(1888 - 1898)
Norwood’s 1891 premiership captain Alf Grayson is rated one of the best
defenders ever to play for the Redlegs. A passionate clubman, he went on
to serve for many years as an official and league delegate.
Grayson began with Norwood in 1888 as a 20 year old, and immediately
found a niche in defence. Like team mates Ossie Bertram and James Gosse,
he was a well-known oarsman, building his strength and stamina with
hours of rowing practice on the newly-established Torrens Lake.
His progress in 1889 was so spectacular that he was clearly one of the
best defenders in the competition, a player of “exceptional attainment”,
also able to hold his own in the ruck. The following year Grayson
became Norwood’s regular full back, and soon stamped his authority as a
goalkeeper with powerful and consistent performances.
Such was the respect Alf Grayson gained in only two full seasons with
Norwood, that in 1891 he was appointed club captain and successor to the
great Alfred “Topsy” Waldron. It was to be Grayson’s only year as
captain, albeit one in which he enjoyed the ultimate triumph of leading
the Redlegs to a premiership over arch rival Port Adelaide.
The decisive match took place on Saturday 5 September, 1891, before a
crowd of over 10,000 at Adelaide Oval. The Redlegs trailed in each of
the first three quarters, then brilliantly overhauled Port in the final
term to seal the pennant with a two goal victory, 5-4 to 3-4.
In the wake of Norwood’s premiership success, “Topsy” Waldron decided to
return for another season as captain in 1892. Forced to step down as
skipper, Alf Grayson took on the role of vice-captain, continuing in
1893 under the leadership of “Nug” Plunkett and “Bunny” Daly. Released
from the pressures of captaincy, Grayson in 1892 reached the peak form
of his career, and was rated the best defensive player among the five
Accident and injury incapacitated him for part of 1893, but Grayson
overcame these setbacks and remained one of Norwood’s key defenders
through the 1890’s. He played in four premiership teams – 1888, 1889 and
1891 against Port, and 1894 versus South Adelaide. His younger brother
Charles Grayson also joined Norwood for two seasons from 1890-91,
playing mainly as a forward.
Alf Grayson retired at the close of 1898, after 11 seasons and
approximately 100 games. However, his work as a Norwood official was far
from over. He served on the NFC committee for no less than 19 years
between 1891 and 1912, including nine years as club treasurer, and was
known as a strong, sometimes forceful league delegate. From 1912 he
became secretary of the Norwood Community Club, remaining in that
position for 24 years. Alf Grayson died in May, 1936, at the age of 68.
We proudly welcome Alf Grayson as Norwood's 59th Hall of Fame inductee.
1888, 1889, 1891, 1894
NFC Life Member