HALL OF FAME - Craig, Neil

Neil Craig

Neil Craig was an outstanding junior footballer with the Norwood Football Club. Recruited at 13 years of age from Sandilands, near Maitland on Yorke Peninsula , he boarded at Norwood's player residence, Carmel Court in Kensington. As a 15 year old, whilst doing his Intermediate year at Norwood High School, he won the 1971 McCallum Medal for the fairest and most brilliant player in the SANFL Colts (Under 17's) competition. Playing as a centreman, he was believed to be the youngest winner of the medal at that time.
The following season he was awarded the Tomkins Medal, for the best player in the SANFL Under 19's competition.
Craig made his League debut early in 1973 and played seven senior games for the year. Showing great enthusiasm and professionalism beyond his years, he further developed his skills and fitness and played 20 games in 1974, winning Norwood's most improved player award.
In 1975 he made another 21 League appearances and was an important contributor to the side that broke the 25 year premiership drought, defeating Glenelg in the Grand Final.
In 1977 he was high in Norwood's best player list, as the team took out the Ardath Cup (Night Series) by defeating East Perth in the final. The Redlegs on-baller had a stellar season in 1977, playing another 24 games, winning the club's best and fairest award and playing interstate football for South Australia.
In 1978 Craig played his 100th game in Norwood's centenary year and was outstanding in the Redlegs one point victory against Sturt in the Grand Final.
Craig left Norwood at the end of 1979 and joined the Sturt Football Club. He played 134 games for the Double Blues between 1980 and 1986, captaining the side in his last two seasons. He also captained the State side in 1984, and played another 61 games for North Adelaide from 1987 to 1990.
Between 1991 and 1995 Craig was Norwood's League coach. He guided the team to three Finals series and one Grand Final.
In 1997, Craig was appointed fitness adviser of the Adelaide Crows, and was assistant coach between 1997 and 2002.
He was inducted into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Towards the end of 2004, Craig was appointed coach of the Adelaide Crows, a position he held until resigning during 2011.
Craig has since been at Melbourne, Essendon and Carlton, holding a variety of coaching and development positions.
Outside the football arena, Craig has used his knowledge in sports science to work with the Australian cycling team at the Olympic Games and with the South Australian Institute of Sport.

In 2022 Neil Craig became Norwood's 66th Hall of Fame inductee

In 2023 Neil was awarded the Neale Daniher Lifetime Achievement Award by the AFL Coaches Association

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