Ernest Alfred Cresswell Smith was recruited from the Kensington Football Club for the start of the 1901 season. Ernie was taller than the average player of this era and was recruited to play at centre half back. His form in the pre-season trials was good enough to win him selection for the season’s opening game.
This first game was momentous, not only for Smith but for Norwood. It was the first game to be played at Norwood Oval. It resulted in a Norwood victory against Sturt in what was their first game in the Association.
Ernie Smith quickly gained an excellent reputation for his high marking. “Ernie Smith marked splendidly,” was reported in The Advertiser (12/9/06) after a match against West Adelaide and typified many other comments regarding his performances.
By season’s end Ernie was a premiership player. Grand Finals were not played in those days but when Norwood defeated Port on October 5th, they were declared Premiers.
Dual Premiership honours came Smith’s way in 1904 when Norwood recorded one of their greatest wins. They turned a 35 point deficit at three quarter time into a four point victory against arch rivals Port. Smith was named in the best players.
Ernie Smith had the great distinction of playing in premiership teams in his first and last seasons. In 1907, again at centre half back, he was once more part of the Norwood side that again defeated Port by 28 points and was again named among the side’s best.
A week later and in his final game came the ultimate triumph. Norwood defeated reigning, Victorian Premiers Carlton by 32 points to be crowned Champions of Australia.
A report of the game in The Advertiser (30/9/07) said of Smith that he was, “ A fine mark,” and, “Relieved in fine style.”
After three premierships and a Championship of Australia Medal, Ernie Smith brought to an end an illustrious career.
B Ridge Nov 2016