HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Stanley Robert NOWOTNY
|Date of Birth||6th September 1950|
Games 285 (Swan Districts 278, Western Australia 7)
Goals 100 (Swan Districts 100, Western Australia 0)
Honours: Swan Districts Premiership Player 1982, 1983; Swan Districts Fairest and Best 1974; Sandover Medal Runner up 1974, 1975; Swan Districts Captain 1977-1981; Swan Districts Team of the Century
The roar that erupted from Subiaco Oval when Stan Nowotny entered the playing arena early in the second quarter of the 1983 Grand Final was an extraordinary testament to the respect and esteem held for this brilliant competitor and magnificent club man. It also inspired his teammates to ensure that Nowotny finished his 278th and final game with a premiership medallion, and the lasting memory of team success, the commodity he valued so highly.
Stan Nowotny was the archetypal utility player. Commencing as a tough and relentless half bank flanker, a position in which he first won state selection and twice placed runner up for the Sandover Medal, Nowotny was then converted into a lively and highly dependable ruck rover before finally filling the role of robust and creative key forward, again with such good effect that state selection ensued. His physical strength, hard running ability, and courage, ensured that Nowotny could adapt to all these roles and contribute outstandingly to team success as both a player and a leader.
Stanley Robert Nowotny was born at the old Hawthorn Hospital on the corner of Woodstock and Flinders Streets, Mt Hawthorn but it was growing up in Margaret Street, Ashfield where his passion for Australian Rules Football began. He moved through the grades at Ashfield Junior Football Club and made the logical progression to Swan Districts in 1968 where he played the season in the Fourths competition. Nowotnys game may have lacked the polish of some, but he was fast and vigorous and gave his opponent no latitude. With these traits and his dedication to improve on display he made his league debut against East Perth in Round 4, 1969. For several seasons he was a mainstay on the half back line although a broken leg finished his 1971 season after only 6 games. From the beginning of 1972 to the end of 1976 he seldom missed a game and won state selection in 1974 and 1975 and also surprised some with successive runner-up Sandover Medal placings in those seasons.
At the end of 1976, Stan Nowotny was hit by his second major injury – a troublesome groin strain - and he made only spasmodic appearances in league football in 1977. The injury threatened to end his career but with his trademark dedication, Nowotny fought his way back to fitness with hours of relentless rehabilitation and eventually regained top form in 1978 playing state football and 19 of 21 club games. John Todd, who had taken over as Swans coach in 1977, saw in Stan the qualities of strength and stamina necessary for ruck roving and his career blossomed in this new role. Nowotny gave Swans added strength and life on the ball and he was again rewarded with State selection and finished in fifth place in the 1979 Sandover Medal count. Further experimentation as a centre half forward followed and it was in this third position that Nowotny represented the State in 1980.
As club captain for 5 seasons, Stan Nowotny was a key player in Swans rise from the bottom with just 3 wins in his first season in the role (1977) to contesting the Grand Final in his fourth (1980). Unfortunately a left thigh strain incurred at training forced him to watch that game from the sidelines as a young Swans team was humbled by a powerful South Fremantle. Stan had played every game that season until Round 21 and survived a plane crash landing in Esperance mid-season, but two different injuries (right knee then left thigh) saw him miss 4 of the last 5 games including the premiership decider. Despite stepping aside as captain in 1982, Stan remained an inspiration in Swans quest to break a 2 decade premiership drought and this was finally broken when they ground out hard fought victories over Claremont in both the second semi and grand finals of 1982. Nowotny was in the engine room in these victories and was again a solid contributor throughout the premiership defence in 1983. After missing only one game during the season however, Stan became the subject of a controversial move when dropped for the preliminary final. Although he was still contributing well, coach Todd felt that the team needed additional motivation to win through to the grand final. A strong win over East Perth in the final justified the move and gained for Stan the final successful flag opportunity.
After retiring from league football, Stan Nowotny served as a selector for the West Australian Teal Cup team and after settling in Mandurah, he continued his football involvement by coaching Mandurah in the Sunday League (1991) and Waroona in the Peel league (1993). He otherwise enjoyed windsurfing and boating but retains a strong connection to his old club, premiership reunions being a highlight.
Rare players set such an impressive standard for desperation, dedication and courage as Stan Nowotny and there were many games where his inspiration lifted the team to a match winning result. He can now add Inductee, West Australian Football Hall of Fame to an impressive football CV.