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Rep footy back on the table

Friday, 1st February, 2019

Heath Harris in action during the 2015 Miners Cup played at Adelaide Oval. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke Heath Harris in action during the 2015 Miners Cup played at Adelaide Oval. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke

By Tyler Hannigan

Representative football could return this season but only with full commitment from all parties, says AFL Broken Hill chairman Andrew Schmidt.

Local footballers have been unable to represent Broken Hill on the football field since the Miners Cup was last held in 2016. The game was played as a curtain raiser to AFL games in Adelaide between Broken Hill and the Far North League until an agreement on dates for 2017 could not be reached.

While the curtain raiser slot is no longer an option, the game itself has the backing of both leagues although it will need the local clubs to be fully committed. 

“We have been in talks with the Far North League in South Australia about a combined game in Roxby Downs this year,” Schmidt said. 

“We are discussing the logistics of such a game and part of the deal is they would play in Broken Hill in 2020 but we need the clubs to support it 100 per cent at next Tuesday’s meeting for it to proceed.”

If the game does go ahead, Broken Hill will be keen to avenge their 2016 loss to the Far North at Adelaide Oval. The Broken Hill side featured the likes of South’s Cody Schorn and Marc Purcell, North’s Jayden Kelly and Eddie Morgan, West’s Liam King and Central’s Justin Heath just to name a few.

David Ruddock coached the side for the eighth time in 2016 and while he isn’t sure if he would put his hand up to coach a ninth, he admitted he’s eager to see it return.

“I would love to have it back,” Ruddock said.

“It’s a really good experience for all involved, especially the players. They get the chance to play with and against different blokes, and are forced to take their game to another level. It also helps the development of younger players a lot.”

A veteran of those Miners Cup clashes is North player-coach Codie Howard and he echoes Ruddock’s sentiments.

“I would love to see rep footy return,” Howard said. 

“I know myself and a lot of players across the league have a great sense of pride when representing Broken Hill and itís an opportunity I would hate to see lost. 

“There is no doubt all players who get the opportunity to play at that higher level, where it is a quicker and a higher skilled game, definitely come back to our local league more improved footballers.”

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