Syd Williams was a premiership player with South Adelaide before he fell foul of the new electorate system and finished his career with one game at Norwood in 1899.
Syd was born on 25 November 1878, a few weeks after Norwood won its first premiership.
It is thought he began with the Norwood Alberts and came into the South side almost at the end of the 1896 season, after it already had amassed enough points to take the flag. He was in the best players in the last two matches, both against Norwood, with South winning 7.9 to 5.4 on 29 August and 6.4 to 4.5 on 1 September.
As a speedy wingman, half-back flanker and back pocket, he sealed his place over the next two seasons, with South gaining another premiership in 1897 and finishing second to Port Adelaide in 1898. He kicked a goal in 1897. After Norwood again went down to South in July 1898, an acerbic critic in Quiz and Lantern wrote: " 'Bunny' Daly, as usual, played his selfish and lucky game. His opponent, Williams, though, held the South colors very well against 'Bun'.”
There is no clue why Syd played just one game with Norwood, but it was against his old team, South, which won 5.6 to 3.4 and went on to take another flag.
Syd lived at Norwood and was employed by the waterworks. He was on his way home early in 1927 when he ran into the former umpire Frank Coffey , a writer for the Sport paper. In his subsequent Giants of Sport column, Coffey remembered Syd as "a fast runner and a heady young man with the ball . . . a good allround cricketer . . . pretty smart with the gloves and he could swim some too. He still gives the impression that he could carve out a decent hundred yards and says he is too young yet to play bowls."
Syd played cricket with East Torrens. He was the A grade captain in 1905-06, led the B grade premiership team in 1913 and returned as A grade captain in 1915 when regular players were away at the war. He died on 30 November 1935.
P Robins 2018, February 2023
* For our picture we thank football historians Trevor Gyss and Peter Cochinos