Gordon Harold SAWLEY


Guernsey Number: 11
Career: 1937 to 1941
NFC Games: 53
NFC Goals: 71
Debut: v West Torrens (Thebarton) 12th June 1937
Finale: v Sturt (Adelaide) 20th September 1941

VFL/AFL Clubs: South Melbourne


In 1933, Gordon Harold Sawley played in a premiership for Kensington in A2 (South Australian Amateur Football League). He kicked four goals in the decider, having scored 139 during the minor round, including 22 in one match against Adelaide High Old Scholars the week before the start of the finals.
Nicknamed "Gertie", he made his League debut for Norwood in Round 8, 1937 and played in another six senior matches for the remainder of the season.

Sawley was also an important member of the 1937 Norwood Reserves premiership team, which defeated Port Adelaide by 14 points in the Grand Final at Thebarton Oval - he was named at centre-half forward.
In 1938 he played six league games and was awarded the "Attention to Training" trophy.
He continued to develop and, not only did he play 14 League games in 1939, but the classy rover represented South Australia against Victoria on the Adelaide Oval. He was named in the first ruck. 
Sawley was rated the club's "Most Consistent" player in 1940 (17 games).
He was to have an eventful 1941. He joined South Melbourne (Victorian Football League) while on RAAF duties and made an immediate impact in his seven games as an elusive rover/forward pocket/half-forward. He was highly rated on the field, and popular off it.
Granted a permit to play for Norwood in the 1941 finals, while back in Adelaide on leave from the RAAF, he was injured in the second semi-final against Sturt. He suffered ankle and thigh injuries during the game and was carried off the ground in the last quarter. He was also reported for striking in the same match. The striking charge was dismissed as after the players had given evidence, there was some doubt on whether the umpire had reported the correct Sawley. (Gordon's brother Albert also played in the semi-final) Gordon however, did not play in Norwood's ensuing Grand Final victory over Sturt because of injury, . 

Gordon Sawley was killed in a RAAF training accident over Scotland on August 14, 1942.
He had two other brothers who played for Norwood. Albert "Pongo" Sawley, played 11 games for St. Kilda in 1939 and 110 games for Norwood (1935-1946), and Frank Sawley (26 NFC games, 1931-34). Frank's son Brian played 138 games for the Redlegs (1954-64).
"Gertie" was also a handy cricketer, having played A Grade for the East Torrens Cricket Club in the early 30's

R Cialini June 2018

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