Jimmy Polglase was a powerfully built follower who played a key role with fellow Moonta miners 'Tuck' Metherell and Jack Slee in the exciting charge to capture the 1894 premiership for Norwood. All three began their careers wearing the red and blue of the Moonta Mines Turks, the foremost team in the Yorke Peninsula Football Association in the 1890s.
Metherell was a Norwood regular in 1893 and Polglase came down to play when required. After Polglase kicked two goals in Norwood's draw with South Adelaide in July, Quiz and Lantern called him "a great acquisition to the club" and accused South's Sid Reedman of rough play, saying: "There was no excuse for his attack on Polglase."
Polglase and Slee joined Metherell for the final matches in 1894. Metherell and Polglase were among the best players as Norwood defeated Port Adelaide by a goal for the right to meet South for the premiership. It was a tough game. The Express and Telegraph reported: "Munyard, of the Ports, afforded a far from edifying spectacle in front of the pavilion, which was filled with ladies, by deliberately striking Carroll, of the Norwoods. Although a player came between the two the Portonian repeated the offence and made the claret flow."
Metherell and Polglase also proved their worth in the last two matches of the season as Norwood first fought out a nailbiting draw with South and then came from behind to win a gripping replay, 4.7 to 3.5, for the club's 11th premiership in 17 years.
When Metherell and a bunch of other experienced players were lured to the WA goldfields in 1895, Polglase was expected to go with them but delayed his departure until after Norwood's mid-season visit to Victoria. He played usefully on the ball as Norwood lost to Melbourne, drew with Collingwood and defeated Essendon. The trip was a football success but a financial flop, with costs of 200 pounds far outweighing takings of 30 pounds.
Jimmy was effective as usual when Norwood and Port Adelaide played an exciting draw before a Monday holiday crowd of 8,000 at Adelaide Oval on 24 June 1895. Norwood hit the post twice and had the better of the scoring, 3.10 to 3.8, but behinds then did not count.
After that match, Polglase and Tom Hantke joined Metherell, Jack Cullen, Charlie Atkins, Jim Mullaney and Tom Coombe at the WA diggings and Ossie Bertram was transferred to Perth in his employment. The bottom fell out of Norwood's season. For the last six weeks, the average attendance at training was about four players. Remarkably, the club still finished second, behind South Adelaide.
Jimmy and 'Tuck' teamed again, in goldfields football with the Boulder, Mines and Warriors clubs. Born at Moonta Mines on 2 June 1872, Jimmy married Rosetta Hurley in Kalgoorlie in 1904. He died in Adelaide on 5 November 1941, survived by his widow, three daughters and a son.
P Robins June 2017