Roy "Alec" Bent was one of the Norwood Football Club's greatest ever forwards. Born in Broken Hill, Roy Edward Kimberley Bent played for North Broken Hill Reserves in 1918, progressing to the seniors in the second half of the 1919 season. He continued with them in 1920, earning the nickname of "Cool Alec".
Invited to join the Norwood B team in 1921, he played two games before being selected for his League debut. Bent began his career as a half forward/rover. In the last six games of the season he was named at full forward, starting with a game against Glenelg. He booted seven majors and never looked back. He played in the Grand Final in his first year. Named as the spearhead, he kicked Norwood's three goals in its narrow loss to Port Adelaide. He played 16 matches for the year and won the "best forward" award.
First of the star full forwards after WW1, Bent was slight in stature, quick, elusive and very good at ground level. He rarely wandered too far from the goal square and used drop kicks for most of his shots at goal. The left-footed Bent had uncanny accuracy with his attempts from difficult angles, whether it be from set shots or from clever snaps. He believed goal-sneaks were born and not made.
He won a flag in his second attempt when Norwood defeated West Adelaide in the 1922 Grand Final, 9.7 to 2.16.
Bent again kicked three and was high in the best players. At season's end he was named the club's "most unselfish" player.
In 1923 he was controversially suspended after an incident in the last minor round game against South Adelaide. He received a six match suspension for having forcibly thrown the ball to the boundary umpire, after Bent had been adjudged to have gone out of the field of play. The boundary umpire had suffered a "bruised chest". The report was made by the central umpire and the suspension cost Bent the opportunity to play in back-to-back premierships.
On Grand Final day at the Adelaide Oval, a group called the "Wallaby Club sympathisers" presented him with a large leather medal, five inches in diameter. The medal had a drawing inscribed on the face of it, representing a footballer in the act of throwing a ball at another figure. The suspension was later reduced to three matches, resulting in Bent missing Round 1 of the 1924 season. He represented South Australia against Victoria and Western Australia in 1923.
Bent kicked 12 goals in a game against Queensland in the Hobart Carnival of 1924; it was a Carnival record at the time. He also kicked 10 goals, from 11 scoring shots, against West Torrens in the 1924 first semi-final.
He was probably best remembered for kicking the winning goal in the 1925 Grand Final. With Norwood trailing by five points late in the last quarter, the ball came out to Bent who snapped at goal and converted from a long way out. Norwood won by one point : 8.4 to 7.9. Bent kicked six out of Norwood's eight goals. He established a State record kicking 65 goals for the year and was again selected for the State games against Victoria and Western Australia.
In 1926 he kicked 11 majors against Glenelg in the last minor round game of the season. The 26 year-old was unfortunately involved in an accident in December of that year, suffering concussion and other head injuries. He had left his home on Edward Street, Norwood and joined a city-bound tramcar, with the intention of going to the Adelaide Oval to watch an interstate cricket match. As the tram was proceeding through the East Parklands Bent, who was standing in the gangway and leaning over the rail. The back of his head hit a post, inflicting a deep wound and rendering him unconscious. He was admitted to hospital in a serious condition.
Although he returned to football in 1927, he only played four games before deciding to retire mid-season due to poor form, attributed to the accident he had suffered during the summer. Bent decided to have a complete rest from the game.
He returned in 1928 and played another six games. He also played seven games with the Reserves, heading the goal-kicking with 32 majors.
Bent crammed many highlights in his eight seasons with the Norwood Football Club. Despite a relatively short career, restricted by injury and suspension, he was the club's leading goal-kicker on five occasions, and topped the SANFL goal-kicking four times.
He played in two premierships, and represented the state 17 times
Retiring in Mount Gambier, Roy Bent was sadly taken in a car accident in 1975, returning home having made the trip to Broken Hill one last time.
Norwood top goal kicker: 1921,1923 - 1926
Further honours: SANFL top goal kicker 1921,1924,1925,1926, SA games 17, Goals for SA 60.
R Cialini August 2017