Roger Woodcock made an unforgettable contribution to the Norwood Football Club and the SANFL as a specialist half-forward flanker. The mercurial left-footer attended Wellington Primary, and then Norwood High School where he played mainly as a centre-man.
Joining Norwood in 1967, he played two seasons in the Under 17's and Under 19's, before being promoted to the Reserves, with Glen Rosser, late in the 1969 season. They played just the one game at that level before making their League debut against West Adelaide at the Parade the following week, in the second last minor round game of the season, and on Woodcock's 19th birthday.
The family lived at Payneham South and Roger was a Redlegs supporter from the beginning. His older brothers also played senior football for Norwood. Don played 68 League games for the club, followed by 15 for South Adelaide, while Brian made four senior appearances for the Redlegs. Remarkably, Don and Brian also played 122 and 153 Reserves games respectively.
Roger was to make the right half-forward flank his own for the next 12 seasons of League football, although he also made a handful of appearances on a wing. Under coach Robert Oatey, he headed the club's goal-kicking in 1971, and was selected in the State squad in 1972.
He again made the State squad in 1974, and was leading goal-kicker, this time under new coach Bob Hammond. Woodcock also played his 100th game of League football on 31 August 1974 against Glenelg on the Norwood Oval. During the season he kicked a career high nine goals against Woodville.
In 1975 he was an important member of the side that broke a 25 year premiership drought against Glenelg at Football Park. It would have been particularly satisfying for Woodcock, as he had experienced the lows of the late 60's, and had been one of the key players behind the club's turnaround in the 70's.
1978 saw the Redlegs win the Premiership by one point in a nail-biting finish against Sturt. Once again he had been an important player during the year, and again kicked two goals in the Grand Final. He also topped the goal-kicking in what was the club's centenary year.
Woodcock made his 200th senior appearance in the opening round of the 1979 season, against Port Adelaide at Alberton. During that year he was again selected in the State squad.
While "Woody" did not end up playing for South Australia, he did play several games against interstate clubs during his career. Some of the more memorable matches included the 1975 "Champions of Australia" end of season clashes against Glenorchy (Tasmania) and North Melbourne (VFL), the 106 point trouncing of Carlton (VFL) in the 1976 Wills Cup, and the 1977 Ardath Cup Final against East Perth (WAFL).
The following season he broke Robert Oatey's then club record of 232 League games, against Sturt on the Unley Oval (31/5/80).
In 1980, under first year coach Neil Balme, Woodcock played in his only losing Grand Final; the Redlegs narrowly going down to Port Adelaide at Football Park.
He kicked his 600th goal for Norwood, fittingly in a home game, against Central District on August 29 1981.
At career's end, his 602 goals represented the most majors kicked by a non full forward in SANFL history.
Sadly, his career came to an abrupt end in the 1981 Elimination Final against West Adelaide when he seriously injured his right knee,rupturing his ACL and medial ligaments.
Away from playing football, "Woody" was a passionate "Electric-Light" cricketer, a keen golfer, and a founding member of the Norwood Football Club's History Group.
R Cialini Aug 2016
Further reading: Ashwood, M Roger Woodcock; poetry in motion ( The Footy Almanac website, accessed 16 March 2018 )