Ernest A. Peters showed great versatility as a player. He won plaudits as a forward, a centre line player and as a defender.
An Advertiser reporter summarizing the recent season on 14 September 1896 wrote, “ Along the centre line, Peters on his wing has proved a treasure.”
A year earlier, Norwood as reigning premier, travelled to Melbourne where in one glorious week they defeated Collingwood and Essendon. A reporter from the Australasian wrote of Peters that he had “ distinguished himself in defence,” and had played, “artistically.”
By a cruel twist of fate, Peters was never a premiership player. He played during the 1894 premiership season but was unavailable for the Grand Final against South Adelaide. Had it been a year earlier he would have been a premiership player as 1894 was the first year a final series in-volving a Grand Final was introduced. Prior to that the team on top of the premiership ladder at season’s end was awarded the premiership.
Peters played out his career during a tumultuous time for football, in general and Norwood in particular.
Football was losing its popularity. Some said due to on-field violence, others to gambling and still others due to the competition from other sports, especially horse racing.
Simultaneously, Norwood was losing its status as the dominant force in South Australian foot-ball. South Adelaide had emerged as the new powerhouse, winning four of the next five premier-ships.
Onlooker, a reporter with the Advertiser wrote on 12 September 1898, “Senior football has dwindled down to such a verge of insignificance that it scarcely commanded the same interest as a boys’ match on the parklands.”
And of Norwood he wrote, “One cannot speak of Norwood without a keen sense of disappoint-ment...some of their leading players had such a nice notion of esprit de corps that they absented themselves at the most critical periods of the season leaving Mr. George Searcy (Club Secretary) to hunt about and secure substitutes”
It was into this milieu that in 1899 Norwood turned to Peters, near the end of his career, to cap-tain the side. This was an era before the advent of coaches and hence the captain’s role was piv-otal.
Having experienced two dismal seasons in which they had taken a number of beatings at the hands of South and Port, under Peter’s captaincy the tide slowly turned, resulting in Norwood reaching the 1899 Grand Final where, in a hard contest, they lost to South.
B Ridge Aug 2013