By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL is celebrating Jack Oatey’s richly-deserved elevation to Legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.
An inaugural inductee as a coach in 1996, Oatey became the third South Australian to be bestowed the game’s highest honour.
Joining Magarey Medallists Barrie Robran and Malcolm Blight as Legends in the Australian Football Hall of Fame, Oatey remains as SANFL’s longest-serving coach having guided Norwood, West Adelaide and Sturt for a total of 786 games across 38 years.
In that period, Oatey piloted his teams to 10 premierships, seven with the Double Blues where he revolutionised the way the game was played, chiefly through the use of slick, and skillful handball.
”SANFL congratulates the late Jack Oatey and his family on his elevation to Legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame,” SA Football Commission Chairman Rob Kerin said.
”Jack is widely-regarded as a visionary for the game in South Australia and his legacy lives on with the Jack Oatey Medal and Jack Oatey Stand being named in his honour.
”It is only fitting he has now been recognised on the national stage in this fashion.”
Since 1981, the Jack Oatey Medal has been awarded to the player adjudged best afield in the SANFL Grand Final while since 2014, Oatey’s name is featured among SA’s football greats on the eastern grandstand of Adelaide Oval.
An inaugural inductee to the South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2002, Oatey was also an accomplished player while lining up in 181 games for the Redlegs between 1940 and 1952.
Featuring in five premierships with Norwood (three as a player-coach), the Yorke Peninusla-raised goal-kicking rover won four best-and-fairests whilst also captaining the club from 1945 to 1952.
Booting a total of 233 goals, Oatey is held in such high esteem that he is a member of Norwood and Sturt’s Team of the Century.
Oatey also thrived while representing South Australia on seven occasions, acting as captain-coach in 1949 and 1950 and coach in 1959.
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