Educated at Prince Alfred College, John Stephens was a highly rated tall follower/defender with Prince Alfred Old Collegians in the Amateur League. He represented the South Australian Amateur Football League in 1936, and again in 1937 when South Australia had a rare win against Victoria,in Melbourne. In the same year, Stephens won the Hone Medal as the best player in Division 1.
In 1940 he captained the Balaklava Football Club and won the Mail Medal for the best and fairest player in the Adelaide Plains Football Association.
Stephens enlisted as a machine gunner in the AIF and during training at Woodside, was granted leave during a long weekend in September. Having impressed in a Patriotic Sports Carnival, playing centre half-forward for the AIF, Norwood selected him for the first semi-final against South Adelaide.
Stephens made his League debut after parachuting on to Adelaide Oval. Selected as a ruckman/forward, he was one of the better performers in the losing side. This was his only game for the Norwood Football Club, as military duties interrupted his career.
His grandson Jack, was a key player in Sturt's 2016 Grand Final triumph and was awarded the Jack Oatey Medal as best player for the match.
R Cialini June 2017
* Picture kindly supplied by Jack Stephens, grandson of John Stephens.