McDonald’s name first appears in newspaper reports when he was named in the Norwood side that defeated West Adelaide 5.8 to 4.5 at the Jubilee Oval on Saturday 29th July 1899. He later lined up for the game against West Torrens on 26th August 1899 on Jubilee Oval, won by Norwood 4.15 to 3.7
The following week Norwood played league leaders South Adelaide on Friday 1st September 1899 at Adelaide, for what was scheduled as the final game of the season. However Norwood’s victory, 7.11 to 5.2, placed it as equal leader with South on the premiership ladder. One report on the game made reference to McDonald as one
“who got an exceedingly lucky shot home” (Adelaide Observer 9 Sept 1899 p12)
McDonald’s “lucky shot” may have been instrumental in Norwood progressing to the deciding match, played on the following Monday, 11th September at Adelaide Oval with South winning the game, 5.12 to 2.2 - and the 1899 premiership.
In 1900 McDonald was selected for two games towards the end of the season when Norwood defeated North Adelaide 11.7 to 8.6 on the 28th July at the Jubilee Oval and then lost to South at the Jubilee Oval 6.4 to 4.6 on the 4th August.
McDonald did not play in the remaining games against Port Adelaide (won by Norwood 3.4 to 3.2 ) or South Adelaide (lost by Norwood 3.10 to 1.8). Norwood’s last game was a play-off match against West Torrens to decide who played North to decide the premiership. Norwood lost 4.1 to 1.11 on 1st September at Adelaide and thus finished the season in third position.
In May 1901 R McDonald was given a permit by the SA Football Association to play for West Torrens but newspaper reports do not indicate if this was the one and same Norwood player.
W Heading July 2022