Insight into the golden era of South Australian club football
bran and got the same effect,” he grins. “Patto was tough. He came from Richmond, a very powerful side where you had to earn your keep – and he made sure we earnt ours.
“He came with a big reputation, and didn’t let himself down in any way, shape or form.”
Patterson also brought with him to Prospect Oval a legacy that lives on today, and will be on display in the Roosters’ semi-final clash with Sturt at Adelaide Oval.
The club’s red and white colours had been worn in varying combinations on guernseys across the decades, including a white “V” that dropped from the shoulder line. Patterson, in a nod to his Victorian heritage, tweaked the “V” so that it resembled his home state’s famous “Big V” uniform.
“Psychological? It was to make the team look and feel stronger, and to make the opposition aware of them,” Hammond says.
“I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the current North Adelaide side is wearing that ‘V’.”
North Adelaide, under Patterson, beat Port Adelaide in each of the 1971 and ’72 grand finals before losing the 1973 decider to Glenelg.
Hammond was 31 at the end of that season, and was again focused on his young family’s security and life after football.
He accepted a position as export manager with a furniture company – a role that was to involve regular visits to Japan.
But a shock offer from Norwood to coach the Redlegs in the 1974 season was enough to keep him in SA football. It also served as an unexpected spark to his storied post-playing career.
The dual premiership reign that followed at Norwood forever enshrines Hammond as a pillar in the Redlegs’ proud history.
“We who played and coached in that era did so, I think, in the best period of SA football,” Hammond says.
“Whatever part you played – significant or insignificant – you could feel proud of where football was at that time.”
HAMMOND, along with inaugural Crows chief executive Bill Sanders, was central to building the Adelaide Football Club as SA was elevated to the AFL for the first time in the 1991 season.
SANFL traditionalists will argue Adelaide’s arrival was a death blow for the “old” SANFL – that the start-up club pillaged its best local players and irreversibly forced fans’ focus off the competition.
Hammond acknowledges the complaints, but insists the move was one of several brave calls that ensured a bright future for SA football.
“In my lifetime, the two most significant football decisions were the building of Football Park and then its demolition,” he says.
“I was on the AFL Commission when that decision was made (to upgrade Adelaide Oval and relocate AFL matches from Football Park).
“It cost me some casual friends who couldn’t see beyond what they were used to.
“Now, I won’t be smart and say I envisaged what it is today – but I certainly envisaged it to be stronger than the consensus was.”
Hammond will today be watching intently on TV when North faces Sturt in their knockout final, before Norwood takes on the Eagles for a shortcut to the grand final. He prefers the comfort of home over the crush of crowds as he continues his 10year fight with prostate cancer, now bolstered by pioneering treatment. “The football that was played last Sunday was of a fine standard,” Hammond says. “It appears to me that those playing now are playing just as hard as we did, and that’s great recognition for the hard work that has gone in. “(The SANFL) went down because the sides were gutted (by establishing SA’s two AFL teams) and it’s taken a couple of decades to bring it back to the level it is now. “But I watched the four teams last week and all of them should be proud of what they’re doing.”
WINNERS: SA football great Bob Hammond (left); North Adelaide’s 1972 Champions of Australia side (above); and Hammond hugs Norwood player Mike Poulter after the Redlegs’ victory over Glenelg in the 1975 grand final (below)
FLYING HIGH: Coach Hammond raises his arms in triumph after Norwood wins the 1978 grand final.