Noted for magnificent dashes around the wing, Victor Le Cornu suffered the twin misfortunes of playing at a time when Norwood languished in the doldrums and World War I crushed football careers.
Norwood sat at the bottom of the ladder in Victor’s four years with the club, though he could hardly be blamed for that. Indeed, he won the trophy for best junior in the testing season of 1913. He kicked a goal on debut. Norwood got the worst of the umpiring that day but did surprisingly well against powerful West Adelaide before going down fighting, 5.16 to 5.10.
Victor and the new West captain, Dick Head, were involved in an incident when the teams met again, at the Jubilee Oval on 28 June. The Journal reported that umpire Bill Abernethy had a bad day. “One decision was so peculiar that he was loudly hooted by all sections of the crowd. Head and Le Cornu went for a mark. The westerner was some yards in front of the redleg, who stood with his arms upraised. Head ran back and collided with Le Cornu, who was knocked over. The umpire promptly awarded a free to Head, and Le Cornu threw the ball at the red and black. The action caused the umpire and steward to caution the offender. The episode drew shouts of disapproval from the spectators. Even Head seemed surprised at having been awarded a free.”
Victor left the field with an ankle injury in the third quarter of that match but returned after “lemons”. Norwood, however, succumbed by 10 points, 7.17 to8.7, leaving it winless after six matches. At the end of the season The Advertiser noted that Norwood had suffered severely from ankle injuries, with not only Le Cornu but also captain Vic Stephens, Beasley Kearney and Sid White each sidelined for a month.
World War I cost Victor three valuable seasons. When football resumed in 1919, the one-time crowd favourite made up the numbers for the first couple of matches and then called it a day.
Born in Adelaide on 24 May 1891 to Philip Le Cornu and his wife Jane, née Martin, Victor had one younger brother, Harold. Victor married Beatrice Latta at Norwood in 1914. They had three daughters, Phyllis, Thelma,and Yvonne. A salesman, Victor died on 11 September 1978 at the age of 87.
P Robins, D Cox February 2021