Central North Rugby: Dave Heyman relishing Gunnedah return

Rejuvenated: Half-back Dave Heyman has been one of the Red Devils' best in recent weeks. Photo: Samantha Newsam
Rejuvenated: Half-back Dave Heyman has been one of the Red Devils' best in recent weeks. Photo: Samantha Newsam

Dave Heyman bleeds red and blue.

It’s part of the reason that after almost three seasons out of the game, when the Red Devils needed a half-back the veteran decided to lace up the boots on again.

The other part is he just loves playing the game.

“I enjoy the battle on the field,” he said.

The 37-year old is one of the stalwarts of the club. He played his first season in 2000 and has in the ensuing almost decades since pulled on a Red Devils jersey on over 200 occasions.

Until this season though he hadn’t played since 2015 after breaking his arm in their final home game of the season, Heyman admitting that while he hadn’t actually uttered the words, he thought he probably was retired.

But then the Red Devils were short a half-back.

“They had a pommy bloke but he left,” Heyman explained.

“I was at one of the boys (former team-mate Greg Campbell) weddings. 

“All the boys said we need a half-back.”

“I’d been thinking about it. I wanted to come back.”

He was “close” last year but that didn’t transpire.

“I thought it could be a chance to have a swan song,” Heyman said.

Another factor was the chance to play alongside good mate Jamie Mitchell.

The pair hatched a plan about five years ago to play a season for the Red Devils together but for one reason or another that had never really eventuated.

Both know they probably don’t have too many games left in them.

Heyman did have a brief moment of ‘what have I done?’ when he ran into Pirates prop Ben Goodman at the saleyards the Monday after the wedding and he was nursing a few bumps and bruises, but has loved being back out there again.

He played his first game against Moree, and there was no easing himself back into it. 

Intending to only play half a game of second grade, he ended up playing the full game and then backing up for first grade, where he looked far from a man that hadn’t played for almost three years. 

Red Devils coach Jason Waerea remarked after the loss that Heyman “added some additional spark”.

He did though pick up a groin injury, which kept him on the sidelines until the last game of the first round.

The last two games Heyman has been among the Red Devils best, earning the zone two best and fairest points against Narrabri and Inverell.

Unfortunately both have been losses and have made it tough for them to make the finals.

They need to pretty well win every game from now starting with reigning champions Pirates in Gunnedah on Saturday, which won’t be an easy assignment with the premiers stinging from rare successive losses.

One of the telling battles will be up front with both sides priding themselves on their set piece.

Heyman has one of the best views of the Red Devils’ in operation. 

“The set piece is probably as good as it’s been in a long time,” he said.