Great game without a winner
Monday, 3rd June, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
Broken Hill and Far North went hammer and tong for all four quarters on Saturday in their inter-league clash but nothing could separate them when the final siren rang.
In the first Miners Cup clash since 2016, and the first ever played outside of Adelaide, Broken Hill took an inexperienced team into the game which was missing a number of first-choice players.
Their opponents Far North also had their troubles on the player front, even losing players on the morning of the game, but still fielded a competitive team.
It was a warm day at the Roxby Downs Sporting Oval, with a slight breeze favouring one end. The ground was shorter than the Alma or Jubilee Ovals but much wider.
That width suited Broken Hill somewhat with a small forward-line headed by Anthony Henderson, as well as juniors Adam McInnes and Sinele King, giving them plenty of space to work into.
Broken Hill had first use of the breeze and after some frenetic opening exchanges, they were able to strike first thanks to McInnes and the game opened up from there to an extent.
Far North had an immediate reply with Tyson Webb kicking their first goal after they’d missed a simple set shot from the goal square earlier in the term but McInnes’ second goal of the term, this time from a brilliant snap around the body, put the visitors up by seven points at quarter-time.
Zach Doyle was everywhere in the first quarter while onballers Marc Purcell, Liam King and Luke Lines put Broken Hill on top through the middle.
Far North reduced Broken Hill’s lead in the early stages of the second term as Anthony Stengle kicked truly but it was another hard-fought quarter without much scoring for either side.
Purcell was able to pounce on a shocking turnover by Far North in their defensive fifty to boot Broken Hill’s third goal but once again Far North had the answer through Michael McArthur.
Broken Hill were finding plenty of the ball but their forward entries lacked polish. Too often, balls went over the leading forwards’ heads and the lack of a proper key target was showing.
Holding a three-point halftime lead, coach Hickey swung a few changes at the break, most notably shifting Doyle to full forward to provide a taller target.
Far North must have received a rev up at halftime by their coach, former South Football Club premiership captain Matthew Daddow, because they lifted in the early part of the third quarter but were unable to make it count on the scoreboard.
Broken Hill had no such trouble, however, as McInnes kicked his third of the afternoon from their first forward fifty entry of the second half.
A free kick and goal to Doyle gave Broken Hill some breathing room but it was short lived as Far North hit back with two of their own to finally make use of the control they had in this quarter.
Broken Hill had the final say in the term as Sinele King launched a beautiful goal from outside fifty to give his side a seven-point advantage going into the final break.
King kicked his second to start the final term and Henderson might have been able to break Far North’s back if he was able to kick another goal shortly after but unfortunately he missed and the ball went from one end to the other, eventually resulting in McArthur’s third goal of the game.
Far North continued to press as Broken Hill started to tire. Broken Hill’s defenders were doing their best with Josh Cieslik, Jordan Holmes, Ty Andrews and Angus Collins working as hard as they could.
After repeated inside fifty entries, Far North finally found their seventh goal of the day to tie things up at 51-all.
It was thrilling end-to-end football as both sides threw whatever little they had left at each other, desperately trying to score.
Far North looked like they’d managed just that with a hacked ball that bounced toward the goal line before Collins produced a moment of brilliance, tapping the ball back over his head to teammates and preventing the score much to the astonishment of the crowd.
That act proved a match-saving one as the siren sounded shortly after to end the game in a draw with players from both sides out on their feet having given it their all for the previous two hours.
Captain Purcell was the standout for Broken Hill with his typical style of brute force combined with outside class. He was well supported by ball-magnet Liam King who relished getting back into the midfield for Saturday’s clash.
Luke Lines found plenty of the ball, Daniel Milne was hard at the contest while ruckman James Moran competed extremely well throughout the day. Michael Andruszkiewicz provided run and class off halfback and didn’t seem to fumble once in the four quarters.
Juniors Adam McInnes and Sinele King were superb in their representative debuts with three and two goals respectively while Cieslik, Holmes and Collins starred in defence. Cieslik’s intercept marking was a feature of the game.
For Far North, Joshua Mewburn, Craig Hall and Brendan Lehman were amongst their best while McArthur and Stengle were dangerous up forward.
Broken Hill will be disappointed to not get the win but can be proud of the way they played. The 22 that took the field all had a crack and surpassed many people’s expectations.
This result could give the combined game the spark it so desperately needs for when Far North come to Broken Hill next year and beyond.
BROKEN HILL: 2.2 3.5 6.6 7.9 (51) drew
FAR NORTH: 1.1 3.2 5.5 7.9 (51)
BH: A. McInnes 3, S. King 2, M. Purcell, Z. Doyle
FN: M. McArthur 3, T. Webb 2, A. Stengle, C. Dadleh
BH: M. Purcell, L. King, J. Cieslik, M. Andruszkiewicz, L. Lines, J. Holmes, D. Milne
FN: J. Mewburn, C. Hall, K. Deed, B. Lehman, M. McArthur, S. Clark