Woodville Football Club
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2014)|
|Full name||Woodville Football Club|
|Leading goalkicker||Allan Jakovich (101)|
|Best and fairest||John Klug|
|Founded||1938 (first SANFL season in 1963)|
|Colours||Green and Gold|
|Ground(s)||Woodville Oval (1941–1990)|
Woodville Football Club was an Australian rules football club that competed in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) from 1964 to 1990, when it merged with the West Torrens Football Club to form the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles.
The club's lack of success was unparalleled in the VFL or WAFL with the club receiving 9 wooden spoons in 24 years whilst only making the finals 3 times without a grand final appearance.
Formerly known as the Woodville Woodpeckers. There are newspaper references to a Woodville Football Club dating back to the 19th century but the modern club was formed in 1938 to play in local amateur competitions. In 1959 the SANFL was looking to expand the competition from eight to ten teams and selected Woodville and Central District to enter the SANFL reserves competition on a five-year apprenticeship before gaining admission to the league competition in 1964.
Its inaugural season was an indicator of its success (or lack thereof) for the remainder of its existence. The club won just three matches, all against Central Districts. In its 27 seasons in the SANFL, Woodville reached the finals only three times: in 1979, 1986 and 1987; its best result was 3rd position in 1986.
Woodville’s most successful player was Malcolm Blight, who won the SANFL's Magarey Medal and gained selection in the All Australian team in 1972. He would later play for North Melbourne Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL), winning the Brownlow Medal in 1978 and joining a select group of players who had won the highest individual honor in both the SANFL and VFL competitions.
Blight returned to Woodville in 1983 as Captain-Coach, leading the club through its most successful period. His first season back in Adelaide was unsuccessful, with the club finishing with the wooden spoon. From there the team started to gel and by 1986 was considered an outside chance of obtaining their first league premiership, only missing out on a Grand Final place after going down to defending premiers Glenelg in the Preliminary Final (Glenelg would go on to defeat North Adelaide in the Grand Final).
Blight stood down in 1987 and was replaced by Port Adelaide Football Club legend and four time Magarey Medallist Russell Ebert who took them to the Elimination final that year where they again were knocked out of the race by Glenelg. Under Ebert's coaching, Woodville won their second SANFL Night Competition in 1988, the Escort Cup, defeating Port Adelaide 14.12 (96) to 7.9 (51) at Football Park. It would be the last trophy the Woodville Football Club would win in the SANFL. Woodville had also won the Coca Cola Cup night series in 1972.
As a struggling club with limited fans and finances, there were regular calls throughout the 1980s to merge Woodville with another club. In 1990, with the imminent entry of the South Australian-based Adelaide Crows into the national Australian Football League (formerly the VFL), it was decided to amalgamate Woodville with neighbouring West Torrens Football Club. In an apt moment, Woodville and West Torrens were drawn to play each other in their respective final games, with Woodville emerging victorious by 50 points, 24.10 (154) to 15.19 (104) at the Adelaide Oval. Before the game a number of legends from both clubs were introduced to the crowd.
Woodville's captain in their last game was popular veteran Ralph Sewer (regular captain Romano Negri was in the team but stepped aside for the last game to give Sewer the honor). The 38-year-old Sewer who was playing his 382nd and last game of SANFL football. "Zip Zap" as he was known, made his league debut with Woodville in 1969 and was playing his 325th game for the club. He was Woodville's leading goal kicker in 1975, and had won the club's best & Fairest award in 1978, the same year he was awarded with Life Membership from the club and Player Life Membership from the SANFL. Sewer, who had played 57 games for perennial contenders Glenelg from 1981–84, is the only player to have played in four decades of football in the SANFL.
The Woodville Warriors and the West Torrens Eagles merged after the completion of the 1990 season and have since participated in the SANFL as the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles, winning the SANFL premiership in 1993, 2006 and 2011.
- SANFL League: Nil
- SANFL Night Premierships: 2 - Coca Cola Cup 1972, Escort Cup 1988
- SANFL Reserves: 2 - 1973, 1987
- SANFL Under 19's: Nil
- SANFL Under 17's: 5 - 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1973
- Malcolm Blight (1972)
SANFL Leading Goalkickers
- Glynn Hewitt: 83 goals (1979)
- Malcolm Blight: 126 goals (1985)
- Stephen Nichols: 103 goals (1986, 1988)
Club Colours and Emblems
- Red and White (1938–1939)
- Purple and White (1940–1946)
- Green and Gold (1947–1990)
On entry to the SANFL, Woodville were known as “The Woodpeckers” but changed to “The Warriors” in 1983.
- Woodville Oval (1941–1990)
- Ralph Sewer: Debuting in 1969 and playing his final match in 1990 aged 38, Sewer became not only the only man to have played in the SANFL in four different decades, but also the only grandfather. His 325 games was a club record.
- Barrie Barbary
- Malcolm Blight
- Richard Champion
- Ray Huppatz
- Alan Jakovich
- John Klug
- Romano Negri
- John Roberts
- Bob Simunsen
- South Australian Premiers: 0
- SANFL Night Premiers: 2 - 1972, 1988
- Home Ground: Woodville Oval (1963–90) (SANFL league games)
- Record Attendance at Woodville Oval: 11,026 v Port Adelaide in Round 18, 1986
- Record Attendance: 39,066 v Port Adelaide at Football Park, 1986 SANFL 1st Semi-final
- Most Games: 325 by Ralph Sewer (1969–80, 1984–90)
- Most Goals in a Season: 126 by Malcolm Blight in 1985
- First player to kick 100 goals in an SANFL season: Trevor Pierson (1982 - 104 goals)
- Most Years as Coach: 5 by Malcolm Blight (1983–87)
- Highest Score: 29.11 (185) v West Torrens 23.13 (151) at Thebarton Oval in 1982
- Magarey Medallists: Malcolm Blight in 1972
- SANFL Leading Goalkicker: Glynn Hewitt (1979), Malcolm Blight (1985), Stephen Nichols (1986, 1988)
- South Australian Football Hall of Fame members*: Barrie Barbary (2002), Malcolm Blight (2002), Ralph Sewer (2002), Ray Huppatz (2003), Andrew Rogers (2005), Bob Simunsen (2006), Bill Sanders (2011)