Alick Gladstone Lill
10 March 1904
Place of birth
Stepney, SA (5069)
31 December 1987 (aged 83)
Height and weight
Height: 193 cm
State of origin
Hall of fame
South Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2002)
John Lill (Son)
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Tall (193cm), slender and rangy, Alick Lill was a superlative athlete whose movements were all smoothness, elegance and grace. He adorned Norwood teams in 123 games between 1923 and 1931, almost invariably in the centre, and was an ever-present in South Australian interstate teams from 1925 to 1930, except for an injury-ruined 1929 season, making a total of 20 state appearances, and kicking seven goals.
One of those rare players who genuinely ‘had it all’, Lill was virtually unbeatable in the air, faster on the ground than almost every opponent, handled the ball with effortless ease, and could kick with pinpoint accuracy over prodigious distances. The only major difficulty he had was a susceptibility to injuries, particularly knee problems, and it was these which ultimately curtailed his career.
Norwood was a powerful combination for most of the 1920s, and Lill had the satisfaction of appearing in three premiership sides. In 1925 he not only helped the Redlegs to a Grand Final victory over West Torrens, he won the club’s best and fairest award (his second in succession), and edged out Port Adelaide’s Peter Bampton for the Magarey Medal. He won another club best and fairest award in 1927.
By popular consensus, Lill’s greatest ever individual performance came while representing South Australia against the VFL on a quagmire-like Adelaide Oval during the 1930 Adelaide carnival. Had the South Australians possessed another half a dozen players of Lill’s calibre, they would have won at a canter, but unfortunately the Norwood man was more or less on his own that day.
After retiring as a player, Lill coached the Redlegs in 1933-4, getting them as far as a losing Grand Final against West Torrens in the former year before overseeing a disappointing slump to second from bottom in the latter.
Author - John Devaney