Over the years, a great crop of North Adelaide players have originated from the Mid and Upper North of the State. We look at some of the names on the Roosters honour roll ahead of this weekend’s Think! Road Safety Country Football Championships and Hostplus SANFL League regional match in Whyalla.
By Peter Argent
North Adelaide’s strong connection to the Mid, and Upper North, areas of South Australia dates back to the pre-zoning days, continuing through to the current era.
Hailing from Crystal Brook, Ron Hewett, was vice-captain of the Roosters’ 1960 premiership side.
Nick-named “Dasher”, he arrived at Prospect in 1953, playing his first State football game and winning an initial Best-and-Fairest in 1955 before earning his second in 1961.
He retired having played 148 games for the club, as well as five interstate games and was awarded NAFC Life membership in 1964.
Maurice Arbon, from Mundoora, is another premiership player from that district, playing directly after World War II.
Arbon debuted at age 25 and was a member of the 1949 flag winning performance among his 98 League games for the Roosters and one State game.
While he only played 82 senior games (1961, 1963-67), Malcolm Dixon was a Best-and-Fairest winner at the Roosters in 1966.
A classy and balanced wingman from Willington, David Sanders, started in 1982 and retired in 1996 playing 305 senior games, highlighted by the 1987 and 1991 premierships.
In the same epoch, after starting his senior football at the Orroroo Football Club, farmer from Pekina Mick Redden, carved out a stellar career which resulted in North Adelaide and South Australian Football Hall of Fame inductions.
Redden started in 1978 and finished in 1993, registering a massive 378 senior games, a pair of flags in the same teams as Saunders and the club Best-and-Fairest in 1983.
Premiership vice-captain David Tiller in 1987, a 290-game servant from Risdon Football Club in Port Pirie (Spencer Gulf Football League), won a pair of Best-and-Fairest awards in 1981 and 1984.
Fellow Risdon footballer Paul Arnold played 226 games in the red and white, stationed at full back in the 1987 premiership team.
A trio of Stringer siblings – the late Barry, Wayne and youngest Alan – hail from Koolunga.
Originally from Gulnare-Redhill Football Club, where he won a Mail Medal in the Broughton League in 1970, Barry Stringer possessed explosive pace, great awareness and excellent disposal skills.
Across 220 SANFL games, he won a pair of Best-and-Fairests and was a big part of North’s 1971 and 1972 SANFL flags.
Long before Whyalla was a part of the North Adelaide country zone (SANFL zoning was introduced in the early 1970s), both SANFL’s greatest player, Barrie Robran, and his younger brother Rodney, hailed form the North Whyalla Magpies.
Barrie’s deeds, which included winning three Magarey Medals and seven successive North Adelaide Best-and-Fairest awards, (sharing his first with his hero ‘Sir’ Donald Lindner) give some indication of how good he was.
Rodney Robran was an accomplished player in his own right, winning the 1976 Best-and-Fairest, amongst 184 games between 1970-77 and 1979-82.
A South Augusta Bulldogs premiership player in 2000 at the age of 15, Jared Rivers played SANFL League football the next year at 16, among 20 League games at Prospect before being drafted to Melbourne.
Rivers won the 2004 AFL Rising Star award in his first season with the Demons and had a 194-game AFL career, including 44 for Geelong.
Port Augusta juniors Mackenzie Slee and Connor Rozee, along with Jake Wohling from “The Brook” were all members of the 2018 North Adelaide flag-winning combination.
Wohling was still in his mid-teens when he played for the Northern Zone in the 2015 SA Country Championships at Port Augusta, alongside Campbell Combe.
There are a number of current North Adelaide league footballers who are connected with the Country Zone of the club.
The Combe siblings, Will and 2020 Magarey Medallist Campbell, add to the heritage from Crystal Brook, while the athletic Karl Finlay is a Quorn lad, and quicksilver Indigenous player Frankie Szekely is from Central Augusta.
Cameron Hewett, the youngest of four footballing brothers, hails from the Broughton Mundoora Eagles and Sam McInerney started his football at the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies, while Harrison Magor is a Ports Bulldog from Port Pirie.
For North Adelaide, hosting Adelaide’s SANFL team in the feature game at Bennett Oval, this is a special day to celebrate their rural stars.
At the Crows, there are a number of country South Australian connections as well.
Luke Pedlar started his footy in the South-East the town of Kingston, while Jackson Hately is from Gawler and Trinity College, while Mitch Hinge has a strong family heritage at Mundulla.
Harry Schoenberg hails from Marrabel in the State’s Mid North and played for the Mintaro-Manoora Eagles, Darcy Fogarty arrived from Lucindale via Glenelg and veteran Taylor Walker is a North Broken Hill Bulldog.
Lightning quick Crow and former Rooster Tariek Newchurch also is from the West Augusta Hawks.
Crows SANFL coach Michael Godden is a Mallee boy, originally playing for West Adelaide before being drafted to the Crows.
After a Reserves premiership as coach of Glenelg, Godden took the Eagles to the 2011 SANFL League premiership, defeating Central District in a thriller.
He’s keen to see Adelaide go all the way in 2022.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!