Ted Williams had his first brush with Norwood as a member of the North Melbourne team which visited Adelaide in 1889. He was described as a forward who "marks well in a crowd and kicks goals". He played impressively on tour but goals were scarce against Norwood as his team went down 4.4 to 3.16 (behinds not counting).
Norwood signed Williams and his North Melbourne mate Bill Tuckwell in 1892 to fill holes left by the departure of several key men from the 1891 premiership team.
They did not get off to a good start. After Port Adelaide defeated Norwood 3.4 to 2.11 on Queen's Accession Day, 'Onlooker' of The Express and Telegraph was sceptical. He wrote: "In accordance with the big opinions which South Australians hold of Victorian footballers, who, no matter how poor they may be in almost every department of the game, are viewed with a most respectful eye by local men, we specially watched Tuckwell and Williams, who it was first rumored were going to play with the Souths, but threw in their lot with Norwood. When they arrived they were eagerly snapped up, but if they cannot perform better than on Monday they are no great acquisition to any team.
"Of course allowances have to be made for the men in one way, as they were not used to their brethren, and possibly did not understand the ground and the positions they occupied thereon. Williams had a reputation inseparable from those who come from over the border, and his chief prowess was supposed to have been in kicking for goal. He made one or two good marks, but failed to establish any claim as an adept in this direction . . ."
"Williams is a burly footballer, but is of the Rugby type. He has strength and knows how to use it, and height which may be serviceable to him in high marking."
Williams and Tuckwell were both seen to advantage against South Adelaide at Kensington Oval on 29 September, especially in the first half. It was brutal match, with Tuckwell implicated in a number of unseemly incidents, but South came from behind to cement its premiership claim with a 9.8 to 7.1 victory. Williams finished the season with seven goals from a half-forward flank or forward pocket.
Summing up the Victorian pair's brief time with Norwood, The South Australian Register said: "Williams was a tower of strength forward, but his mate Tuckwell was not a success." 'Onlooker' had changed his tune and to the extent that he rated Williams the forward of the season.
Also known as Eddie, he played 60-62 games for North Melbourne in 1886 and 1888-90, kicking 34 goals. For Williamstown he played 21-28 games and kicked 16 goals in 1887 and 1891.
P Robins Feb 2018, G Adams August 2023
* For our picture we thank Barbara Cullen OAM, North Melbourne Football Club archivist