Being a three times premiership player, including one as captain, is sufficient evidence to warrant Graham Charles Barnes a special place in the history of the Norwood Football Club.
Barnes is best described as a tough, resolute defender and played the majority of his football on a half back flank, including six games for South Australia.
“Like a stone wall.” “Battling like a Trojan.” “Played valiantly,” are some of the ways he was described by contemporary reporters.
Perhaps the best description came in his last season in a game against North Adelaide. “Barnes was always reliable and did exactly the right thing at many a critical moment.”
He certainly had that big match temperament as he appeared high up in the best player lists in the 1901 Grand Final, the 1907 Champions of Australia game against Carlton and for South Australia when they defeated Victoria at the Adelaide Oval in 1901.
Barnes was highly skilled, a great reader of the play but also tough - very tough, which may explain how he gained the nickname, “Squasher.”
In his first season as captain after a game against North Adelaide this appeared in the Advertiser; “Barnes threw N. Pash so violently that the latter had to be carried from the field and medical assistance summoned.”
He played his last game against West Adelaide in a semi-final. Barnes was again in the best players but disappointingly the game ended with a Norwood loss.
B Ridge Nov 2013