Fred Thompson was a young goal-kicker who celebrated two premierships and membership of the champion team of Australia in little more than one season with Norwood.
Norwood in 1887 emerged from four years of relative obscurity and went into the last match needing to beat Port Adelaide to secure the premiership. The Express and Telegraph said that, with A. G. Miller suspended, Norwood "were venturesome enough to try a colt, Thompson, of the Creswicks, but they were well aware of his abilities before venturing on this step". Thompson had kicked two goals against South Adelaide in the previous match - which saw Norwood's second defeat of the season - and earlier had helped Creswick win the premiership in the Adelaide and Suburban Football Association.
Against Port Adelaide, Norwood led by a goal at quarter time after Thompson, "placing the sphere nearly 60 yards from the sticks, sent it through 25 minutes after the throw-off". That was one of the few highlights of a scrimmaging affair from which Norwood emerged victorious, 5.11 to 2.9. It gave the Norwood the premiership by one seventy-sixth of a point, partly due to an extra game negotiated with Hotham rather than playing each club the same number of times. Norwood was, however, a deserving premier, having played Port five times for three wins and two draws.
Thompson's success sparked an argument between two junior clubs over which of them deserved the honour of launching the young man on his senior career. The South Australian Weekly Chronicle reported: "He played for the Creswicks on two occasion, and they claim that he was a member of their club, and that his success as a Creswick induced the red-and-blues to try him. The Glenelg club, of which he was captain for some time, however claim that Thompson merely played for the premiers of the A. and S. Association when not engaged at the fashionable water place, and that he was still captain of the Glenelg twenty when he decided to sport silk for a senior club."
Norwood's total of 119 goals for the season compared with just 16 in 1878. Thompson contributed three, but the main goal-kicker with 19 was another Creswick graduate, 'Bunny' Daly.
Noted for his long place-kicks, Thompson partnered Henry Rischbieth and Bill Slattery as forward assistants to Charlie Woods in the stellar 1888 season when Norwood won the second of three successive premierships and beat South Melbourne for the Championship of Australia.
Thompson played for South Adelaide from 1889 to 1891, with critics noting two flaws in his game: his inaccuracy and a tendency to shoot for goal rather than pass to team-mates.
While playing with Pekina in 1893, he joined current and future Norwood men 'Tack' Metherell, John Slee, Alec Thomson and Walter Addison in helping North beat South in a match organised to boost country football. Fred Thompson married Emma Lamb at Pekina in 1895. He was 69 when he died in Adelaide on 3 October 1936, survived by children Newman, Queenie and Elsie
P Robins August 2017