Francis Gilbert SAWLEY


Guernsey Number: 24, 17, 19
Career: 1931 to 1934
NFC Games: 26
NFC Goals: 2
Debut: v West Adelaide (Wayville) 2nd May 1931
Finale: v West Adelaide (Norwood) 5th May 1934


Francis Gilbert Sawley joined Norwood from the Kensington Football Club, in the East Torrens Association. Having been asked to continue training with the Norwood Reserves in April, 1930, he was to be an important player in the Reserves premiership victory later that year. He was named at full back against West Adelaide in the Preliminary Final, and was again the goalkeeper in Norwood's thrilling one point Grand Final win against Port Adelaide, at Thebarton Oval. Sawley was then selected in an extended squad for the league team's 1st Semi-Final clash against Port Adelaide.
He had to wait until the opening round of the following season to make his senior debut however, eventually playing 16 games in his first year of league football.
In 1932, he spent the minor round in the Reserves and, whilst he showed good form, it was not until the second Semi-Final against North Adelaide that his services were required in the seniors. He was named at centre half back. Norwood lost that game and Sawley was then selected in the back pocket for the Preliminary Final clash against Sturt. Unfortunately Norwood were again defeated.
Sawley played another seven league games in 1933, and his final senior match was in round 2, 1934.
His brothers Albert "Pongo" Sawley, 110 NFC games (1935-46) and Gordon, 53 NFC games (1937-41), also represented the club with distinction, as did Frank's son Brian, 138 NFC games (1954-64).
Francis died tragically on the 17th February 1946, aged 37. He disappeared while crabbing at Port Parham on a Sunday afternoon, and his body was found by an RAAF plane the following Saturday after an intensive police search.

R Cialini July 2018

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