The North Adelaide Football Club was born in 1893, when the Medindie Football Club, known as the "Dingoes", changed its name. This made North Adelaide the fourth-oldest, continuously-operating club in the SANFL competition.
The Medindie Football Club had joined the South Australian Football Association (now more commonly known as the South Australian National Football League) in 1888 and played in the Red and White colours which have continued on to this present day. Although there were numerous other clubs that used the name of "North Adelaide", none of them bore ties to the current club.
Led by the great Australian fast-bowler, Ernie Jones, and wearing its eye-catching, diagonally-striped, red & white lace-up jackets, North Adelaide won its first premiership. Other stars in this historic team were Jack (Dinnie) Reedman, Norman Claxton & the Pash brothers, Harold & Norman.
North Adelaide produced its first Magarey Medallist in teenager, Philip (Phil) Sandland.
North Adelaide won its second premiership. Captained by the champion, all-round sportsman Jack (Dinnie) Reedman, North played and comfortably defeated South Adelaide in the Grand Final after a sensational disqualification of Port Adelaide had occurred prior to a Port vs South final (when Port refused to play their match under the appointed umpire).
Anthony (Bos) Daly (previously Norwood & Torrens) topped the goal-kicking with 54 goals.
North Adelaide won its third premiership by emphatically beating Port Adelaide 6.8 to 1.6 - a 32-point drubbing. Captain of the side was again Jack Reedman. Port kicked its only goal for the match in the first quarter and was then kept goal-less for the last three quarters. Port Adelaide's 1.6 gave it the dubious distinction of having kicked the lowest ever score in a Grand Final. Tom McKenzie of North Adelaide won his second Magarey Medal - having previously won it in 1902 when playing for West Torrens. (Bos) Daly of North was equal top goal-kicker (with Mathieson of Port) for the season with 30 goals. North thus achieved the rare distinction of a Premiership, the Magarey Medallist and the top goal-kicker in the one season - an achievement it repeated in 1987.
Tom McKenzie won his third Magarey Medal - the first of an elite group of triple medallists: Dan Moriarty, Len Fitzgerald, Lindsay Head, Barrie Robran and Russell Ebert (4) and James Allan being the others.
Tom Leahy, the 'Prince of Ruckmen' won the 1913 Magarey Medal. He had been runner-up on three previous occasions - 1908, 1909 and 1911.
North drew the final against Torrens but won the replay by 5 points. Under the rules of the day Sturt, as Minor Premiers, had the right to challenge the winner of the Final (North) if it didn't win the Final itself. In the Challenge Final, North drew with Sturt, 5.9 apiece but the replay saw Sturt victorious by 5 points.
After a period of fifteen years and having gone agonisingly close to the premiership in 1919, North won its fourth title. In an era of consistently low scores (by modern comparison), North had twenty-four scoring shots in its 48-point thrashing of Norwood, 9.15 to 3.3. Captained by the venerable Tom Leahy, this season was the first one in which North had a coach - Alby Klose.
The 1922 season was the first in which North Adelaide played its home matches at Prospect Oval. In a season in which it won only six of its fourteen games, North won the first game it played at Prospect (Round 1, 6 May) by defeating Glenelg 12-11 to 9-4.
Plans had been drawn up in 1919 by Prospect Council and during 1921, the NAFC signed a five-year agreement with the Council to use the oval for its home games.
Coached by club stalwart and former star player Percy Lewis and captained by Jim McDowall, North Adelaide won fourteen of its seventeen games and finished Minor Premiers. In the semi-finals, Port defeated Norwood and Sturt, surprisingly, beat North (without prominent forward Ken Farmer). The Final resulted in a comfortable victory to Port Adelaide. However, in the Challenge Final, the best team of the season, North, won its fifth premiership by narrowly accounting for Port Adelaide 9.13 to 9.9. Farmer finished with 105 goals for the season, the first player to kick 100 goals in a league season. This was the last year in which the challenge system was used.
North Adelaide, third on the premiership table at the end of the minor round, won 'Back-to-back' premierships by successively defeating Norwood in the 1st Semi-final by 31 pts, Port in the (Preliminary) Final by 55 pts and Sturt in the Grand Final by 38 pts under the new Page System of playing finals. Coached by the great Percy Lewis, captained by champion Percy Furler (playing his 150th game) and with Farmer kicking six goals to bring his season tally to 126 (and a new Australian record), North proved beyond any doubt to be again the outstanding side.
