Bill Tuckwell was a rough, tough defender who, with forward Ted Williams, joined Norwood from North Melbourne in 1892 to plug holes left by the departure of key players from 1891 premiership team.
They did not get off to a good start against Port Adelaide on Queen's Accession Day. 'Onlooker' in The Express and Telegraph said on 25 June: "In accordance with the big opinions which South Australians hold of Victorian footballers, who, no matter how poor they may be in almost every department of the game, are viewed with a most respectful eye by local men, we specially watched Tuckwell and Williams, who it was first rumored were going to play with the Souths, but threw in their lot with Norwood. When they arrived they were eagerly snapped up, but if they cannot perform better than on Monday they are no great acquisition to any team."
Tuckwell, at centre half-back, "spoilt the chances of his side scoring on many occasions, as he kicked in a careless manner and showed no judgment". Port won 3.4 to 2.11.
Tuckwell was in his element in the crunch match against South Adelaide, the ultimate premier, at Kensington Oval on 29 September. It was a brutal affair, which the Victorian umpire, H. Wilson, allowed to develop into a free-for-all. The South Australian Register described it as "about the most disgraceful exhibition (on both sides) ever witnessed in the colony, and almost on a par with prize-fighting without gloves".
The Advertiser reported that "a tussle ensued between Tuckwell, of the Norwoods, and Scott, of the Souths, near the pavilion, and the two were separated by a gentleman in blue". Tuckwell and South's Jack Reedman were prominent offenders. "Their play was not football and Mr Wilson should have punished these two in particular for systematic infringements of the rules."
In the first quarter, Tuckwell caught the brilliant South follower Fred Fischer round the shoulder while both were jumping for the ball. Fischer somersaulted to the ground and was carried off unconscious, though returning in the second quarter. Tuckwell himself was carted off late in the game after he was kicked in the knee in a scrimmage. South recovered from a slow start to win 9.8 to 7.1.
When these team met again, The Express and Telegraph said 'Bunny' Daly received two deep cuts under the eye during an altercation with Reedman. "Then a disagreement arose between Tuckwell, a Norwood player - who so distinguished himself by roughness on the Kensington Oval in the previous match with the Souths - and Neate . . . Half a dozen police were present and by their invaluable aid the two men were separated and dragged into the respective dressing rooms of the clubs." South won that match, too, 5.8 to 3.10.
Summing up the Victorian pair's one season with Norwood, The South Australian Register said: "Williams was a tower of strength forward, but his mate Tuckwell was not a success." Bill Tuckwell was back with North Melbourne in 1894 and still a prominent player there in 1897 after rejecting an offer to switch to Brunswick.
P Robins Feb 2018