Ern Kranz was a strong, skilful forward who in limited league opportunities complemented the legendary Bruce Schultz-Ron Brown goalkicking combination.
Norwood recruited Ern from the Kensington Football Club, where he was a dominant centre half-forward in the team which won the SA Amateur Football League’s Division A2 premiership in 1933. For the 1934 interstate amateurs match he was selected as a forward flanker in the SA team defeated by Victoria at Norwood Oval. He also made his Norwood debut in 1934, playing eight league matches that year and two at the end of 1935.
Known for his long kicking and high marking, Ern was a versatile player because of his size and strength – at 82 kg and 182 cm he was big man for that era – but competition for league spots was fierce and he found his niche in Norwood’s second team, in the SA Football Association. He played a total of 25 association games in 1934, 1935, 1937 and 1940, kicking 19 goals.
In 1935 he kicked 16 goals in 16 association games and earned selection at centre half-forward in the SA association team which beat Port Pirie by 17 points at Adelaide Oval. During the season he was recognised by his team-mates and appointed a player representative on the team selection committee. He was equal runner-up for the Nitschke Medal, awarded to the association’s best follower, finishing one vote behind the winner.
In 1937 he played five association games but failed to make the Norwood premiership team and ran out the season with Kensington. He came back for three association games in 1940. On 10 August 1940 he wore the red and blue for the last time, playing for Norwood past champions versus present players in a charity match to raise funds for the Fighting Force Comforts Fund. He enlisted in the Australian Army on 3 January 1942 and was a corporal on discharge on 5 March 1946.
Pre-war, between seasons, Ern and senior Norwood team-mates played electric light cricket for Tolley Scott and Tolley. In one match in 1937 Ern made 146 and took 5/18. His team reached the grand final in the Electric Light Metropolitan Cricket Association that year.
Ern was born at Norwood on 6 March 1914 to Ernest Kranz senior and his wife Rachel, née Eastwood. Ern married Bessie Taylor at Clayton Congregational Church in 1939 and they had three children, Robert, John and Barbara. A leading hand checker, Ern was 51 when he died at Blair Athol on 3 March 1966. Bessie lived to be 97, following her beloved Norwoods and Crows to the end.
P. Robins, Adrian Moulds Jan 2020
* For the picture and data we thank Ern Kranz’s daughter, Barbara Moulds, her husband Arthur and their son Adrian.