HALL OF FAME - Roberts, Neville

Neville Roberts

(1982 - 1987, 2000 - 2001)

Neville Roberts was an outstanding young footballer, whilst attending Henley High School. He began his League career with West Torrens in 1973.
After two seasons in the SANFL, "Rocky" transferred to Richmond in the Victorian Football League, playing 17 games in his first year. He played a further 31 VFL games in his next two seasons, and also represented Victoria at interstate level.
Roberts rejoined West Torrens in 1978 under coach Neil Kerley. A strong mark, excellent kick for goal, and a superb tackler, he was an inspirational player for the Eagles in the next four seasons - captaining the club in 1980 and 1981.
In 1982,after 95 appearances for West Torrens, Roberts decided to make the move to Norwood in search of a premiership. His friendship with ex-Richmond team-mate Neil Balme, the then Norwood coach, would have made for a smooth transition to his new environment. Best remembered at the Parade as a forward pocket/half forward, the courageous ball-winner had also spent time in the midfield. He quickly became one of the club's favourite players.

Roberts had an immediate impact on the side, and tasted premiership success in his very first season - Norwood easily accounting for Glenelg in the 1982 Grand Final. He was fourth in the club best and fairest award  and won the club's goal-kicking award. During the season he had kicked 10.2 against Sturt (Unley),
and 11.3 versus Woodville (Adelaide) in the following round.
Roberts created a club record in 1983, kicking 117 goals for the year and surpassing the previous tally of 100 goals, held by Bruce Schultz in 1941. During the season he kicked 11.3 against Woodville (Norwood), and 10.3 against Central District (Elizabeth). 
Roberts kicked 106 goals in 1984 and played a major part in Norwood winning the flag - the "History-Makers" coming from fifth at the end of the minor round. He was outstanding in the Grand Final victory over Port Adelaide, kicking six goals.
During the year he represented South Australia against Victoria and also captained the side against Western Australia. 

In 1985 he was appointed club captain and led South Australia in its interstate clash against Victoria.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             In 1986 he reached his 100 game milestone for the Redlegs. He was awarded a five Year Valuable Service Medallion and was again named captain of the club. Early in the season when Glen Rosser could no longer coach the Reserves because of increased work commitments, Roberts took over the role - with help from Neil Balme and Daryl Seekamp. He guided the team to a flag, the Redlegs defeating Woodville in the Grand Final : 24.13 to 10.16.
Injury and illness had taken their toll however, and he announced his retirement after the 1986 season. Although he courageously attempted to play on the following season, his last game of league football was against South Adelaide (Round 6, 1987).
Roberts then had a stint in the media, before being appointed Norwood's senior coach in 2000 and 2001 when he coached the side into the finals both years - finishing 5th and 4th, respectively.

Games: 108 Goals: 413
Premierships: 1982, 1984 Captain: 1985, 1986
Coach: 2000-01 Leading goalkicker: 1982-85
Further honours: Norwood Team of the Century, SA captain 1984-85, SA games 5.

R Cialini March 2017

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