North finished Minor Premiers but lost the Grand Final to Sturt. Farmer kicked 102 goals.
Harold (Dribbler) Hawke was awarded the Magarey Medal.
Jeff Pash became another Magarey Medallist from North Adelaide (its sixth medal, from five players).
For the eleventh season in a row, Ken Farmer, the greatest full-forward the game has seen, kicked in excess of 100 goals in a season. In 224 games over 13 seasons he averaged 6.33 goals per game.
Centre-half back, Ronald (Ron) Phillips won the Magarey Medal and NAFC's Best and Fairest.
15 seasons after its last premiership, North won its seventh premiership by defeating West Torrens 13.17 to 9.18. It was the first time (in three meetings) that North had beaten Torrens for the season and ended an 11-game winning sequence by that club against North. Coach Ken Farmer achieved the ultimate success - a premiership in his first year. Ron Phillips won his second Magarey Medal and NAFC Best & Fairest - this time at centre-half forward.
The Magarey Medal was won by Club Captain Ian McKay - the first full back to achieve this honour - the ninth Magarey Medal to have been awarded to North Adelaide players.
North won its eighth premiership by 'slaughtering' Norwood - 23.15 to 6.9. The margin of 108 points persisted as a record for fifty-two years. Eleven of North's team scored goals in a veritable 'feast' in which it kicked eight goals in the second quarter, eleven goals to Norwood's three in the first half and twelve goals to three in the last half. The match was made especially memorable by Captain Ian McKay's world-famous mark in the last quarter (when he put himself briefly into ruck from full back) followed by a 60 yard (55 metre) screw-punt goal. In his four years as league coach, Ken Farmer took North to two premierships and a runner-up.
Ian McKay, North's longest serving captain (eight seasons), retired at the end of this season after 164 games in 10 years.
North won its ninth premiership by defeating Norwood in a thrilling match with the scores close throughout - the margins at each break in favour of North were 9 pts, 7 pts, 4 pts and 5 pts. The final scores were 14.11 to 13.12. Rover Barry Potts kicked seven goals. Jack McCarthy and Don Gilbourne were in their first seasons as coach and captain, respectively. For Gilbourne, it was his third pennant. Barrie Barbary became the Club's eighth winner of the Magarey Medal for a club total of ten medals.
Outstanding centre-half forward, Don Lindner, had the first of his four years as captain-coach (achieving runner-up status for North in his first season) followed by three more years as captain under ex-Port star Geof Motley as coach.
Don Lindner tied with Trevor Obst (PA) for the 1967 Magarey Medal but lost on a count-back. This anomalous policy was rectified in 1998 and Lindner rightfully received his Medal, retrospectively.
In an unusual parallel, Barrie Robran tied with Don Lindner for the 1967 NAFC Best and Fairest Award but lost on a count-back. The Club altered its policy in 2003 and Robran received his Medal.
Lindner in action
Robran flies high.
Barrie Robran (the state's greatest-ever player and one of the best in Australia) won the first of his three Magarey Medals - the ninth North Adelaide player to do so. The nickname 'Roosters' increasingly usurped the previously used 'Red n Whites' or 'Cock o' the North'.
Michael Patterson, ex-Richmond star, had the first of eight seasons as league coach (the first three as captain-coach). Barrie Robran earned his second Magarey Medal.
With Mike Patterson in his second year as coach and Barrie Robran excelling, North achieved its tenth SANFL premiership with a convincing victory over Port Adelaide in the Grand Final. Most remarkably, Port was kept goalless in the first half and the final scores 10.19 to 9.5 do not adequately reflect North's dominance for 85% of the day (more adequately demonstrated by having 29 scoring shots to 14; Port had a seven-goal burst late in the final quarter). North Adelaide acquitted themselves very well in the Champions of Australia match against VFL Premiers, Hawthorn, losing narrowly.
In winning its 11th SANFL Premiership, North achieved 'back-to-back' premierships for the second time in its history - the other being 1930-31. After beating Port by 21 pts in the Second Semi-final, they gave the Magpies a real hiding in the Grand Final, 19.14 to 10.12 - a margin of 56 points. With the mercurial Robran displaying all his wizardry and Dennis Sachse kicking six goals, North dominated all over the ground, kicking 14.8 to 4.4 in the last half. This 'Flag' was acting-captain Bob Hammond's third - 1960, 1971 & 1972.
