Alfred Bennett was a local junior who, in 1904 was selected to play for the Norwood seconds in what was then called the Junior Association.
His main asset was his pace and he was chosen to play either at half back or on the wing. His talent was soon recognised when he was selected in the South Australian association side that defeated their Victorian counterparts at Adelaide Oval in June. Later that year Alfred was a member of the Norwood side that defeated West Adelaide Ramblers at Norwood Oval to win the association premiership.
Bennett was selected for his first league game against West Torrens in round two of the 1905 season. He immediately impressed reporters with his, “Great pace,” and when it was reported that he played a ,”Rattling good game,” his nickname was born and for the rest of his career he was known as “Rattler” Bennett.
His consistent form during his first season was recognised at the 1906 Annual General Meeting when he received the best junior award.
There was some concern that he would not play in 1906 as he briefly moved to Wallaroo but he returned for the new season and maintained his good form, mainly playing at half back.
The 1907 season was a great one for Norwood. They won the premiership and became Champions of Australia. Unfortunately for Alfred he played in neither of these games. He sustained a serious hand injury that adversely affected his availability and form.
Rattler’s resilience came to the fore in the first trial of 1908. The Evening Journal reported, “Bennett was the star of the seniors. Whenever the ball came within reach he snapped it up with lightning-like rapidity.” This form continued and was rewarded with his selection in the South Australian side that took part in the carnival in Melbourne. His only disappointment came later when Norwood was defeated by West Adelaide in the 1908 Grand Final.
There were other highlights to come. At the 1909 AGM, Bennett along with a few other team mates were commended for attracting a large number of new members to the club. At the 1910 AGM he won the best backman Trophy. At the 1912 AGM he received a Singer sewing machine in recognition of his marriage during the year.
At the beginning of the 1912 season he moved to an address in the West Torrens district, so Rattler applied for and gained a permit to continue playing for Norwood.
Alfred retired in 1912 but it was at the 1914 AGM that the curtain fell on his career. This comes from the report of that meeting.
“Messrs. L.A. Lewis and A.C. Bennett were both made life members of the club. The committee regrets that neither of these players fulfilled the club’s rule that entitles them to the gold medal, but they both rendered grand service to Norwood. They also represented South Australia in inter-state games."
B Ridge Oct 2019