Laurie Temple had an interesting introduction to league football late in the 1955 season. On his arrival at Norwood Oval on the Friday night after the birth of his first child, he was greeted by coach Jack Oatey. “Congratulations,” said Jack to the proud father, “you’re in the team.”
It was not quite what he was expecting but, after a season in the Reserves, Laurie had made the big time - as 19th man for the match against Sturt at Norwood Oval the following day. It didn’t end there. Ten minutes into the game, Norwood forward Peter Vivian suffered a knee injury. Laurie replaced him and the ball immediately fell into his lap. He drilled a goal with a long “droppy” - his first kick in senior football. A little later he accepted a Doug Olds pass and narrowly missed a second goal. Sturt enforcer Wally May, running past, bellowed: “Who’s on this bastard?” Norwood won 13.10 to 10.12.
Laurie was not eligible to play for the Reserves in their finals encounter a week later. Then, with both teams in the finals the following week, he found himself named 19th man for the Reserves. Unhappy, he left Norwood in 1956, having kicked nine goals in 23 Reserves games, and returned to the East Torrens Football Association, where altogether he played around 400 games with the Athelstone and Glenroy clubs.
Laurie was born on 1 August 1931 – his mother Jean’s 15th birthday. He grew up 50 yards from Thebarton Oval and became an avid West Torrens supporter. He would retrieve balls kicked over the pickets by his heroes at training. One of his mates was a younger kid with immaculate drop-kicking skills – Lindsay Head.
When the family crossed town, Laurie attended Norwood Technical High School and joined the Athelstone Football Club in 1947. After Athelstone lost the 1949 grand final it dropped a grade and Laurie moved to Glenroy, where he celebrated premierships in 1953, 1954 and 1958. He played in East Torrens teams which three times won The Advertiser Shield in contests against other associations.
Versatile Laurie returned to Athelstone in 1960 and played in nine consecutive grand finals, with premierships in 1960, 1965, 1966 and 1967. He three times represented East Torrens in annual matches against Essendon District, the last time in 1968, the year he retired from football at the age of 38. Among his Athelstone team-mates were Norwood men Brian Sawley, Warren Packer, Maurie Minervini, Peter Rumbelow and Brian Norsworthy.
Laurie began work as a typewriter mechanic, followed his father Dudley as a country hawker, and marketed spare parts with Readymix and Mercedes Benz. An alert 88-year-old, Laurie lost Valma, his wife of more than 38 years, through illness in 2000 but values the loving support of daughters Deborah and Leonie.
P. Robins March 2020