Ben Jefferies, aka Joffa, the role player and clubman

Ben Jefferies

League Career: 2009 and 2011 to 2018
Games: 132 (including 1 Foxtel Cup match v East Fremantle, 2013)
Goals: 29
Debut: v Central District (Norwood Oval) – Round 23 – 5 September 2009
Finale: v North Adelaide (Adelaide Oval) – Grand Final – 12 September 2018
Guernsey numbers: 41 (1 game), 28 (131 games)
Premierships: 2012, 2013, 2014
Won: 85
Lost: 46
Drawn: 1
Awards: Club Champion 2013
100th game: v Port Adelaide Magpies (Norwood Oval) – Round 2 – 13 April 2017


Career: 2008-2012 and 2018
Games: 68
Goals: 20
Third in Best & Fairest 2009
Runner-up in Best & Fairest 2010


Under 19s:
Career: 2007 to 2008
Games: 14
Goals: 4
Third in Best & Fairest 2008


Under 17s:
Career: 2006 to 2007
Games: 34
Goals: 10
Best & Fairest: 2007


Totals for representative games for Norwood from 2006 to 2018:
Games: 248
Goals: 63
(huge thank you to Graeme Adams member of the NFC HISTORY committee for checking through and compiling the list)


Ben after kicking a goal in the 2012 Grand Final Photo by Deb Curtis thanks Deb and Paula Brinkworth from SANFL Media for permission to use the photo


Ben Jefferies is a triple premiership player, and as we have certainly learnt in 2018,
premierships don’t grow on trees. Joffa is also a winner of the Best & Fairest in 2013,
when Norwood won the flag, which is a fantastic achievement in itself, but back to the beginning…….


Ben is the son of Lyn and Steve, and attended Hills Christian Community School, then moved on to Heathfield High, arriving at Norwood in 2006. With David Oatey’s coaching having a enormous positive influence, and without Robert Oatey helping with his kicking school, Joffa admits he’s not a natural kick of the footy and without the huge improvements made in conjunction with the acclaimed Robert Oatey, Ben would not have progressed to play League footy.


Joffa’s work rate and team ethos was evident early, playing a large part in winning the Under 17 Best & Fairest in 2007. Ben’s progression was slow and steady but he really stuck at it, never throwing in the towel, finally making his League debut in the last minor round game of 2009 under the then caretaker coach Jarrod Cotton. Making his league debut in the same game was a guy who has gone on to manage to get the odd kick in Mitch Grigg, also playing his last game for the club was Kris Lords Massie (Norwood defeated the eventual premiers Central Districts).


Joffa in a lot of ways stumbled into the perfect coach for him in Nathan Bassett, with his strengths of being a hard working wingman with a strong defensive ethos with Bass also appreciating his efforts off the ball. In particular, Ben really suited the Bass game plan. Joffa is often the whipping boy target of Norwood supporters who don’t notice that element of footy and 1 per centers enough (I admit I had to move where I was standing at Noarlunga in the last minor round this season with the crap being aimed at Joffa, one guy in particular must have been a diahorrea salesman as he had a mouthful of samples).


Ben is a member of the ‘party bus’ with it’s other members being Andrew Kirwan, Ed Smart, Lochie Peter and Peter Bampton, who drove together to training from the hills. Mucking around a bit on the way some one called Kiwi’s car a party bus and the name stuck and they may have a tattoo of a bloody party bus.


Ben’s favorite footy memories are the 3 flags, with being able to relax and enjoy 2012 and 2013 in the last quarter and then the relief and excitement of the lovely sound of the siren of the cliffhanger finish in 2014.


Ben holding aloft the 2012 Premiership Cup
Photo by Deb Curtis thanks Deb and Paula Brinkworth from SANFL Media for permission to use the photo.


In 2013 after the unveiling of the chimney at the brewery the players ended up at a Shield game at Adelaide oval, with the crowd gravitating to the Norwood boys attempt at having a hit after the odd shandy or two (more people were watching and were amused by the Norwood players than were watching the cricket out in the middle).


Ben Jefferies at the brewery unveiling in 2013
Photo by John Emery


The team on stage after winning the 2014 Premiership
Photo by Deb Curtis thanks Deb and Paula Brinkworth from SANFL Media for permission to use the photo.


