Written by 2007 President Shane Flanagan
Two-times Goannas President (2005, 2006) and much respected presence around the club, Matthew Hegarty, is returning to Australia after having spent much of the previous five years working in Jakarta and Tokyo. In customary fashion, Matt surprised us all during the Christmas period by announcing that he had married beautiful girlfriend Sonia and would be returning to Oz in the near future. While we are sad to see Matt and former first-lady Sonia leave Japan, we would like to wish them all the very best and would also like to take this opportunity to thank Matt for his fantastic dedication to the Club. Hegs made an auspicious debut for the Goannas coming off the bench to play a key role in the stunning come-from-behind victory over the Samurais in the 2004 JAFL Grand Final. The hard-fought win against strong opposition and the ensuing celebrations–with Coach Kokomo electrifying the Karaoke booth–encouraged Hegs to accept the presidency soon thereafter. The Goannas powerbrokers had obviously seen a lot in Matty to appoint him Prez after just one game but his outstanding performances as president in the following two years more than vindicated their confidence in him. With the experience he brought to the Goannas courtesy of the Jakarta Bintangs, Hegs has achieved great things as president. Perhaps the most striking among these his accomplishments was his vision in encouraging the Goannas to broaden their horizons to the international scene and participate in the annual Asian Championships tournament. The first tilt at the Asian Champs (Manila in 2005) was a memorable trip with the very small Goannas squad coming in under the guard of many fancied rivals only to miss out on the final by percentage. The trip was a cracker on and off the field –and forged the reputation of many legendary Goannas figures, Bumpa anyone? The Goannas brought credit to themselves with their performances again in 2006 (Jakarta) and we will be there for our third tilt in Bangers on 14 July. Our participation in the champs will be an enduring legacy of the Hegs-era. Under the Hegarty presidency the Goannas also hosted a tri-series comprising the Shanghai Tigers and Tokyos Eastern Hawks in May 2006. The tri-series represented another step by the Goannas into the competitive Asian footy scene and will be reciprocated with a visit to Shanghai for a tri-series involving the Tigers and the Jakarta Bintangs on 12 May. In addition, to pushing the Goannas into new directions, Hegs has always demonstrated an appreciation for the history of the Club and has gone to great lengths to ensure that the efforts of those that had come before were appropriately recognised. Heggsys contribution to the Club has also extended onto the playing field. He has been an integral member of the Goannas. A genuine utility player, he has been comfortable playing forward or back and on occasion has been known to test his creaky knees by playing on the ball. We will miss his rock-solid consistency and non-stop talk. Not to mention those silky skills–is he right-footed or left? Heggsys on-field highlights include the 2004 premiership and the great victory over Box Hill North in the 2006 Narita Cup–the first time the Goannas had won this illustrious competition. Unfortunately, Hegs was denied by FDD injury (FDD – Fell Down Drunk) a second JAFL premiership in 2006 when the Hawks overpowered the Eastern Hawks in freezing conditions. Despite the injury, Heggsy braved the cold and rain on that particular day to bring warm soup to the boys. A great clubman through and through. Thanks Hegs and all the best.