Bert Heffernan was a speedy, goal-scoring rover/forward. Reporters of the day invariably used the word dash, when describing his play. In August, 1928, The Mail wrote of his, “Dashing ground play.” And the following year in July, that, “Heffernan roved with pluck and dash.”
In 1927, Bert played the entire season in Norwood’s Association team. They were runners-up that year and Heffernan was awarded the club medal as the side’s best and most consistent player.
With a number of players missing from the Norwood League side during the 1928 season it was expected Bert would gain immediate selection in the League side. However, he didn’t gain selection until near season’s end in August. Having been given his chance, Heffernan took it with relish and became a permanent fixture in the side for the next five seasons.
As early as his second game, he gave notice of his ability. The Mail reported, “Roving with dash and agility Heffernan was one of the most valuable players for the Redlegs. He handled the ball a lot and showed skill and spirit in the crushes.” Two weeks later he played in an exhibition match when Norwood defeated Port by five points in front of 15,000 spectators at the Sydney Showground.
In his first full season in 1929, Bert became a premiership player. He was Norwood’s first rover, kicked two goals and was named among the best players when Norwood beat Port by 41 points on Grand Final day.
Just prior to the 1929 final series Heffernan was involved in an unusual incident. He was running out to join his team-mates for a training session when Pike kicked a ball that struck him on the back of the head. He staggered a few paces and then collapsed. He suffered concussion but still played against North Adelaide a few days later.
For four more seasons Heffernan fulfilled his role as a rover/forward with skill and of course, dash.
80 games, 123 goals and a premiership is testament to a most successful career.
Herbert Heffernan was born on the 4th February 1908 and passed away on the 11th February 1967
B Ridge March 2015