HALL OF FAME - Kneebone, Ron

Ron Kneebone

(1957 - 1967)

Ronald George Kneebone was born at Maitland Hospital, on the 18th of March, 1937 and attended Port Victoria Primary and Maitland High schools. Apart from football, Ron enjoyed tennis, swimming and shooting in his early days on Yorke Peninsula.
Ron had come to the attention of Norwood as a teenager and was signed by coach Jack Oatey when he visited the area on a coaching mission in 1956. He played a few games in the Reserves, before making his League debut mid-1957 under new coach Haydn Bunton.

He played 11 senior games in his first season, was a member of the Grand Final team , and was named the club's "Best Junior"

 Early in 1958 he was a member of  the Norwood side which travelled to Whyalla and defeated the combined local Association line-up. He played 17 games that year and was named "Best Forward".  In the round one Anzac Day clash against Port Adelaide he was involved in an alleged behind the play incident with Port's Marx Kretschmer, which left Kneebone with a severe facial injury. He was in the Norwood team that clinched that year's Advertiser Cup (night series played on the Norwood Oval) and in the Redlegs’ teams that went on to play VFL clubs Geelong and Footscray.

Kneebone added another 16 games in 1959 and gained state selection for the first time. Capable of playing at both ends of the ground, he had quickly developed into one of the state’s very best players.

He played in all 21 games in 1960, including the losing Grand Final against North Adelaide.  It was another solid season under coach Alan Killigrew and he was named "Best Backman" and once again gained State selection.

While injury ruled him out of the 1961 Australian National Football Carnival held in Brisbane, Kneebone still played 18 League games, including the losing 1961 Grand Final against West Adelaide.
Renowned for his strength, penetrating drop-kicks and clearing dashes from defence, "Bones" (or "Tank") was one of Norwood’s all time favourite footballers. When playing up forward he was renowned for his accurate drop kicks for goal. His versatility allowed him to be chosen in a variety of  positions in the 16 interstate appearances he made for South Australia.

Kneebone played many of those state games with his very close friend, and fellow Hall of Famer, "Big Bill" Wedding.

In the 1966 Hobart Carnival, Kneebone played three games at full back and was considered to be unlucky not to be named in the  All-Australian team announced at the end of the series. He also played at full back for most of the 1966 SANFL season, and his exceptional form for the Redlegs was recognised when he was awarded the 1966 Magarey Medal. In his typical modest fashion, Ron Kneebone heard of his medal victory while attending the Royal Adelaide Show with Wedding and Bunton.

In the long list of footballers he played with or against, Kneebone rates Wedding, Robert Oatey, Peter Hudson, Darrel Baldock, Neil Kerley and John Halbert, amongst the finest.

In 1967, his last season of League football, he became the second player in the history of the Norwood Football Club to play 200 games.   He had also been on the Norwood Management and Selection Committees between 1961 and 1967.

After leaving Norwood, Kneebone had a short stint playing for the North Whyalla Football Club, in the Whyalla Football League.

At the start of the 1969 season, Norwood held a testimonial for Kneebone, Wedding and Doug Olds, the only Norwood players at that time to have reached the 200 game milestone.

In 2002, Kneebone was inducted into the SA Football Hall of Fame and in 2006 was an inductee to the inaugural Norwood Football Club Hall of Fame

Games: 201 Goals: 86 Captain: 1963 - 64
Club champion: 1966
Further honours: Magarey Medal 1966, Norwood Player Life Member, Norwood Team of the Century, SANFL Hall of Fame, SA games 16.

R Cialini March 2018

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