Yorketown recruit Reg Heusler played four senior games for Norwood with modest success as a teenager in 1935 before achieving fame in Western Australia as the consummate centre half-forward.
Born on 20 February 1916, Reg was a player in the Roy Bent mould and made a good showing when invited to play for Norwood against Murray Bridge in 1934. After he kicked nine goals for Yorketown in a match in 1935, he briefly represented Norwood before returning home because of a lack of employment opportunities in Adelaide.
Brushing off offers from Glenelg and other clubs, Reg arrived by train in Perth early in 1938 to strip with Claremont as a follower and key forward. Still only 22, he looked a solid player at 5 ft 11in (180cm) and scaling 13 st 7 lb (85kg), but despite his fine form in country football there was no hint of the heroics to come.
Describing his signing as "a masterstroke", football historian John Devaney says Heusler became an integral part of the Claremont team that dominated WA football for three years. He played 70 games in four seasons with Claremont, with a hat trick of premierships, 1938, 1939 and 1940. In the 14.11 to 11.10 win over East Fremantle in 1939, says Devaney, "he gave a majestic display of the centre half-forward's craft, highlighted by superb marking and prodigious, and accurate, kicking, to be many observers' choice as best afield". He was knocked out early in the 1940 grand final against South Fremantle.
War caused the suspension of the WANFL competition between 1942 and 1944. When football resumed in 1945, Reg was captain-coach of Perth and its main sharpshooter with 34 goals even though the team won only eight matches and finished second bottom. As a player only, he continued one more year to bring to 23 his tally of games with Perth.
He married Iris Kathleen Naylor in Claremont on 7 February 1942 and their daughter, Sandra, was born in Cottesloe on 30 March 1943. Reg worked for a time as a taxi driver and was only 46 when he died in Caulfield, Victoria, on 12 July 1962. He is buried in Springvale Cemetery
P Robins June 2018