection for the final minor round game against South Adelaide. He was 19th man and Norwood had a win.
He retained his place for the final series. Prior to the Preliminary Final against West Adelaide an article in the Advertiser (25/9/1948) had this to say:
“ A comparative newcomer in the Norwood team today is Rudd, 23, 6 foot, 12 and a half stone who has been playing good football with the Association team. He was 19th Man in the last of the minor round games against South Adelaide. He will play at half forward left.” They failed to mention he was a hairdresser.
Norwood scraped home by four points and Rudd, after a mere handful of games, was destined for a Grand Final; a final in which West Torrens were soundly beaten by 57 points. John Rudd kicked 1.1 and became a Premiership player.
In the years to come Rudd became an important utility player, often covering positions left open by injury. Invariably however, once the injured player recovered, John found himself either on the bench or in the Association, where he earned a fine reputation as a Centre Half Forward.
As a utility he played at half forward, half back, back pocket and as a ruck rover. It was as a ruck rover he made the 1950 Grand Final side. Norwood defeated Glenelg by 47 points; Rudd kicked two goals and became a dual Premiership player.
For the next two years, Rudd the utility man, continued in his cyclic way. He played his last game, somewhat fittingly where he started, on a half forward flank. It was against Glenelg at Kensington Oval. Norwood won by 24 points.
John “Mick” Rudd accumulated 35 League games in five seasons. He was a devoted servant to the club and two Premierships most certainly made his career shine brightly.
B Ridge Nov 2014