1978 SANFL Grand Final: Norwood vs Sturt

Redleg’s Centenary Triumph

The two protagonists in the 1978 SANFL grand final had both enjoyed recent success, Norwood by winning the 1975 premiership (the club's first in a quarter of a century), and Sturt through a sustained decade and a half of dominance which had yielded 7 flags.

Events so far in 1978 pointed squarely to the likelihood of a Sturt victory. The Double Blues' only loss for the season had come in round 6 against West Adelaide, while they had defeated t heir grand final opponents on three occasions, by 34 points in round 4 at the Parade, by 45 points at Unley in round 13, and, most recently, by 22 points in the 2nd semi final at Football Park.

Norwood, which at one stage early in the year had appeared in danger of missing the finals, had finished the minor round strongly by winning 6 of its last 7 games. It then comfortably defeated a strong Glenelg combination in the qualifying final, 16.16 (112) to 8.10 (58). The 2nd semi final loss to Sturt followed before a preliminary final against arch rivals Port Adelaide which saw the 'Legs recover from a seemingly disquieting position at one stage to win, in the end, with some comfort.

Sturt were without Gary Hardeman, their experienced, resilient Victorian centre half back, and Jim Derrington, an ebullient, highly skilled rover. Norwood were more or less at full strength.

In front of a crowd of 50,867, and many thousands more watching 'live' on television after the SANFL had, quite unprecedentedly, permitted this having declared the match a sell-out earlier in the day, Sturt captain Paul Bagshaw won the toss and elected to kick to the southern end of Football Park. Over the course of the next two and a half hours events panned out as follows:

1st Quarter

5 mins Barton registers the opening goal of the game with a left foot snapshot from 20 metres out directly in front. Sturt 1.1; Norwood 0.1

9 mins Graham rounds off a three player handball chain by goaling from 40 metres out directly in front. Sturt 2.1; Norwood 0.2

12 mins Heinrich handballs back to Davies who snaps truly from 35 metres out straight in front. Sturt 3.2; Norwood 0.4

18 mins Bagshaw ends a concerted period of Double Blues pressure which had spawned 5 consecutive behinds by running into open goal after receiving a handpass from Barton. Sturt 4.7; Norwood 0.4

27 mins Graham picks up after a slight fumble and crashes into Norwood's Nicholson, but manages nevertheless to feed a handball off to the running Heinrich who goals from 20 metres out straight in front. Sturt 5.9; Norwood 0.5

31 mins Taylor wins the ball in the centre, and kicks to Adamson at centre half forward who wheels round onto his left foot and finds Fienemann unmarked deep in the left forward pocket. Fienemann then sends a 20 metre pass in field to Gallagher who marks before kicking accurately from 40 metres out on a 45 degree angle just as the siren sounds to end the opening term.

QUARTER TIME: Sturt 5.9 (39); Norwood 1.5 (11)

2nd Quarter

3 mins A Heinrich handball is intercepted by Woodcock 30 metres from goal directly in front. The Norwood half forward kicks across his body on the left foot and the ball sails through. Sturt 5.9; Norwood 2.5

6 mins Woodcock is again in the thick of the action as he receives a handball from Wynne on 15 metres ahead of centre, runs quickly forward side-stepping a tackle, and goals from 50 metres out straight in front. Sturt 5.11; Norwood 3.5

8 mins A short left foot pass from Nunan finds Adamson 35 metres from goal directly in front. The former Western Australian make s no mistake bringing the Redlegs to within 2 straight kicks. Sturt 5.11; Norwood 4.5

12 mins Burgan sends a penetrating kick into the Sturt forward lines. Floating over the heads of all the Norwood defenders the ball is marked easily by Davies on the edge of the goal square and t he Sturt ruckman's aim is true. Sturt 6.12; Norwood 4.6

16 mins A concerted spell of Double Blue attacking pressure ends with a quick Norwood breakaway. Centre half back Kerley sends a perfect kick into the path of the running Taylor who kicks long to the true centre half forward position where the loose ball is collected by Adamson. After dodging and weaving to maneuver into position Adamson goals with a perfectly weighted left foot drop punt from a distance of 35 metres. The Redlegs move within 11 points of the Blues, the closest they would get until the final term. Sturt 6.13; Norwood 5.8

18 mins Quick hands by Klomp to Winter, thence to Barton and on to Graham who lofts a perfect left foot snap straight through the middle from 20 metres out. Sturt 7.13; Norwood 5.8

21 mins A high centering kick from the le ft forward pocket by is marked on the chest in the goal square by a high leaping Winter, who slyly prods a kick over the goal line before the Norwood defenders have time to recover. Sturt 8.13; Norwood 5.8

The remaining 10 minutes of the quarter see the action move repeatedly from one end of the ground to the other but there are no further goals.

HALF TIME: Sturt 8.15 (63); Norwood 5.10 (40)

3rd Quarter

4 mins Nunan in the right forward pocket picks out Taylor at centre half forward and finds him with a high floating pass. Taylor is collected heavily by Howard just after marking but he gets to his feet and his kick from a distance of 35 metres just squeezes through for full points. Sturt 8.15; Norwood 6.10

12 mins Bagshaw at left half forward evades Stasinowsky before unleashing a perfectly weighted drop kick to the front of the goal square where Davies, who 'has the sit', marks cleanly over Kerley. The Sturt ruckman has no trouble in converting from 15 metres out, straight in front. Sturt 9.17; Norwood 6.10

13 mins Norwood's response is swift and telling: Adler in the left forward pocket inaugurates a handball chain involving Fienemann and Turbill and culminating in Adamson goaling easily from 20 metres out on a slight angle. Sturt 9.17; Norwood 7.10

17 mins Wynne overruns the ball near the grandstand wing boundary and ends up in the Sturt coaching dug-out. Brief chaos ensues involving numerous players and officials from both sides. However, a full scale flare up is prevented by the swift intervention of the umpires.

