John Henry SLEE


Guernsey Number:
Career: 1894 to 1896
NFC Games:
NFC Goals:

Premierships: 1894


Jack Slee was the youngest of three Moonta miners who contributed significantly to Norwood's successful campaign for the 1894 premiership.  A high-leaping forward, he was a companion of followers 'Tack' Metherell and Jimmy Polglase in the Moonta Mines Turks team which dominated the Yorke Peninsula Football Association in the 1890s.  Metherell established himself at Norwood early in the 1893 season and Polglase also came down by train to play that year when required.

In 1894, Polglase and Slee were both called up as a revived Norwood team began its premiership charge, the three Cousin Jacks standing out in their much-worn blue dungaree knickers. Slee was on a half-forward flank as Norwood came from behind to defeat Port Adelaide, 7.6 to 6.7, in a gripping match to decide who would play South Adelaide for the premiership.

The first match against South Adelaide for the flag ended in a slogging 4.8 to 4.8 draw in heavy conditions. At a crucial stage as South was breaking clear, Slee collared the ball and sent Norwood back into attack. Two behinds were scored before 'Boots' Stuart marked and goaled on the bell. Only 18, Slee was at centre half-forward in the replay four days later, on Wednesday 10 October. It was another heart-stopper, a fine kick by Metherell  enabling 'Bos' Daly to goal and clinch  a 4.7 to 3.5 win which denied South a hat trick of premierships.

Slee was a solid Norwood contributor for two more seasons as first Metherell and then Polglase were lured to the WA goldfields. He missed the early part of the 1995 season while mining in Broken Hill. The first match of 1896 was played under a new rule by which North Adelaide and the Natives were allowed 23 players against 20 for the established teams, Norwood, South and Port. Jack was in the best players as Norwood thumped the Natives, 8.8 to 2.8.

Noted early for what an observer called his "surprising ability in the way of running high jumps", Jack also showed the resilience expected of the son of John Richard Slee, who had less than a month of schooling before being required to drive the bullock team at the family farm at the age of seven.

Playing for the Turks in 1901, Jack Slee was involved in  a clash with Moonta opponent William Whennan, who lost a tooth. Jack was charged with striking and ordered by the local court to pay five pounds damages plus costs - about 11 pounds in total.

Born at Moonta Mines on 21 April 1875, Jack  married Ella Jane Trenerry in 1906 and also moved to the WA goldfields. He was only 39 when he died at the  Coolgardie Sanitorium on 8 December 1911

P Robins June 2017

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