Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Thomas Heaney

Known as
Tom Heaney

The Aeroplane

2 April 1888

17 August 1928 (aged 40)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 30d
Last game: 33y 154d

Height and weight
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 86 kg

Senior clubs
Richmond; Fitzroy

Jumper numbers
Richmond: 14, 6
Fitzroy: 6, 7, 21, 4

Recruited from
Richmond (1913)

Tom Heaney

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
FitzroyV/AFL1913-1917, 1919-192198950.9762%0
V/AFL1908-1917, 1919-19211541320.8655%0
Total1908-1917, 1919-19211541320.8655%0

AFL: 1,339th player to appear, 1,237th most games played, 778th most goals kickedRichmond: 6th player to appear, 285th most games played, 199th most goals kickedFitzroy: 209th player to appear, 112th most games played, 46th most goals kicked

His VFL career may have been somewhat spasmodic, but Thomas Heaney was one of the finest and most spectacular players of his era. Nicknamed 'The Aeroplane' because of his remarkable aerial prowess, Heaney made his league debut with Richmond during the club's inaugural season at that level, 1908, but after some excellent performances ended up missing much of the year through illness. He played again in 1909, but ended up being sacked by the club for missing a match without notifying club officials that he would be unavailable. All was forgiven by the start of the next season, however, and he remained at Punt Road for another three years before crossing to Fitzroy.

While with the Roys he had the satisfaction of participating in three Grand Finals, for wins in 1913 and 1916. Less overtly spectacular than during his heyday at Richmond, he was nevertheless extremely effective, and was widely acknowledged as one of the finest key position forwards in the game. Knee problems restricted his appearances towards the end of his career, and he missed the entire 1918 season. However, he resumed in 1919 and continued to make intermittent appearances until his retirement, after 154 VFL games (56 for Richmond and 98 at Fitzroy) in 1921. Heaney was Fitzroy's leading goalkicker in the club's premiership year of 1916, booting 27 goals.

Author - John Devaney


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