Frank 'Dodger' Hill, like his younger brother Clem, was the one who got away - though he did come back in the end. Frank and Clem originally wanted to play with Norwood but were told they were "too young - come back next year". South Adelaide snapped them up.
By the time Frank became a Norwood premiership player in 1901, he already had three flags under his belt - with South in 1993, 1995 and 1996, in association with Clem, who would go on to captain the Australian cricket team.
Frank, who also answered to the name of Jimmy, was one of five brothers who played for Norwood. Percy and Arthur preceded him by a decade while Roy and Stanley appeared soon after he retired.
Frank was born on 6 November 1875 into the Methodist household of Henry John Hill, known as John, and his wife Rebecca Eliza, née Saunders. John Hill extended the mail-coach business previously run in SA by Cobb & Co and later became Railways Commissioner. He was an enthusiastic cricketer who made the first century at Adelaide Oval, 102 for North Adelaide against the local Kent club on 30 January 1878. The Hills had eight sons and eight daughters. All of the boys attended Prince Alfred College.
Frank played the game of the 40 as Prince Alfred defeated St Peter's, 4.13 to 2.11, in 1892. He was everywhere that the ball was. In its appraisal of Frank, the Prince Alfred College Chronicle said: "Follows throughout; good kick and mark; very fast; tries to run too much with the ball." He finished the season with South.
Clem joined him in 1893 and they immediately tasted success. South sewed up the premiership with an exciting win over Norwood before 10,000 spectators at Adelaide Oval on 2 September. Clem was in a forward pocket and Frank on a half-forward flank. Norwood came with a rush but Frank kicked the final goal to clinch victory, 10.14 to 9.4 (behinds not counting). They appeared before another 10,000 crowd in November when South met the Victorian premier, Essendon, at Victoria Park, Collingwood. Essendon bolted home, 10.23 to 3.6, but Frank kicked a goal and Clem made the best players.
Before the start of the 1895 season, the brothers had a kick with Norwood, the 1894 premier, but Quiz and Lantern said "they are true to South" - and so it proved as they helped steer the blue-and-whites to another flag. Both were seasoned players by 1896, when South finished far ahead of its rivals. The South Australian Register said: "Clem took good care of himself, but when the work was there to be done he was there. His brother Fred gave some splendid exhibitions and was always one of the first half dozen."
Frank tried to transfer to Norwood in 1899 but the SA Football Association asked for more evidence to support his application. He made the switch in 1900 and a year later was named in the best players as Norwood broke a six-year premiership drought, edging out Port Adelaide by four points in a tense grand final, 4.9 to 4.5
P Robins July 2018