Bob Haines was the John Wynne of his day. Strong and athletic, he was a crowd favourite as a follower or key defender under captain-coach Haydn Bunton but was starved of opportunity when Robert Oatey took charge in 1968 and finished his football career at South Adelaide.
“Oatey thought I was a bit wild, but I wasn’t really,” said Bob, living in retirement at his 10-acre Angaston property with his three-legged Jack Russell dog Evie and 36-year-old horse Alby. “I’d have a few drinks at the weekend but I was dedicated to my footy during the week.”
Bob and his great mate Peter ‘Redhead’ Blood went through King’s College together and were valued players in the school’s premiership years of 1962-63. Leading up to their league debuts in 1965, both boys played for the Norwood junior colts from 1961 and then the under 19s until 1964. In 1964 Bob won the most courageous award in the under 19s. That year he played in the under 19s first semi-final and then the Reserves final.
A strapping 188 cm, Bob played 59 league games, winning awards for meritorious service in 1966 and 1967 and for service rendered in 1968. He also kicked 45 goals in 60 Reserves games from 1964 to 1971, being named best junior player in 1965 and contributing to premierships in 1966, 1969 and 1970.
Bob turned 21 on 19 July 1967 and was due to celebrate his birthday after Norwood’s match against Woodville at The Parade three days later. He was knocked out during the game and taken to hospital. His 21st birthday party went ahead without him.
While working in the Pilbara in 1968, Bob was approached by Claremont Football Club. Haydn Bunton got wind of that and persuaded him to sign with Subiaco but Norwood refused him a clearance, saying he was a required player. Still on the outer at The Parade, Bob was set to play with Port Adelaide in 1972 until it refused to pay a $600 clearance fee. Instead, he was cleared without fee to South Adelaide, where he played 15 league games.
Bob remained a loyal Norwood man. He served as Past Players president for 10 years and Reserves team manager in the 1980s and early 1890s.
Since the loss of his wife Jill at a young age in 2011, leaving children Melanie, Sam and Rachel, Bob has strongly supported Carers SA and Disability Link and served on the board. He has six grandchildren.
A fireman for 37 years, Bob served as president of the United Firefighters Union.
P. Robins, G. Adams November 2019
* We thank Heather Haines, sister of Robert, for her enthusiastic support.