Dean Packer was recruited as a junior from Athelstone to play in the 1945 Norwood trials. He was described as a tall half back, however in the trials he played in ruck. He impressed sufficiently to be included in the league training squad and it was suggested that this big junior could partner Inglis in the second ruck.
Packer was selected on the bench for his debut against Glenelg in late May. The following week he was chosen in the starting line-up against Sturt, playing in the second ruck due to an injury to Price. Norwood recorded a three point win and it was reported that Dean did well.
The following week against North Adelaide, Price returned from injury and Packer was chosen at half forward. It was another win to Norwood by seven points and Dean kicked his first goal.
His final game against West Adelaide resulted in a six goal loss. Coach Jack Oatey reacted by making seven changes and Dean was one of those who missed out.
Packer never returned to the league side but to be fair this needs to be put into context. By round eight Oatey had used 38 players in the league side (more than any other team) and 21 of these had made their league debuts.
Considering Dean came as a half back, was initially used as a ruckman and played his last two games as a half forward then settling in would have been challenging. Nonetheless he had the honour of playing league football for Norwood.
B Ridge Nov 2021