North's great form continued throughout the following week in the competition between the premier sides of three of the four states - North Adelaide (SA), City-South (Tas), Carlton (Vic) - with East Fremantle (WA) the fourth team in the competition. After achieving its greatest ever accomplishment by defeating Carlton in a thrilling Championship Final at Adelaide Oval, North Adelaide was crowned 'Champions of Australia'.
In a heart-breaking finish to one of the best Grand Finals ever, North just lost to Glenelg in the last Grand Final to be played at the beautiful Adelaide Oval. Barrie Robran was again the SANFL's 'Fairest and Most Brilliant' Player for the season and awarded his third Magarey Medal (the Club's thirteenth). It was also Robran's seventh successive year as the Club's Best & Fairest player (although the 1967 award, when he tied with Don Lindner and lost on a count-back, has been made retrospectively). Dennis Sachse became the second North player to kick in excess of 100 goals in a season.
On 4th May, North had the honour, along with Central Districts, of playing the first match at Football Park - the new headquarters of football in SA. Barrie Robran was appointed Captain of the SA state side and, in his second match, playing against 'the Vics' on the Sydney Cricket Ground, suffered a career-altering knee injury following a wilful and avoidable charge by Victorian rover Leigh Matthews.
With great optimism, NAFC appointed Barrie Robran as coach, only to finish bottom of the competition - the first time since 1912.
Despite the team not reaching any great heights on the premiership table, the North players responded to a Port Adelaide 122-point thrashing to create a significant victory against Sturt in Round 10 by 50 points The victory was even sweeter as it was Barrie Robran's 200th Official game. It was a stirring match filled with emotion as the whole side played above themselves for their great captain.
Michael Nunan became coach and instituted radical reforms throughout the Club but without achieving significant on-field success until his 5th - 7th seasons - 2nd, 2nd and top, respectively, after having finished Minor Premiers each year. Nunan was coach for twelve successive seasons.
Anthony (Tony) Antrobus won this year's Magarey Medal - North's tenth medallist. Grenville Dietrich kicked 109 goals (in premiership matches) but finished behind Davies (Sturt - 151). A similar result occurred in 1984 with Dietrich kicking 101 goals but was again beaten for the Ken Farmer Medal as top SANFL goal-kicker by Evans (Port - 127).
North surprised the football world by defeating Melbourne at Football Park and Collingwood on a wet VFL Park to reach the Semi-Finals of the Foster's Cup competition.
With Mike Nunan coaching and two unsuccessful grand final appearances in the two previous years, North removed the monkey off its back and won its twelfth premiership. Captained by Darel Hart, it thrashed head-hunting Glenelg, its nemesis of the previous two seasons, by a whopping 82 points - 23.7 to 9.9. At half-time the scores were: North - 11.4 to Glenelg - 1.5. With Andrew Jarman winning the Magarey Medal, John Roberts the Ken Farmer Medal (for highest goal tally kicked by a player to the end of the minor round) and Mike Parsons (six goals) the Jack Oatey Medal (for best on ground in the Grand Final), the North Adelaide Football Club completed, arguably, its most successful season. Roberts finished the season with 111 goals and became North's fourth century goal-kicker. Jarman became North's 11th to win the 'Magarey' and brought the total medals won by North players to fifteen.
Again North finished Minor Premiers under Nunan but failed dismally in the GF kicking only 1.8 to Port's 15.18. This result was nearly as bad as Port Adelaide's 1.6 when losing the 1905 Grand Final to North Adelaide.
With Mike Nunan still at the helm, North won its thirteenth premiership in a quite vicious Grand Final, more than doubling West Adelaide's 11.7 by kicking 21.22 - a 75-point victory to the Roosters. North had 23 scoring shots to West's eight in the second half. Kim Klomp was North's Captain and Darel Hart, who kicked seven goals, won the Jack Oatey Medal for best on ground. North showed the benefit of not being intimidated by West's focus on the player rather than the ball which resulted in a record number of players being reported for a Grand Final.
Darel Hart was appointed Coach. Brenton Phillips won the Magarey Medal, the 12th North player to do so. Champion Ruckman Mick Redden retired after 16 seasons (starting in 1978) and 334 premiership games - the most games played by a North Adelaide player.
Michael Flynn became Coach. Joshua (Josh) Francou became North's latest (13th) recipient of the Magarey Medal. A total of 17 medals have been won by players representing NAFC. Barrie Robran was one of 136 inaugural Members inducted into the AFL's Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Chris McDermott was appointed coach but achieved only limited success during his four-season stint.
