Egils #9 “Inches, Latvian Warhead, Exocet Missile, Touches” Olekalns commenced with ‘the Blacks’ in 1972 and over 15 seasons became one of the Club’s most outstanding players.
Egils’ talent was spotted early as he won the Coach’s Trophy in A1 in 1972, his first season. Egils then won the Dr C.B. Sangster Medal as the Most Improved Player in A1 and the Best in Finals Trophy in A1 in 1973. In the early years of his career he was a wingman, however coach Hoskins spotted another element to his game and from the late 1970’s he became one the premier rovers in the SAAFL.
He won the Tony Brown Memorial Trophy as the Most Outstanding Individual Performance in 1974.
Egils almost made the Gunning Medal his own during the late 1970’s until the mid-1980’s. He won the coveted award in 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983 and was runner-up (the Dr J.B. Day Trophy) in 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1980.
This outstanding record of finishing in the top two in the Best and Fairest in nine out of ten seasons demonstrates both his brilliance and consistency. During this period Egils represented the State in 1975 and from 1978 to 1982 – 10 games in total.
Egils rates the A1 Premierships in 1974 and 1975 as his career highlights. A Football Blue in 1975 recognised his outstanding on-field performances. Egils generally polled well in the Hone Medal and deservedly won it 1979 – an outstanding achievement.
Although quiet by nature, Egils was an inspirational Captain, filling the role effectively in 1980, 1981 and 1982.
After ‘retiring’ in 1985, Egils returned for one last season with the A1 Reserves in 1987 and won the Amateur League’s Tapping Medal with 16 votes – one of only three players to win both A1 and A1 Reserves medals.
When he retired at the end of the 1987 season, Egils had played 275 games, most of these in A1. Amongst these games were 18 Finals – an enviable record.
Not only an elite player, Egils was a great Club member over an extended period. He was Assistant Secretary in 1974 and 1975 and Secretary in 1976. His efforts then moved to the Social Committee where he was Chairman in 1977. Egils won the Outstanding Service trophy in 1976 in recognition of his efforts over many seasons.
Egils Olekalns was elected an Honorary Life Member of the Club in 1986 – one of the true champions of the Adelaide University Football Club.
Hone Medallist and five times Gunning Medallist, Egils Olekalns left an indelible impression on most people who saw him play.
After retiring in 1986, Egils returned to play with good mate Mark Schwartz in the A1 Reserves. In a game against ‘tough nuts’ West Croydon, one of the ‘Hawks’ players (called ‘Sharkey’) recognised the diminutive star and wondered why he was only in the A1 Reserves. Mark Schwartz replied that some of Egils’ social habits were not acceptable to the Management Committee and he had been disciplined accordingly.
The West Croydon player was very impressed that a Uni player could misbehave to such an extent and Egils grew in stature in his eyes.