In 1923 Michael Gearen participated in Norwood’s pre-season trials. As a speedy wingman, he was attempting to break into a Norwood side enjoying a golden era that resulted in four premierships in nine years. Although not a regular selection in the League side, he nonetheless made a significant contribution to the Redlegs.
Gearen impressed in those early trials and became a respected wingman in the Association (Reserves) side. So much so, he was selected in state association sides to play against country leagues, namely Yorke Peninsula and Hills.
Michael’s consistently good form in the Association led to press reports such as, “ Gearen is knocking on the door for inclusion in the senior team." (The News 15/5/1923)
Gearen’s opportunities came as injuries hit the seniors. What emerged was his ability to fill a number of positions. In his 16 League appearances he played in all the flank positions from back to forward pocket.
After one of his earlier games in 1923, The Advertiser reported, “ Gearen is fast and clean and can be relied upon to do the right thing with the ball.”
Gearen played most of 1924 and 1925 with the Association side, making sporadic appearances with the seniors when injuries struck.
The 1925 finals series provided Michael with exciting opportunities. He was chosen to play on the wing against Sturt in a semi-final. The following week, although expected to be a reserve, Michael was chosen to play in a forward Pocket in the Grand Final against West Torrens. In an exciting contest, Norwood won by a point. Michael Gearen’s loyalty and persistence had paid off. He was a Premiership Player.
This was his last game for Norwood but at the club’s Annual General Meeting in February 1926, his contribution was officially recognised when he was presented with the trophy for Best Utility Player.
B Ridge May 2015