Alex Staritski came from Yugoslavia as a child and grew up at King Street, Norwood – just a few long kicks from Norwood Oval, where he would meet his future wife and later see their son don the red and blue with distinction.
Alex was born at Vršac, in war-torn Serbia, on 16 November 1944, but with the loss of the ancestral estate his family found security in Australia. Alex was introduced to Australian Rules football at Norwood Primary School and Norwood High School.
A tenacious rover who earned the nickname ‘Star’, he played for the Norwood Under 17s in 1961 and celebrated a premiership with the Under 19s in 1963. He played 70 games for the Reserves between 1964 and 1967, kicking 73 goals and in his last year serving as Peter Blood’s vice-captain. Like Brian Woodcock, he was starved of opportunities in the league team because of the presence of similar players such as Haydn Bunton, Robert and Peter Oatey, David French and Jon Burton.
Alex coached Lucindale from 1968 to 1972, winning premierships in the first two years, and also took Snowtown top in 1976. He then returned to Norwood, where he was assistant coach of the Under 17s and Under 19s in 1974-75 and assistant coach of the Under 19s in 1982-88.
Awarded the SANFL/Caltex Football Scholarship in 1979, he visited Manchester United and Bayern Munich to study junior coaching. He introduced new coaching techniques to the West Coast, where he was Superintendent of Schools for 10 years after a career as a teacher and primary school principal.
Alex served on the Norwood Football Club Board in 2005-06. He married Judy Masson, daughter of highly regarded NFC chairman and Life Member Jack Masson, and they had children Nicole, Kristin and Justin.
Justin played for Norwood, North Melbourne and Collingwood. In 2017 he followed in the footsteps of his father and joined the NFC Board where, as Football Director, he celebrated the 2022 league premiership.
A. Staritski with P. Robins, D. Cox, G. Adams October 2022