Billy Carroll, a rover, was rated one of the best players in Victoria when he visited Adelaide as a member of the North Melbourne team in 1889.
North Melbourne had little trouble in disposing of South Adelaide and Adelaide, but atrocious kicking for goal cost it dearly against Norwood in a match before 6,000 spectators in splendid weather at Adelaide Oval on 6 July. With behinds not counting in those days, Norwood won 4.3 to 3.16 despite the visitors' superiority in most facets of the game.
Billy was his team's standout player. Norwood must have impressed him enough to entice him from North Melbourne, where he kicked 47 goals between 1886 and 1892. The Advertiser of 15 May 1893 referred to "Carroll, the North Melbournite, wearing the red and blue for the first time" as Norwood belted North Adelaide, 21.11 to 1.2.
Selected as a follower for the intercolonial match against Victoria at Adelaide Oval on 10 June, "Carroll for three quarters was a failure", according to The Evening Journal scribe 'Goalpost'. South Australia, under the leadership of Norwood captain 'Nug' Plunkett, lost that match 4.7 to 2.9 after Port Adelaide players went on a jaunt to Melbourne instead.
As the 1894 season approached its climax, Norwood defeated Port by a goal for the right to meet South Adelaide for the premiership. It was a tough game. The Express and Telegraph said: "Munyard, of the Ports, afforded a far from edifying spectacle in front of the pavilion, which was filled with ladies, by deliberately striking Carroll of the Norwoods. Although a player came between the two the Portonian repeated the offence and made the claret flow."
Billy was Norwood's hero and best player against South a week later. He kicked a magnificent goal which gave Norwood the momentum to come from behind and match South's score of 4.8, necessitating a replay. 'Onlooker' in The Express and Telegraph said: "Carroll at some periods has been a sore disappointment, while on other occasions he has put in some splendid work, and last Saturday saw him develop into a goalkicker." In the replay, Norwood clinched the premiership with a tense 4.7 to 3.5 victory in slippery conditions before 9,000 spectators at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 10 October.
That was Billy's only premiership as Norwood entered a dark period, but he remained a solid player until his retirement in 1898.
On 28 April 1895, Billy and his wife Mary Ann (O'Shannassy), mourned the loss of their only child, Mary Marguerite, who was just 10 weeks old
P Robins Dec 2018