History Makers! We become the first club to win a premiership after finishing fifth at the end of the minor round
GRAND FINAL 1984
Venue: Football Park
Umpire: J.Hylton & L.Argent Crowd: 50,271
1st 2nd 3rd Final Pts
Norwood 4-3 9-5 11-8 15-10 100
Port 1-2 8-7 11-11 13-13 91
Date 30 September 1984 Win by 9 points
Best: K.Thomas, L Ross, N Roberts, C Balme, G.Thomas, M.Aish, B Winter,
A Jarvis, J Scanlon.
Goalkickers : N Roberts 6, M.Aish 2, K.Thomas 2, D Fosdike 2, G Vardanega 2, G McIntosh
Norwood’s thrilling nine point premiership victory over Port Adelaide at Football Park was a dazzling, glorious triumph of courage. In one of the truly great contests before a crowd of 50,271, Norwood created history to become the first club to win a premiership after finishing fifth at the end of the minor round.
Norwood started the game suffering from battle fatigue. For the previous three weeks it had been doing or dying; fighting for its football life against South Adelaide, Central District and Glenelg. One slip in any of those games and it was dead. Yet with each game it edged closer to the improbable, impossible victory.
The game was one of the fiercest, wildest grand finals ever played. It began dramatically when Port full forward Tim Evans and Norwood full back Craig Balme clashed, sparking an ugly brawl in the northern goal square before the game had started.
Port again refused to tell the truth about its side, announcing bogus line ups immediately before the game in a bid to confuse Neil Balme. It didn’t work and it was naïve to think it would. Port opened with John Harvey shadowing Norwood champion Michael Aish, and Max James taking Peter Laughlin. Norwood was changing it’s followers Aish and Laughlin at full forward. Whilst Aish was held, Laughlin exploited Port’s selection gamble.
There was rarely anything between the two sides, although Norwood edged to a 25 point lead early in the second term but Port hit back with three goals in as many minutes to stay in touch. Then after 15 minutes of that quarter, Port momentarily snatched the lead for the first time. The lead changed 6 times as sides slugged it out right down to the line.
The resolute defence kept Norwood in the game long enough to make possible the match winning chances that came in the final quarter. Andrew Jarvis and Justin Scanlon were superb on their half back flanks and anything that slipped past them fell easy prey to Bruce Winter, Craig Balme and Lester Ross.
In the third term there was just a hint Norwood was faltering. Port began to lift all over the ground and took a 3 point lead into the final break. Highlight of the match was Keith Thomas, desperate to atone for a poor 1983 finals series, taking “that mark” against oncoming traffic and setting up a scoring opportunity.
Port had the aid of the breeze in the final term and things looked a little bleak for Norwood as coach Balme took his place on the bench for the final 30 minutes of the season. It needed a hero, and it found one in Jack Oatey Medallist, Keith Thomas. His heroism stimulated others around him and it was his red (and blue) blooded courage under threat of physical damage that epitomized Norwood’s last desperate drive for victory.
Port goaled early to take a 9 point lead and looked full of running but Neville Roberts marked strongly to register his 5th goal for the match, drawing Norwood to within 2 points. Several minutes later, Aish gathered the ball, ran 80 metres downfield, setting up a miraculous Keith Thomas goal from the pocket, giving the Redlegs a 4 point lead.
The pressure continued with both teams struggling for an advantage until Port regained the lead with a goal to Evans. Two minutes later, Laughlin passed to Duncan Fosdike who put the Redlegs back in front by 4 points. At the 23 minute mark, David Payne jammed the ball onto the boot to Roberts who slammed through goal 6, and a 10 point lead to Norwood.
For the next 4 minutes, Norwood worked hard to hold out a desperate Magpies team. Port managed another behind but the scoring was done. Greg Thomas kicked across goal, the ball bounced out of bounds and the siren sounded to signify Norwood premiers for 1984 and “History Makers”.
Captain Danny Jenkins told the crowd, “The courage and the character of the players that I just played with is unquestionable. I would like to thank them and congratulate our coach, Neil Balme”
Our team in the 1984 grand final was
Coach: N Balme
F N.Roberts P.Laughlin G.Thomas
HF G.Vardanega J.Michalanney D.Payne
C D.Fosdike G.McIntosh P.Gallagher
HB J.Scanlon T.Warhurst A.Jarvis
B L.Ross C.Balme B.Winter
Followers J.Hall M.Aish (vc)K.Thomas
Reserves N.Hein D.Jenkins (c)
Page prepared by G Adams March 2012