Tommy Fallon came to Norwood in the footsteps of Bob Wilson, his main rival as the outstanding Strathalbyn footballer of the era. A small but fast goalsneak, Tommy made his mark in the first match between combined teams from the North and the South of the colony, played at Adelaide Oval on 25 June 1892. Tom kicked five goals as South took the honours, 9.5 to 3.8, and must have impressed the honorary umpire, Norwood veteran 'Topsy' Waldron. Tom's Strathalbyn mate, follower Bob Wilson, made the best players and already was well known to Waldron as a fellow Norwood premiership player in 1889 and 1891.
Tommy also represented South against North in 1893 and 1894. He may have been the Fallon who played with Adelaide in 1887 and Medindie in 1888.
He made his Norwood debut against Port Adelaide on 5 May 1894. Although astray with his sharpshooting, he played a valuable role in the 7.11 to 5.5 victory. 'Goalpost' wrote in The Adelaide Observer: "Forward Bos Daly, (Percy) Stuart and Fallon put in any amount of useful work. The champion kicker got a start with five goals. This in great measure was due to the way Stuart and Fallon played to him. These three 'little uns' are no babies in the game, and have heaps of pluck."
Despite his promising start, Tommy did not consolidate his place in the team. He returned to play with Strathalbyn and missed out on Norwood's successful push to the 1894 premiership.
In his long sporting career at Strathalbyn, where he spent most of his life, he served as captain of both football and cricket. In 1914, after several years out of the game, he returned as captain of the struggling football team and showed dash on the wing although in his early 40s.
An old Strathalbyn resident, Teddy Hocking, looking back in 1940, said: "I debated in my mind whether Tommy Fallon or Bob Wilson was the greatest footballer who had ever donned the local red and white. I leave it to 'the judge'."
Tommy Fallon took his name from his father, the proprietor of the Terminus Hotel at Strathalbyn. Tommy married Ethel Wallis and they lived at their local property, Ellimatta. He was 75 when he died on 23 August 1947, survived by his widow, daughter Daphne (Mrs F. C. Lines) and grandchildren Tony and Bronte
* Picture kindly supplied by Michael Grambeau, secretary of the Strathalbyn National Trust
P Robins Feb 2018