Ben showed how much the Norwood FC meant to him when he was genuinely overcome with emotion, pride and excitement when winning the Best & Fairest in 2013. It was fantastic to see how much the red and blue guernsey and joining the illustrious winners meant to him.



Ben met his now wife Sarah Grills on a footy trip to Bali (fair effort that in itself)

Ben & Sarah. Photo by Malcolm Ashwood


Yep definitely the better half!


Sarah is a accomplished Polocrosse player. Polocrosse is a team sport that is a combination of polo and lacrosse. It is played outside, on a field, on horseback. Each rider uses a cane or fibreglass stick to which is attached a racquet head with a loose, thread net, in which the ball is carried.


Ben is number 28, so I rang the most famous 28 of them all, Johnathon Francis Wynne who contacted Ben to congratulate and wish Ben all the best in his hundredth game in 2017 (Joffa was a tad rapt about that just quietly).


Ben had decided to retire at the end of the season in 2018. Half way through the year the intense disappointment of losing the grand final nearly changed his mind, but his body was giving him messages combined with a new job, plus recently married, convinced Joffa to retire from League footy (it really is an enormous time commitment). Full kudos to Joffa from rebounding in his own words from a disappointing 2017 season, having a consistent 2018 especially before his knee injury and leaving League footy on his own terms.


Jarrod Cotton describes Ben as the quintessential role player, always reliable, who you can trust to do a job, one of the first players picked in his side.


Ben is going to have a kick and catch up with his brother Tom at Onkaparinga Valley Football Club in 2019.  He has been a huge part of NFC for over a decade, he’s a genuine bloke who will be missed but I am sure he will come along on a Friday night and continue to contribute to the NFC (Joffa I will ring you re Past Players and Officials membership).


Ben is an underrated intercept mark, considered the ultimate team man by his peers, he rates Luke Jarrad from Woodville/West Torrens as his toughest opponent (Chad Cornes Joffa?), respects Zane Kirkwood from Sturt enormously and the best players he played with include Kieran McGuinness, Brett Zorzi and James Gallagher.


Footy is a dangerous game but music festivals can be lethal. Ben at his own wedding may have supported Norwood’s major sponsor Coopers to the end degree, Ben thought Magarey Medal votes were being given and was a certainty for the 3 votes, the shower says hello Joffa! Ben is a Bryce Gibbs look alike and a career in public speaking awaits.


Joffa thank you for being the quintessential role player!
(love folks to comment below with your favourite Joffa memory and share the article)


Jace Bode with Ben Jefferies winning the flag in 2013. Photo courtesy of John Emery.



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  1. Paul Harradine says

    Malcom ,I don’t know you personally but I thought that I had to comment on your piece on Greg Turbill.I knew greg and yet I found out things that I didn’t know.He was a valued opponent and your commentary captures the spirit of the man completely.I thank you for writing it.And I’m sorry but my post appears twice if you can delete either please do so.

  2. Sad to see Joffa retire, Malcolm. One of six players to play in all three of those premierships and a B&F in a premiership year is always extra special. I sat at a table with his parents at an Anzac Day function a few years back, lovely people. What struck me was the number of players we had from the hills in the threepeat (Joffa, Georgiou, Brady, Smart, Kirwan plus more I’m probably forgetting) that were really the backbone of those premierships and now would be playing for Sturt with the move of the boundaries. Perhaps not a coincidence that Sturt have subsequently won a couple of flags.

  3. Michael Sexton says

    Nice work Rulebook. I am biased because Joffa’s dad is a second cousin. Steve could play too – a key forward in a rough-and-tumble era of amateur footy. Had good hands and a decent dob. The family history is steeped in ag science and merino wool.

  4. Gary Bennett AKA Fisho says

    Always sad when we lose really good players for various reasons. Unfortunately with the AFL in vogue most clubs lose good players at the end of seasons. I’ll certainly miss Joffa. By the way, yet another excellent and informative article Malcolm. As you know I love your work Also look out for an article by me in a future Boomer story in the ‘Tiser, date yet determined. .

  5. Martin Rumsby says

    Congratulations to Joffa on his career at Norwood. I will remember him for his work ethic and love of the game. Ben could be relied upon to give his best. Best wishes, Joffa.

