Like so many footballers of his era, Bob Dugan’s very promising career was interrupted with the advent of World War One. Bob began his career with South Adelaide. He gained a fine reputation as a determined back man. This led to his selection in the State side that played Victoria at the MCG in August, 1913.
He further embellished his football credentials when selected to represent the SA Railways side against their Victorian and NSW counterparts.
Bob applied for a clearance to Norwood at the beginning of the 1915 season but the clearance didn’t eventuate until July. With Norwood sitting at the bottom of the table, Dugan’s presence had an immediate effect. He was chosen to play in the centre. Norwood defeated West Torrens and Bob Dugan was adjudged best on ground. He took this form into the next three games.
Reporters lavished him with praise. The Mail reported, “The way in which he handled the ball was a treat to witness. He marked brilliantly.” With Norwood out of the finals, four games was all Bob played in his first season. Worse was to follow when, due to the war, the competition was suspended until 1919.
Dugan was entering the twilight of his disrupted career when football returned. Remarkably, due to his previous games with Norwood and his then current address, the league determined he was qualified to play for Norwood and West Adelaide. Bob initially chose West but after just a few games and a falling out he moved back to Norwood, presumably and quite amazingly without the need of a clearance.
On his return he added just one more game to his previous four. After such an outstanding debut with the Redlegs and as with so many others of Bob’s era, we are left wondering what might have been ?
B Ridge March 2020