Albert ‘Copper’ Williams played six seasons with South Adelaide as a dashing defender, retired with a leg injury, and then turned out for a final flutter at Norwood.
He began with South in the first round of 1921 and went on to play 67 league games with the club for 28 wins, 38 losses and one draw. He was a specialist half-back flanker apart from the odd appearance at centre half-back, centre and a half-forward flank. He kicked seven goals. His two matches as a forward flanker were both first semi-finals against Norwood, which won 13.10 to 11.11 in 1922 and 8.10 to 2.9 in 1923 on the way to premierships in those years.
Albert twice represented South Australia in teams comprising second-ranked league players. South Australia lost to Southern Tasmania, 14.4 to 9.12, at Adelaide Oval in 1924 and to Broken Hill, 15.11 to 8.14, at the Barrier in 1925. Albert was named as a reserve in the latter match.
His later years with South were marred by his leg injury and the team’s lack of success. South returned just two wins and a draw from 20 games in 1925 and 1926. Albert dropped out after eight games in 1926 and did not play at all in 1927.
He was 29 when he joined Norwood in 1928. The Register reported that he had recovered from his leg injury “and although out of the game for a season, is in excellent form and should brighten up the red and blue defence”. He played eight of the first 11 games and then disappeared from football. Perhaps his injury recurred. Norwood reached the finals but was well beaten by Port Adelaide for the premiership.
Born at Kent Town on21 December 1898 to Charles ‘John’Williams and his wife Winifred, née Ackland, Albert had a brother, Charles, and a sister, Olive.
Albert, a porter, was a fraction over 165cm and weighed 63.5kg when, on 20 October 1917, he enlisted for service in World War I. He arrived in France on 17 November 1918 and was a private attached to AIF base depots. He returned to Australia on 23 July 1919.
Albert died at Stirling on 30 April 1933 as a result of a motor cycle accident and is buried at the AIF Cemetery, West Terrace, Adelaide.
P Robins, J Althorp, D Cox, G Adams, M Giles March 2021
* We thank football historian Trevor Gyss for the picture.