Norman Miller was a promising young forward who played two league seasons before his career was cut short by injury and the outbreak of World War I.
One of three brothers who wore the red and blue of the Kent Town Ramblers, he played three senior games with Norwood in 1913 and five in 1914. His older brother Don was a resolute Redleg defender in 1915 and 1919.
Norman and Don were among the best players when the Kent Town Ramblers made it two premierships in a row with the 3.6 to 0.5 defeat of Norwood Union in the Adelaide and Suburban junior association in 1912. Norman was the competition’s top goalkicker with a tally of 24. He and Don both appeared with Norwood II during the season.
Norman “piloted a goal” in his league debut against West Torrens in 1913 and The Daily Herald said he “well earned his place”. With both teams seeking their first win of the season, Norwood was most unlucky to go down by five points, 9.11 to 8.12, hitting the post twice in the last quarter and losing the lead after the imposition of “an undeserved free kick”. Norwood was often competitive but finished bottom that year and in the following three seasons.
Norman kicked four goals in Norwood’s 8.14 to 6.7 defeat of West Adelaide before 5,000 onlookers at Norwood Oval in the opening game of 1914. The Mail referred to him as “the junior who gave such promise at the end of last season” and Sport said “Miller was a great success forward”. A week later he kicked three goals as Norwood thumped Torrens 11.12 to 4.9 at Adelaide Oval. Sport said: “Young fellows like Packham, White, Miller, & c, born and bred in the district have the game at heart, and think only of winning matches for the ‘good old red and blue’.”
Norwood lost its next eight league matches but, as war broke out, had better success in Western Australia early in August, beating the top team, East Fremantle, 7.13 to 7.10, and North Fremantle, 8.19 to 4.9, before bad goalkicking cost it victory against a Combined WA side, which won 12.8 to 8.19. Norman took no part in these games. He broke a collarbone at training in Perth and finished at Norwood after the opening game of the Patriotic Competition in 1916.
[It does appear that the ‘P. Miller’ who is named in a handful of club and newspaper reports in 1914 was in fact Norman Miller. Research has uncovered no P. Miller who fits the context.]
Born at Golden Grove on 9 December 1891 to Thomas and Anna Miller, Norman had siblings Harold Donald, Agnes and Alfred. He married Eliza Camplin at Marryatville in 1915 and was only 29 when he died on 21 February 1921.
P. Robins, M. Coligan, D Cox December 2021