  6. Michael Rehn says

    I’ve only had an opportunity to watch Ben’s footy via digital pass for the past two seasons as I live in Melbourne. Ben soon became o favourite of mine because of his hard at it 100% team focus. In my book silky skills win games but the one percenters win Premierships, and when it came to one percenters Ben was always at the fore-front. A great career Ben Jefferies, sorry to see you finish, but best wishes for the next chapter !!!
    As usual Malcolm a great, well researched article and an interesting read.

  7. Lyn Jefferies says

    Amazing story – had me in tears. Thank you so much for the story and positive comments.

  8. Another really great piece to read. He had a fantastic career at Norwood and can only wish him the best in the future.

  9. Sally Dillon says

    Well written. He is an amazing role model on and off the field for people of all ages.

  10. Great article. Ben was a very capable player in a side which has dominated the SANFL for most of this decade. Best wishes for the next stage of your career.

  11. Craig Fester Paech says

    Excellent article on an excellent Club servant and a good bloje as well!!

  12. Tim Wedding says

    I’ve never walked away from a redlegs game questioning this man’s effort, ever. Not a natural talent but prepared to do what it takes.

  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Dave v good point losing the hills zone definitely a huge part of our flags and agree totally re Sturt.Thanks Michael.Gary look forward to your article in the advertiser and yep,Joffa will be missed.Martin strong work ethic definitely a strength of Joffa.Michael agree completely.Lyn so you should be proud of Ben thank you.
    Campbell thank you.Sally good point re Ben being a role model.Paul thank you.Fester well said.Tim you nailed it thanks folks

  14. Yet another great article Malcolm (thank you). Well done on a great career Joffa, 68 reserves games in the day and age on top of all his league games shows just how committed he was to his club. Always dependable, big thanks Ben for all your hard work and sacrifice.

  15. Gary Bennett AKA Fisho says

    Not being able to get to the games like I used to Malcolm, I really look forward to your profiles and match reports. After a re-read of Joffa’s time at the club I now fully appreciate his efforts and know just how much he will be missed. Whilst it’s always a pleasure to read your efforts, I also enjoy the comments from your many readers. Keep up the good work.

  16. Cameron Glenn says

    Another great article. A great player for Norwood in the modern era. A shame he and a few others are retiring but all the best to them and hopefully opportunities for the younger players to step up. Not many get to celebrate winning 3 premierships either.

  17. Terry Lymbo says

    Always enjoy your articles Malcolm, another great one on Joffa.
    Like many others, I am thankful to him for his time at Norwood & wish him all the very best for the future.

  18. Malcolm Ashwood says

    JK spot on re high lighting number of res games,Joffa played showed his commitment to the red and blue a few youngsters could observe and learn.Gary agree totally and thank you.Cameron yesplaying in 3 premierships is a huge personal achievement.Terry likewise and thank you

  19. Luke Reynolds says

    Another great piece Malcolm. Always enjoy finding out the stories of the players you’ve written about in your Norwood match reports over the years. What a fantastic career Ben had.

  20. Steven Robson says

    You could often see Joffa’s decision making process translated clearly on his pained face – he would appear tortured/ gripped- his execution could sometimes be flawed BUT his courage and commitment and loyalty could never, ever be doubted or gained

  21. Rick Neagle says

    Aside from his football prowess, Joffa is a genuine, lovely bloke – a true gentleman!

  22. Michael Charles Aish says

    Every team has players like Joffa. In my opinion if you had 21 of players of Joffa’s ilk you would win more games that you would lose. Well done Ben.

  23. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke thank you.Steve agree yes Joffa not as skilled as some but the effort was unwuestionable.Neags agree totally.Aishy well said thank you

  24. Great article on a great club man Rulebook

  25. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Raj

  26. Absolute ripper of a bloke he also volunteers once a week in the Hutt St centre

  27. Ian he is a quality bloke he truly gets it

  28. Gary Bennett AKA Fisho says

    It’s with a heavy heart I have just red Simon Phillips has joined Joffa and the others in retirement. How many more players will we lose for next year. For all that I’m positive our new recruits we do our wonderful club proud. Thanks Flipper for your time at the club you will be missed.

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