South Adelaide captain Tom Maloney was one of a bunch of players who generated controversy when they switched from other local clubs to Norwood in 1882.
A sturdy follower, Tom came to South Australia from a Victorian junior club and first attracted attention at South Adelaide in an early season colour match in 1879. Noting the absence of a number of players from the South team, including the defection of Harry Thurgarland, Ted Colbey and Frank Chapman to Norwood, a writer in The Australian Star, Agag, predicted dire times for the club. “Woe unto thee, thou mighty Souths of days gone by!” he thundered. “The opening game was of the most melancholy description, Maloney and Millar being the only ones anything like footballers . . . I can candidly say that if you exert yourselves hard you might succeed in just missing last place.” He was too pessimistic. South finished third, behind Norwood and Port Adelaide but above four other clubs.
Maloney stuck with South for three seasons and was captain in 1881. When he and Tom Lindsay joined Norwood in 1882, along with Alex Frayne and John Brophy from the Victorians club, predecessor of North Adelaide, a scribe in The South Australian Advertiser vented his disapproval thus: “This practice of ‘changing quarters’ is becoming altogether too common to be lightly passed over. Unless a player can show some good reason for deserting his old club no other club should make any effort to secure his services.”
Maloney was a member of the Norwood squad that played six mid-season matches in Victoria, losing to South Melbourne, Melbourne, Carlton and Ballarat, but defeating Sandhurst and, in a rematch with South Melbourne, surprising everyone with a two-goals-to-one victory over the previous year’s premier.
With the standard of football on the rise in South Australia, a big crowd attended Kensington Oval on 26 August for the enthralling match which virtually sealed the premiership. South Adelaide kicked two goals in the first half while an erratic Norwood amassed eight behinds, which did not count in those days. Despite steady rain through the second half, goals from ‘Jammy’ Watson, Tom Lindsay and Steve McKee took Norwood to a 3.15 to 2.5 victory and its fifth successive flag.
Tom Maloney disappeared from the scene after that. If he did not leave a big footprint at Norwood, he did at least enjoy premiership success
P Robins, D Cox, J Althorp Sept 2019