George Bragge was a young Carlton player who spent five fruitful seasons with Norwood, picking up three premierships and a wife before going home in 1885. The grandson of two convicts, George was born on 1 December 1860 at Pleasant Creek (now Stawell) and became a cabinetmaker after his family settled at Carlton. He was 19 when he broke into the Carlton senior team in 1880. Described as "a determined and splendid little wing player who kicks well with either foot", he was one of the club's best men in his debut season.
George was a member of the Carlton team which visited Adelaide in 1881 for matches against South Park, Port Adelaide, Victorians and Norwood. He shone on the wing as Carlton beat Norwood 3.12 to 1.5 in a fast game in slippery conditions before a crowd of 4,000 at Adelaide Oval on 20 June.
Norwood put in a better effort than the other local clubs. That must have impressed George, who appears to have joined Norwood without fanfare in the latter part of the season and celebrated the first of a hat trick of premiership under the captaincy of another former Carlton player, the inimitable 'Topsy' Waldron. Certainly, he kicked a goal against Port Adelaide in the last match and was one of 20 Norwood players presented with gold medals for premiership success.
Although George kicked the occasional goal, he played mainly as a backman. 'Goalpost', the football writer for The South Australian Register, rated him as Norwood's best defender in 1882 and, with team-mate George Liston, equal to the best in the colony in 1883.
George was part of the Norwood team which stunned Essendon at Kensington Oval on 23 June 1883. The visitors had romped home in three matches against other local teams but went down 5.5 to 1.6 as Norwood made history by taming a Victorian side.
Two weeks later, after Norwood beat South Adelaide, 'Goalpost' wrote: "Bragge, back, although heavily handicapped by his everyday clothes, played his 'Carlton' game, and frequently 'came down like a wolf on the fold', proving simply invaluable."
Norwood's run of six successive premierships came to an end in 1884 as Port won its first flag. In May 1885, George took a wife, Amelia, and was named Norwood vice-captain. That was a high point. Norwood's form fluctuated.
In August , George moved to Melbourne where he was greeted by cheers as he finished the season with Carlton. He was followed later by his wife and baby son. Altogether he played about 54 games for Carlton before retiring in 1887.
He died at Flemington on 2 September 1935, survived by his widow and children George, Gussy and Mary.
P Robins Dec 2017
Further reading http://www.blueseum.org/tiki-index.php?page=George+Bragge