20 mins Klomp sends a long kick towards the goal square where Norwood centre half back Kerley is seemingly ideally placed to mark. However, the former Melbourne player inexplicably fumbles allowing Winter to run in, scoop up the loose ball, and run into an open goal to notch Sturt's 10th. Sturt 10.19; Norwood 7.10

24 mins Adler goals from 45 metres out midway between centre half forward and half forward right after a strong, purposeful lead enables him to mark Woodcock's pass 3 metres ahead of Casey. Sturt 10.20; Norwood 8.10

27 mins A quick sequence of handballs under pressure by Sturt players in the centre square ends with Heinrich sending a prodigious drop punt straight through the middle from over 50 metres out directly in front. Sturt 11.21; Norwood 8.10

28 mins Once again the Redlegs' response is swift as a Sturt turnover at centre half back is punished by a straight forward goal from 30 metres out by Adamson. Sturt 11.21; Norwood 9.10

30 mins A boundary throw in in Sturt's right forward pocket sees Davies use his body cleverly to outmaneuver Button, catch the ball cleanly, and swiftly feed off by hand to the running Barton who converts from 20 metres out on a slight angle. Sturt 12.21; Norwood 9.10

THREE QUARTER TIME: Sturt 12.21 (93); Norwood 9.10 (64)

4th Quarter 1 min Adler taps the ball through Sanders' legs to the unmarked Gallagher who has no trouble in goaling from 20 metres out straight in front. Sturt 12.21; Norwood 10.10

2 mins Turbill's in field pass from the left half forward flank is taken by Craig on the half volley. Craig quickly steadies and kicks accurately from 45 metres out on a slight angle. Sturt 12.21; Norwood 11.11

3 mins Heinrich tackles Nicholson in the right forward pocket, picks up the loose ball and, after initially running away from goal, turns sharply back towards it, evading the attentions of several Norwood backmen in the process, before coolly, if tiredly, slotting home a goal from less than 20 metres. Sturt 13.21; Norwood 11.11

4 mins Adamson is awarded a dubious holding the man decision after appearing to drop the ball when tackled. His towering screw punt from close to 60 metres out almost directly in front scores maximum points after just evading the goal line pack. Sturt 13.21; Norwood 12.11

5 mins Rosser's erratic kick from centre half forward appears to miss everything. However, the goal umpire , having only belatedly decided to run across to attempt to follow the course of the ball, awards a behind. Sturt 13.21; Norwood 12.12

12 mins Adler displays great desperation when, after appearing to lose control of the ball, he manages to tap it on to the unmarked Turbill who makes no mistake from point blank range. Sturt 13.23; Norwood 13.13

15 mins From a boundary throw in deep in the right forward pocket Wynne catches and then drops the ball which is tapped on by Phillis straight into the path of Turbill. The Norwood rover, whose mouth is bleeding profusely following an earlier clash with Bagshaw, converts easily from the front edge of the square, bringing the Redlegs to within a kick. Sturt 13.23; Norwood 14.14

17 mins Taylor bounces twice en route from the centre of the ground to the front of the centre square before kicking high to a pack of players 25 metres out from goal. Wynne cleverly manages to bring the ball to ground before circumnavigating the pack and, with a casual round the corner snap shot, putting the Redlegs into the lead for the first time since early in the opening term. Norwood 15.14; Sturt 13.23

20 mins Mutton comes on for Barton - Sturt coach Jack Oatey's first use of the interchange bench all afternoon. 24 mins The initiative shifts back to Sturt as Burgan runs into an open goal and makes no mistake after receiving a handball from Winter. Sturt 14.24; Norwood 15.15

29 mins Casey is tackled on the last line of Sturt's defence but just manages to scramble a kick away. The kick travels about 10 metres to where two Norwood players, Gallagher and Wynne, appear to spoil one another. Umpire Des Foster blows his whistle for what the TV commentators assume is a free to Gallagher, but which Foster later confirms as a mark. Gallagher gratefully restores the Redlegs' advantage. Norwood 16.15; Sturt 14.25

Despite attacking incessantly for most of the remaining three and a half minutes the Double Blues only manage to add one further point to their tally. The siren sounds with the ball deep in Sturt's forward lines and the Redlegs, in their centenary year, have achieved a sensational triumph, one which Sturt coach Jack Oatey - a former Norwood man - later magnanimously tells them "was to your everlasting credit".

FULL TIME: Norwood 16.15 (111); Sturt 14.26 (110)

Match Summary

  1st  2nd   3rd   4th   Pts  
Norwood   1.5  5.10  9.10  16.15  111  
Sturt   5.9  8.15  12.21  14.26  110  

BEST - Norwood: Adamson, Taylor, Craig, Button, Rosser, Nunan Sturt: Burgan, Winter, Davies, Heinrich, Barton
GOALS - Norwood: Adamson 5; Gallagher 3; Turbill, Woodcock 2; Adler, Craig, Taylor, Wynne Sturt: Heinrich 3; Barton, Burgan, Davies, Graham, Winter 2; Bagshaw

ATTENDANCE: 50,867 at Football Park

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