Eagles History Makers


From finals failures in the first two years to 1993 premiers, Woodville-West Torrens celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the amalgamated club’s inaugural flag in July in a memorable reunion at the club. 

Fifteen of the 20 Eagles from the ’93 grand Final were at Oval Avenue for the celebrations, along with coach Bruce Winter. Sadly, two members of the flag-winning side, Jamie Tape and Laurence Schache, are no longer with us.

The Eagles were the amalgamation of the Woodville Warriors and West Torrens Eagles, coming together in 1991, initially coached by Neil Balme. Bruce Winter, Balme’s assistant for the opening two seasons and a perennial grand finalist across his career as player and coach, took up the head role in 1993.

Winter’s career started with Sturt in 1971, only because he “lived a couple of hundred metres the wrong side of Kensington Road, at Wattle Park”. He said: “I jokingly suggested we’d move house so I could play at The Parade but the Sturt officials told me there was a three-year resident qualification. As a Norwood High School kid, I always wanted to play for the Redlegs. I started with Sturt as an on-baller in 1971, played in the 1974 premiership (the first grand final at Football Park), missed the famous ’76 win through injury and played in the 1978 grand final we lost to Norwood.”

That ’78 decider was Winter’s final game in a Double Blues jumper, after 175 games. He achieved his childhood dream, playing the first of 178 games for Norwood in 1979. His time at The Parade included the 1980 grand final loss to Port, along with the ’82 and ’84 triumphs, before he started coaching.

“I coached Norwood to a reserves grand final loss in 1989, which I remember because a young Matthew Robran was in the side … and we lost by plenty,” Winter said. “There were a couple of grand finals with the Eagles reserves in ’91 and ’92 for a win and a loss. I spoke at the start of the ’93 season, when taking over the senior role, about the group being more defensively accountable. While we had played in the 1991 and ’92 finals series, we were bundled out pretty promptly.”

In 1993 the Eagles’ emphasis on that defensive aspect was a key to their success. “We played Port Adelaide in the second semi-final and kept them to four goals (14.20 to 4.6) and Norwood just managed seven goals in the grand final,” said Winter, recalling “this win was an important one for the supporters and volunteers”.

“With both the foundation clubs being starved of success, it was an important win to prove the decision for the clubs to come together was the right one.”

Winter continued as Eagles coach until 1997, before spending many years in SA’s elite underage programs, firstly assisting Russell Ebert and then having a long tenure as State under-16 coach. In his final year in the role Winter mentored SA’s under-16 girls in their first nation championships, before finding other aspects of life to try.

2023 Eagles captain Joseph Sinor – in the 1993 replica guernsey his side wore in its win against Norwood this year – with ’93 skipper Peter Schwarz. Photo: Anthony Marafioti

He didn’t have too many stressful issues in the 1993 decider, the Eagles having 12 shots to four in the first quarter to lead his old club Norwood by 25 points (5.7 to 2.2) and dominating all day in an emphatic 73-point win. The man who triumphantly lifted the Thomas Seymour Hill Cup at Football Park was Peter Schwarz, had played 183 games for Woodville before the amalgamation and was the first captain of the tri-coloured green, gold and blue club. He played 85 more games for the Eagles between 1991-94, being awarded Woodville-West Torrens life membership in this flag-winning year.

“There is always a hard-luck story in big games – in ’93 it was Stuart Totham,” Schwarz said. “We had a very settled back six for the entire year, who worked really well together. Our defensive pressure all over the ground was great. Games in the era were more free-flowing and were high scoring – our ability to move the ball quickly was another strength.

“Wayne Weidemann was outstanding on the day, as well as Steven Sziller. It was a case of ‘all played well’ and the goals were shared around as well. We started really well, Andrew Taylor kicking a goal in the opening minute. Probably when (half-back) Jamie Tape pushed forward and kicked a goal in the second term, I thought we were a pretty good chance from that point. We absorbed Norwood’s pressure in the third. By half way through the final quarter when the lead was unassailable, you really could enjoy it. Initially there is a component of relief … when the siren went.

“On reflection, the premiership means so much to the members and supporters, and the entire community. The players who played on that October Saturday understand the importance of being involved in our first flag and no-one can ever take that honour away from them.”

“With both the foundation clubs being starved of success, it was an important win to prove the decision for the clubs to come together was the right one.” 

1993 Eagles premiership coach Bruce Winter

From Lobethal Tigers in the Adelaide Hills, Steven Sziller debuted with the Eagles in 1992 and played 72 games for the club. But one stands out above all the others, when he won the Jack Oatey Medal for best-on-ground in the 1993 grand final. Sziller, just 20 at the time, recalled the flag as “special” as he was an Eagle from way back. “Dad (Rudy) played with West Torrens and did a knee early after about 25-30 games. Jason, who is 18 months older than me, and I were always West Torrens fans. We were in the Sturt zone but got to the Eagles under the father-son rule.

“When you have barracked for the club your entire life, to win that grand final is one of the outstanding highlights I’ve had across my career.  It was a win that brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.” Steven Sziller in 1995 moved east, playing 118 games with St Kilda between 1995-2000, before two seasons and a further 38 senior games at Richmond.

Eagles CEO Luke Powell at the reunion made a special presentation to the late Jamie Tape’s parents, Peter and Cathy, a replica of Jamie’s No. 5 jumper worn on the day.

“We wanted to reiterate how important Jamie was as a member of our football club and thought this was a suitable way of showing it,” Powell said “The players really appreciated seeing Peter and Cathy at the 30-year event. It was an honour to present the jumper. But also very emotive.”


Eagles         5.7   12.9   13.14  17.20   (122)Norwood   2.2     3.4      5.7       7.7       (49)

BEST – Woodville-West Torrens: Weidemann, S. Sziller, Tape, Chapman, Breuer, Prymke, Rogers. Norwood: Rowe, Robinson, Burns, Patterson, James.GOALS – Woodville-West Torrens: S. Sziller, Taylor 3, Phillipou, Kluzek, J. Sziller 2, Morphett, Pesch, Tape, Niemann, Nicol. Norwood: Patterson, Prime 2, O’Brien, Pitt, Tumes.CROWD – 42,719 at Football Park.

1993 EAGLES PREMIERSHIP TEAMF: Stuart Nicol, Andrew Taylor, Steven Sziller.HF: Shayne Brewer, Sam Phillopou, Scott Morphett.C: Andrew Payze, Paul Chapman, Matthew Kluzek.HB: Andrew Rogers, Paul Prymke, Jamie Tape.B: Simon Neave, Jason Spehr, Peter Schwarz.1R: David Neimann, Wayne Weidemann, Jason Sziller. Inter: Nick Pesch, Laurence Schache.Coach: Bruce Winter.

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