Philip Mesmer Newland was recruited from St. Peter’s College for the 1900 season.
Although only amassing 41 games, his career with Norwood can still be called illustrious. It included two premierships including captain in 1904 and he was a member of the 1907 Champions of Australia team.
In today’s terms he was an on-baller come half forward. His peers admired his “finesse and coolness,” and described him as, “a dasher.” In his day he was regarded as one of South Australia’s outstanding all round sportsmen.
In 1903 he took time out from Norwood and football to play a season of A Grade Lacrosse. He again gave up a season of football in 1905. This time because he was chosen as the back-up wicketkeeper in the Australian Cricket Team to tour England. The English Press described him as, “A good wicketkeeper and a really good bat, though not recognized as such. His on-side play is remarkable.”
He returned to Norwood in 1906 as captain and had a most eventful year. On the 7th July he dislocated his shoulder in a match against North Adelaide
Norwood played Sturt at Unley on August 4th. The Advertiser, 6 Aug 1906 reported that near the end of the game, Hill of Norwood and Hay of Sturt came to blows with Hay eventually being knocked down. The game ended and Sturt supporters massed around Hill. The two captains, Newland and Waye and two police officers chaperoned Hill to the safety of the dressing room. Angry Sturt supporters gathered near the dressing room and Norwood players in groups of two or three were escorted to awaiting cabs by police.
Later in the week, the two club secretaries ,Thomas of Sturt and Woods of Norwood, met and refuted much of what the reporter had written, claiming he had greatly exaggerated the situation but what they did agree on was the action of Newland who at game's end went to the Sturt dressing room and, by his words and actions, calmed the situation.
In 1907 things returned to normal. Newland was no longer captain but he was for the second time a Norwood Premiership player and on the 28th July he was part of the Norwood team that defeated Carlton 13-12 to 8-10 at Adelaide Oval to become Champions of Australia.
It was Newland’s final game. He kicked two goals and along with his teammates received an engraved gold medal in recognition of this outstanding achievement.
B Ridge Aug 2013