Playing 23 games over three seasons suggests that Des Hines found establishing a regular position in the league side challenging. As a key forward he often found himself standing in whenever one of Norwood’s taller players was injured. These players included the likes of Mayo, Marriott, Dalwood and Walker. What a formidable list. It made earning a place in the league side very difficult.
Des came through the junior ranks, playing mainly at full forward. Following pre-season trials in 1952, he was selected in the reserves at full forward and won the attention of league selectors with scores of five and four goals against Glenelg and Port. He was chosen as a reserve in the league side against North at Prospect when he came on in the last quarter and a report at the time said he showed glimpses of promise.
The following week he was chosen on a half forward flank against Sturt and played serviceably. He held this position for a few weeks and in the press he was described as a young forward with enough ability to be a good prospect in seasons to come. Des’ season ended in the last minor round game when he sustained a knee injury, preventing him from playing in the semi-final against North.
First game of the 1953 season saw Hines back in the reserves but his three goals against Glenelg saw him promoted the following week to play at centre half in forward in place of the injured Bob Williams. This set the pattern for Des as he was a valuable and important backup for any injured key forward.
His career was not without controversy. In May 1953, in a game against West Adelaide he was reported and suspended for one match for misconduct and abusive language to umpire W. Josephs. In July of the same year he had probably his best game when playing at centre half forward in a losing side against Port. He kicked three goals in an injury ravaged, Norwood side that went down by 10 points.
Another highlight included playing in the first floodlit game at Norwood Oval. It was a post season charity match against Port in aid of the Norwood RSL Building Fund. Des kicked three goals; Norwood lost by five points and over $1400 was raised.
His final season followed a similar pattern with Hines fluctuating between league and reserves. His last game was against West Torrens. This time he was a late inclusion when Sawley was a late withdrawal. Hines played at full forward, kicked one goal three behinds but unfortunately Norwood lost.
This wasn’t his last appearance at Norwood Oval. That came on Friday 17th September, 1954 when he played in a Past versus present players match played under lights.
B Ridge May 2021