Des Whitford came to Norwood with a fine pedigree. His uncle was Tom Hart. Tom was a 1922 Norwood premiership player, brilliant half-forward, State representative and who later went on to play with West Adelaide and Carlton.
Des began with Norwood Colts but like many of his era, put football on hold by enlisting in the armed services in World War 2.
He returned to Norwood as a 23 year old to play in the 1947 pre-season trials. Des was 5ft 9ins (175cm) and weighed 12 stone (76kg) and was described as a “fast mover.”
He trialled as a wingman and half-forward. These were the two positions where he played in his 34 league appearances.
Breaking into a Norwood side that had won the previous year’s premiership was a great challenge. Consequently, Whitford frequently alternated between the league and the association (reserves) team. Des was often called upon to replace regular, star wingmen Olds and Gallagher when either was injured.
He did succeed in winning the plaudits of reporters. For example a report in The News 17 May 1947, stated that Des was, “A speedy wingman with a beautiful mark and kick.”
By late 1948, Whitford had earned a regular league berth. He played in the preliminary final victory over West but in so doing sustained an injury which precluded him from being part of the 1948 premiership team.
His remaining two seasons were thwarted by thigh and ankle injuries and he took part of the 1949 season off to concentrate on his studies. His league career came to an end in June 1950
B Ridge May 2018