Tracey McGrath had an unfortunate life that ended in tragic circumstances. Fleetingly a Norwood team-mate of his stalwart older brother 'Paddy', he made a promising debut as forward flanker against the weak Hotham team on 4 June 1887. Two weeks later he again gained selection, along with St Peter's College lads Ossie Bertram and Jack Holbrook. He kicked a goal as Norwood thumped lowly West Adelaide 8.21 to 1.1 at Adelaide Oval in a round where umpires used whistles for the first time in South Australia.
While Bertram and Holbrook went on to bigger things, it was all downhill for McGrath. Born at Somerton Park on 5 September 1869, he grew up in a tough environment. Early in 1887, the family home in Glyde Street, North Kensington, was damaged by fire and his aunt, who not long before had been evicted by his father, Dennis, was charged with arson.
In May 1887, the McGrath father and son were both fined for the use of indecent language on Norwood Parade. Early in 1895, Tracey suffered severe cuts to his face when attacked by a man wielding a glass.
On 18 March 1912 he was sentenced to 14 days in prison for drunkenness. He was found hanged in his Adelaide Gaol cell on 25 March. He was 42.
P Robins July 2017