Wartime competition 1942-1944
Norwood-North games: 3
Norwood-North goals: 4
Jeff Schmelzkopf is quite probably the only Norwood footballer to have starred in a premiership winning grand final as well as being the field umpire in a SANFL grand final.
Born on Christmas Eve in 1918, Jeff came to Norwood in 1939 by way of Walkerville in the Amateur League where he had won the trophy as the best backman.Vigorous, determined and dashing he displayed versatility during his career playing in defence, ruck and in the forward line and more often than not was named in Norwood’s best players.
His most complete season was in 1941 when he played nineteen games. He was the best player in a match against North Adelaide (Ken Farmer’s last game) in which he kicked nine goals from all angles in wet and windy conditions. In the 1941 grand final in which Norwood defeated Sturt it was reported that “when naming the outstanding players of the match it would be invidious to draw a distinction between Oatey and Schmelzcopf” and he was clearly the “best man on the ground in the final quarter”.
Jeff enlisted in the A.I.F. in 1942 and played the odd game for Norwood-North in the Patriotic Competition. He was amongst its best players in the 1944 semi-final but missed their grand final win because of an injured ankle.
He returned to Norwood in 1945 and was in its better players in its narrow four point loss to West Torrens in the 1945 preliminary final. Unfortunately for Jeff he was ordered to give up football after two games in 1946 because of injuries to his toe and ankle. At age 27 it was a premature end to his playing career.
But after watching from the sidelines for the remainder of the 1946 season Jeff decided to continue his participation in league football by taking up field umpiring. After umpiring sixteen league games in 1947, 1948 and 1949 he was appointed as the field umpire (in the days when there was only one central umpire) in the first semi-final, preliminary final and grand final in 1949.
He was highly regarded as an umpire and was appointed as umpires coach for the Broken Hill Football League in 1953.
Jeff passed away on 12th July 1985 as was interred in the Enfield cemetery.
G Williams May 2017