Lameroo farmer Dick Nairn was exerting a solid impact as a Norwood defender when a bout of influenza ended his season just before the 1933 finals. Under new coach Alec Lill, Norwood finished runner-up to West Torrens.
Dick made his league debut on a half-back flank in an exciting match against South Adelaide at Norwood Oval midway through the season. The South team was still in the dressing room when umpire G. R. Allen bounced the ball to start the second half. Norwood wingman Bill Medlen casually took the ball forward and, to the amusement of the crowd, goaled from close range with a place-kick. The incident rattled the visitors and very likely was the decisive factor in Norwood’s eight-point win. ‘Diddy’ Munro kicked 10 goals for South before Fred McCallum sealed victory 16.16 to 15.14 with a late goal.
Dick’s strong defence turned back several attacks at Alberton Oval on 24 June, but two goals in the last 70 seconds enabled Port Adelaide to snatch an unlikely nine-point win, 13.18 to 13.9.
After North Adelaide beat Norwood 13.17 to 11.14 at Prospect Oval on 1 July, The Mail football writer Steve McKee said: “Nairn showed an improvement when transferred to centre half-back after half-time that suggests he will permanently be in that position.” He stayed there for the next three matches. When Norwood beat Sturt 16.12 to 13.17 at Norwood Oval on 22 July, McKee wrote: “The backline was as sound as a bell with H. Page, Nairn and Curyer outstanding.”
Norwood then lost to Torrens 17.10 to 12.16 at Thebarton Oval and the following week Dick found himself on a half-back flank for what would be his finale. He made some good saves as Norwood overcame West Adelaide by 13 points, 16.7 to 13.12. He was named in the team for the next game, against Glenelg, but pulled out with the ‘flu.
Dick remained a prominent country footballer. He was captain of the Wilkawatt premiership team in 1939. He was named best player and kicked three goals as Wilkawatt defeated United 10.12 to 8.15. Also in 1939 he was vice-captain of the Lameroo representative team which played the River Murray Football Association.
Born at Grace Plains on 1 September 1910 to James Nairn and his wife Emma, née Riseborough, Dick had four brothers and three sisters. He married Elizabeth Clarke in Barmera in 1938 and they had two children, Patricia and Richard. Dick was 85 when he died at Parkside on 18 December 1995. He is buried at Centennial Park.
P Robins, D Cox Nov 2020
* For the picture we thank Heather Maynard, President of the Lameroo & District Historical Society