Vale Don Price
Friday, 22nd February, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
Broken Hill football and sport in general lost one of its most iconic figures this past week as Don Price passed away, aged 71.
Price played in more than 200 games, three premierships and kicked 177 goals for the North Football Club from 1966 to 1978. He was the club’s vice-captain for three years and led the League’s goal kicking in 1972.
While he was a very good player, it was in coaching that Price truly thrived, but he had a rocky start to his senior career.
After retiring as a player, Price coached the North seniors in 1979 and blooded some quality juniors before getting the sack.
He joined Central as Vince Gauci’s assistant, and it was with the Magpies where he achieved his greatest success.
After taking over from Gauci, he coached a legendary outfit to a record-breaking five consecutive A Grade premierships from 1981 to 1985.
John ‘Noccy’ Campbell was one of the stars in that side and said that Price wasn’t your usual football coach.
“He was a little bit different, very innovative,” Campbell said.
“He’d move people around ... he changed me from a flanker into a key position player, switched Rossy Bailey from the centre onto a half-forward flank which Ross didn’t really like until he kicked 30 goals in three weeks.
“And even his game style was different,” Campbell added.
“We were a pretty short team at times and so Don told us to kick it along the ground as we would get smashed in the air.”
As well as the innovation on the field, Campbell said Price was a great coach off it as well.
“He was a very good player- manager and great at keeping players motivated,” Campbell explained.
“He could tell when the group was feeling a bit stale and stagnant, especially late in the season, and he’d organise a players’ day at his house or something like that. He looked after his players and had a great rapport with them.
“Price was a very influential figure in Broken Hill football.”
AFL Broken Hill chairman Andrew Schmidt expressed his and the AFLBH community’s sadness at Price’s passing.
“AFL Broken Hill is saddened to hear of the passing of one of the greats of Broken Hill Football and sympathy of all in football goes out to his family,” he said.
“Don Price made his mark both on and off the field as a player a coach. He had a thirst for the game and loved to engage others who shared his passion, Don had his ideas on how the game should be played and run and he was never shy in letting you know.
“Don lived and breathed sport where he represented the Silver City in both football and cricket, he was renowned for having an acute football brain and knowing how to get the best out of everyone he coached.”
Following his success with Central, Price would return sporadically to coaching for North. He was an assistant in North’s 1998 premiership and even took on the top job in 2009.
The 1998 win was particularly sweet as Price’s son Brendan was senior coach while his other two sons, Hayden and Judd, were also in the team.
Price’s daughter Tracey (now Tracey Clarke) was also an outstanding basketballer, playing at state level.
On top of a glittering football career, Price was also regarded as one of the best cricketers that this town has ever produced, having represented and captained Broken Hill on numerous occasions, and played for West Torrens in Adelaide.