Don Lindner was retrospectively awarded the 1967 Magarey Medal, which he originally lost in a count-back to Trevor Obst. Lindner became the 14th NAFC player to win a Magarey Medal and brought the Club representative total medals to 18.
After a stint as Assistant-coach with the Adelaide Football Club, Darel Hart was re-appointed as league Coach. Barrie Robran was elevated to Legend Status of the AFL and is still the only player holding this status who never played VFL or AFL football.
Under Hart, North finished bottom for the sixth time in its history - the other years (with the number of teams in brackets) were: 1999 (9), 1978 (10), 1912 (7), 1899 (6) and 1894 (4) - and with its worst-ever success rate in the SANFL of only one win and two draws for the season. Hart agreed to stand down and Duane Massey, Reserves Coach, took over the League coaching position for the last 6 matches of the season.
Former Club star, Andrew Jarman - 1985 & 1989 Club Best & Fairest and 1987 Magarey Medallist - became the Club's 29th different, appointed coach since the first in 1920. Jarman turned the playing fortunes of the team around by the force of his passion and the confidence he instilled in those around him. The remarkable result was that the Club played in the finals, winning the elimination final before losing the First Semi-Final and signalling a new era of success for the Club.
A personal performance of note was by full-forward Daniel Hargraves who, during the season, became only the fifth North player to kick over 300 career goals. He follows in the goal-kicking footsteps of Farmer, Dietrich, Sachse and Rodney Robran, the others to achieve this feat.
After finishing 2nd at the end of the minor round North contested the finals for the 3rd consecutive year, only to fall short by 7 points against eventual Premier Woodville-West Torrens in the preliminary final. The Reserves achieved back to back premierships, thrashing Norwood by 97 points in the Grand Final.
The NAFC was named Club of the Year by the SANFL and also won the Stanley H. Lewis trophy for the second successive year as the best performed SANFL club through all grades.
Once again North contested the finals, this time defeating Woodville West Torrens in the preliminary final to participate in its first Grand Final since 1991. Central District however were too good on the day, defeating North by 65 points, 16.11 (107) to 5.12 (42).
After a sensational debut season, VFL import James (Jimmy) Allan became the 15th North Adelaide footballer to win the Magarey Medal - the Club's 19th.
Tim Delvins was also successful in winning the Reserves Magarey Medal and the North U/17's capped off a great year for the club by defeating Port Adelaide in the Grand Final to claim the premiership.
After contesting the Grand Final in 2007, 2008 was a year of disappointment as the club finished in 7th place with 9 wins. After 5 seasons as senior coach Andrew Jarman’s tenure was ended. The Club mourned the sudden loss of club legend and 1967 Magarey Medallist Don Lindner who passed away on New Years Eve.
Former Central District premiership captain Daniel Healy was appointed as the senior coach of the North Adelaide Football Club. North contested the elimination final against Woodville West Torrens but unfortunately just fell short in a close contest losing by 11 points.
Rhys Archard capped off a great year personally by becoming the 16th NAFC player to win the Magarey Medal, the club’s 20th. Hot favourite James Allan was a very unlucky runner up losing the award by 1 vote.
Rhys Archard with his 2009 Magarey Medal.
High expectation ended in disappointment as North Adelaide finished in 7th position at the end of the minor round. James “Jimmy” Allan had yet another brilliant season and was a most deserving winner of his 2nd Magarey Medal. James also collected the Barrie Robran medal for the 4th consecutive season by winning the club champion trophy.
The North Adelaide under 16’s gave some joy to the club by claiming the premiership, defeating Glenelg in the Grand Final. League coach Daniel Healy and North Adelaide parted company at the conclusion of the 2010 season.
James Allan with his 2010 Magarey Medal
Former North Adelaide and Port Power star, Josh Francou, was appointed as the new senior coach. North had a much more competitive season but ultimately finished second last after losing 8 matches by 12 points or less.
After another stellar season, James Allan won his third Magarey Medal and our under 16’s made it back-to-back success when they won the 2011 premiership.
For most of the season, North were frustratingly inconsistent and after 16 rounds had only 5 wins from 13 matches. However, five wins from the last 7 games was enough to secure a finals spot for the first time in three years. North showed that they were beginning to assert themselves as a force in the competition when they eliminated the Eagles and then reigning premier Central District before losing the preliminary final to West Adelaide.
James Allan and Clint Alleway retired at the end of the season.