John Kenealey PLUNKETT


Guernsey Number: 26, 15, 20
Career: 1931 & 1935 to 1939
NFC Games: 60
NFC Goals: 45
Debut: v West Torrens (Norwood) 9th May 1931
Finale: v South Adelaide (Norwood) 2nd September 1939

NFC Life Member


John "Jock" Plunkett was a small, left-footed rover-forward who won Norwood's most unselfish player award in his two most productive seasons, 1937 and 1938. Jock and his elder brother Reg, a Norwood premiership player in 1923, were born into a  family of footballers - their father Oliver and uncles Jack, Henry, Mick and Bill. Jack played with North Adelaide, but the other four were all Norwood men. Reg and Jock grew up almost at the back door  of Norwood Oval at 9 Osmond Terrace.

Jock was born at Norwood on 26 October 1911 and made his league debut in 1931. He kicked 45 goals in his 60 league games. His brilliant snap-shooting for six goals in a best-on-ground performance put North Adelaide out of the premiership race at Prospect Oval in 1936.
In 1937, when 70 football veterans gathered at Norwood Oval for a reunion, Oliver Plunkett and Port Adelaide's 1904 captain Jack Quinn together saw their sons Jock and Bob do battle on the field.

Jock was a regular league player as Norwood finished third in 1937 and 1938.  He roved effectively to 'Big Bob' McLean, later boss of the Port Adelaide Football Club, and Norwood presented both with five-year service certificates in  1938.

Jock played kicked 27 goals in 61 games for Norwood in Association football between 1929 and 1940. He also umpired matches in the Catholic Young Men's Society  competition in the early 1930s and coached the Rostrevor College First XVIII in 1940.

He was a sergeant in the AIF in World War II. In 1940 he and Norwood champions Alec Lill and Tom Warhurst were members of the AIF team which Port legend Bob Quinn led to victory over the RAAF at  Adelaide Oval.  A year later they were all comrades in Palestine.

The Southern Cross newspaper of 1 August 1941 published a letter from Jock , a "noted parishioner of St Ignatius parish and stalwart of Norwood on the football field", in which he tells his revered mother Jennie of a motor tour of the Holy Land with five other servicemen and the celebration of Mass in a Carmelite Monastery.

In 1942 he was one of a number of soldiers overseas whose messages home were broadcast by the ABC. He died in 1994.

P Robins April 2017

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