By MICHELANGELO RUCCI
SANFL History Centre
FOR his 267 SANFL league games as a goal-finding half-forward at Norwood, Roger Woodcock was chasing Bruce Schultz – the man who (until a knee injury ended his career in 1941) kicked 669 goals in 124 matches.
Woodcock finished tormenting defenders in 1981 with 602 goals … and his own regret.
“I never met Bruce,” says Woodcock. “And he was near my home, working in a bottle shop at the Highbury Hotel. If I knew that …”
Today, a few decades since he wrote a few significant pages in the Norwood Football Club’s history book, very little of the Redlegs story escapes Roger Woodcock.
“As a player,” says Woodcock, “you hear of the history of the football club. But all you are really worried about is getting a kick. You know, you are aware of the football club having a great history … but you are busy making your own place in history.”
This changed for Woodcock midway through 2010, almost two decades after he had retired from SANFL league football and soon after he had stepped away from his work at the Department of the Environment.
“I was playing golf, but I needed some sort of interest,” Woodcock said. “At the same time, Wally Miller and Michael Coligan were thinking the Norwood Football Club needed a history group …”
From a small group of six meeting weekly, the Norwood Football Club today has a significant collection of memorabilia – and a major challenge to display the club’s story.
Woodcock spent much of his early days on the Norwood history group collating a much-admired record of just what treasures the Redlegs have stored at The Parade and two storage sites kindly donated by club backer John Eastwood at his U-Store-It facilities. This collection includes the first Magarey Medal presented, in 1898, to Alby Green.
“It was a mundane, boring job … but someone had to do it,” says Woodcock, noting the bonus Norwood found in using the AFL data base to record the story of a pioneer football club founded in 1878.
Norwood's Roger Woodcock
''I do get into the history of Norwood now. It is good to know who came before you - and just how good they were when they were playing for the love of the red and blue guernsey."
By 2015, Norwood was building a website – redlegsmuseum.com.au – taking up the template developed by AFL club Carlton with its online museum. There also was the invaluable spread sheets developed on the club’s history by fan Graham Adams.
“We have had almost 1600 senior players represent Norwood – and I am pleased to say we have photographs of 1400 of them,” Woodcock said. “And half a dozen writers have put together 1000 profiles. I think we can say we have the best club history website in the SANFL. For information and the ease to navigate to that information, we have a great website.”
Woodcock currently works with a team of devoted Norwood history buffs. “And we need to find younger people to join us,” he said.
Woodcock’s passion today is presenting a timeline of the Norwood Football Club since 1878 – and developing a site for the Norwood museum away from the digital world and preferably at The Parade.
Part of the riches in telling the Norwood story are the audio tapes left at The Parade by author Mike Coward from his interviews while writing the Norwood Football Club centenary book and the follow-up book “Men of Norwood”.
“Imagine listening to ‘Wacka’ Scott at the kitchen table while his wife is brewing a pot of tea while Mike prepares his interview notes,” Woodcock said.
“I do get into the history of Norwood now. It is good to know who came before you – and just how good they were when they were playing for the love of the red and blue guernsey.”
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