1941: A Red and Blue Year

By Reonaldo Cialini
NFC History Committee

In 1941, Australia was at war and despite the impact of enlistments and transfers in the armed services, football competitions continued around the country.

2021 marks the 80th anniversary of "red and blue" clubs around the country all winning premierships in their respective major State leagues.

South Australia : NORWOOD -  Redlegs

 Kevin Hardiman  was set to continue as captain-coach in 1941, but was forced to relinquish coaching duties due to work commitments. Perce McCallum took on the coaching role and Hardiman was again named club captain.

Bruce Schultz became the first Norwood player to kick 100 league goals in a year.  He reached the milestone in the first quarter of the round 13 match against West Adelaide, on the Norwood Oval. Unfortunately, he was badly injured moments later in the same game, and never played league football again.

 Jack Oatey was runner-up for the Magarey Medal.

 Norwood finished minor premiers, and went on to break a 12 year drought, winning its first premiership since 1929. Played on the Adelaide Oval in front of 31,000 spectators, the Redlegs defeated Sturt in the Grand Final by 29 points.

               Coach: F P McCallum       
              F    J.Schmelzkopf         K.List             L.Foweraker
             HF     W.Allen             K.Hardiman (c)     D.Tugwell
             C    G.Whittaker          A.Sawley              P.Bice
             HB   J.Seelenmeyer      S.Taylor           G.Lawrence
               B    H.Holmesby         R.Calder           S.Roads
Followers: W. McCallum   T.Price   J.Oatey 
Reserves  L.Eaton    

Umpire: E.J.Hine    

                      1st     2nd     3rd       Final          Pts 
            Norwood        6-2    7-8     11-10     14-16       100                
            Sturt             2-3    2-8     5-9        10-11         71  

Better players on the day included : Jack Oatey, John Seelenmyer, Jeff Schmelzkopf, Bill McCallum (4 goals), Sandy Roads, Ron Calder, Stanley Taylor, Tom Price, Perc Bice and "Pongo" Sawley.

The normal league competition then ceased during  World War 11. Clubs merged and played in a "wartime league" from 1942 to 1944. The Norwood-North team was formed, winning premierships in 1943 and 1944.

Tasmania : NORTH HOBART - Robins

1941 was a successful season for the North Hobart Football Club in the Tasmanian Football League.

The North Hobart Robins won the premiership for the fourth year in a row. They proved to be too good in the decider against Cananore, winning 12.17 to 9.11.

 Played at the North Hobart Oval (20/9/1941) in front of 4,034 spectators, it was a tight tussle until late in the game when North Hobart finished the stronger.

( In 1969 North Hobart changed its emblem to the Demons, but the colours remained red and blue). 

Victoria : MELBOURNE - Demons

  Melbourne played Essendon in the 1941 Victorian Football League Grand Final (27/9/1941) and ran out winners : 19.13 to 13.20.   Almost 80,000 spectators attended the game.

 It was the third successive premiership for the Demons, who had previously been known as the  Redlegs and the Fuchsias.

Melbourne had recruited Stanley "Pops" Heal from West Perth) whilst he was on naval duties and temporarily stationed in Victoria.

Although he had only appeared a few times for the Demons during the season, the wingman was eligible to play in the Grand Final.

Western Australia : WEST PERTH - Cardinals

  On 11/10/1941 West Perth defeated East Fremantle in the West Australian National Football League Grand Final 14.14 to 10.17, on the Subiaco Oval in front of a crowd of almost 16,000.

  A fortnight after Heal had played in a VFL premiership, he was named in a forward pocket for his home side West Perth, and played in another grand final win.

  (West Perth became known as the Falcons in the mid 1970's, but the colours remained the same).

Victoria : PORT MELBOURNE- The Boroughs

 Played on October 4, Port Melbourne defeated Coburg in the 1941 Victorian Football Association Grand Final : 15.18 to 11.23.

The decider was played on the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 36,000 spectators. It was the Boroughs second successive premiership

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