Kingsley Arthur “Bill” Wedding
(1957 - 1968)
Kingsley Arthur Wedding began his career at Norwood in 1956, and the popular "Big Bill" was to become one of the club's all time great footballers.
Norwood was quite fortunate to end up with Bill Wedding's services. In 1956, senior coach Jack Oatey, and President Ted Heidenreich, travelled to Gawler to ask Bill's brother Melville, to play in Norwood's pre-season trials. Melville asked if his younger brother could also try out; slow and a poor mark, Bill had struggled to get a regular game for Willaston's A Grade. Melville decided not pursue a career in League football but Bill stayed and played 13 Reserve games in his first season for the Redlegs.
He played mainly Reserves again the following season, but he did make his League debut in round 13, and came off the bench in the 1957 League Grand Final loss to Port Adelaide. He was also awarded the Nitschke Medal, as the best ruckman in the Reserves competition.
By 1958, although still somewhat ungainly and uncoordinated, Wedding was developing into a regular League footballer. What he may have lacked in natural talent, he more than made up for with a fierce desire to succeed. He was travelling from Gawler on Thursday nights, to train at Norwood.
He played 11 League games during the 1958 minor round. Despite only making six appearances for the Reserves, Wedding still managed to win the 1958 Reserves Magarey Medal. He was selected in the grand final squad that defeated South Adelaide for the Advertiser Cup, and then went on to play against the visiting Geelong and Footscray teams at the end of the season.
Wedding was named the club's best ruckman in 1958, an award he continued to win each season until his retirement in 1968.
He led Norwood's rucks in the 1960 Grand Final loss to North Adelaide and represented the State for the first time during the year.
1961 saw "Big Bill" win the first of his five consecutive best and fairest awards. Unfortunately, he also played in another losing Grand Final - the Redlegs going down narrowly to West Adelaide.
His early ruck-work had seen him punch the ball long distances at almost every opportunity. However, as he developed further, he palmed the ball more frequently, thus bringing the smaller
men into the game. By now he had become the State's premier ruckman and in 1961 won The Advertiser and The News Footballer of the Year awards.
At his peak, opposition sides would regularly double-team him, in the hope of reducing his effect on the game. Wedding was able to ruck for very long periods in games, and despite the
extra attention he attracted from opponents he was always scrupulously fair. He proved to be remarkably resilient, missing only a handful of matches through injury.
Amongst his other awards, Wedding also won the 1963 News Ampol trophy, for the South Australian Footballer of the Year.
As dominant a figure as Wedding was for 12 seasons in the SANFL, he is probably best remembered for his performances in interstate matches. At 198cm, and weighing over 95kg, South Australia finally had someone who could combat the likes of "Polly" Farmer, John Nicholls, and John Schultz in the interstate matches against the Victorians.
He won an All-Australian blazer in the Brisbane Carnival of 1961. Then in 1963, Wedding was a key member of South Australia's historic win against Victoria on the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Two years later he was again high in the best players, as South Australia easily accounted for the Victorians on the Adelaide Oval, keeping them to a lowly 3 goals 1 point. In 1966, he represented the State in the Hobart Carnival.
Fellow South Australian greats, Neil Kerley and Fos Williams, rated Wedding very highly. They both saw him as a major factor in South Australia's improved interstate performances in the early to mid 1960's.
Wedding played his 200th game during 1968, and retired at the end of the year. In 1969 and 1970, he served as a club board/committee member.
A player Life Member of the SANFL, he was inducted into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Games: 214 Goals: 100
Club champion: 1961-65
Further honours: Norwood Player Life Member, Norwood Team of the Century, SANFL Hall of Fame, Reserves Magarey Medal 1958, All Australian 1961, SA games 19