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It’s an honour to play for BH

Monday, 3rd June, 2019

Broken Hill skipper Marc Purcell breaks away from Far North’s Paul Haynes. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Broken Hill skipper Marc Purcell breaks away from Far North’s Paul Haynes. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

He might have a number of representative games to his name but it’s always an honour and privilege to pull on the blue and gold guernsey of Broken Hill, according to Marc Purcell.

Purcell’s first representative trip came as a fresh-faced 18-year old where he was 23rd man and was limited to running duties. He made his on-field debut in 2013 while the Miners Cup fixture was still played in Adelaide as a curtain raiser to a Port Power AFL game.

The star midfielder and South Football Club skipper was named as captain for Broken Hill ahead of their combined match against Far North on Saturday with West’s Daniel Milne appointed as his deputy.

“I was co-captain with Ed Morgan (in 2015) but Rudds (David Ruddock) sacked us the following year because we lost,” Purcell joked.

“But it is a massive honour (to captain Broken Hill). It’s a huge honour to captain South back home and to lead these boys is the same way.

“It’s a proud moment.”

As is always the case with away games, the side was far from full-strength with a number of first choice players being unavailable through injury as well as work and family commitments but Purcell said he was never going to miss out.

“I just love playing footy,” Purcell said.

“And to get together with some guys that I’ve never played with before is a really good opportunity and I just love coming on the trip.

“You get to see different personalities and get out of your comfort zone.”

While some players preferred to stay home, there was still plenty of talent that did make the trip including Milne, West co-captain Liam King, South defenders Angus Collins and Jordan Holmes, North livewire Anthony Henderson, and Central hard-nuts Linden Cox and James Bressanelli.

Purcell said that he was really looking forward to taking the field with Milne as opposed to against him. The pair have had a number of quality contests through the years including when Milne laid a heavy, and fair, bump on Purcell back in 2016 that put the South star out of action for two months.

As well as those experienced players, Purcell said he was excited by the juniors - Adam McInnes, Tarrant Wood, Sinele King and Dylan Foggo - that made the trip.

“Skinner (McInnes) probably had his best senior game last weekend so it (the combined trip) was a great opportunity for him and I’m glad he jumped at it,” Purcell said.

“As with Taz (Wood), I’m a massive fan of Taz, and just seeing Sinele around, he’s a big boy and if Central can hold onto him they’ll be going well because he could be very good.”

Most of players that made themselves unavailable did so due to sincere reasons such as family (Cody Schorn) and work (Jayden Kelly), while Codie Howard was all set to make yet another appearance for Broken Hill until injuring his calf in last weekend’s game.

And while Purcell was at his diplomatic best when commenting on players that might not have had the most genuine excuses for missing the trip, he believes that trips like this are more than worth your time as a player.

“I don’t want to say anything negative, everyone has their own reasons,” Purcell said.

“But if you get the chance to come you’d be stupid not to. Pretty much the whole trip is paid and it helps your own game being able to play with different people, as everyone has their own style and it’s a lot different playing with them as opposed to against them.”

The players that did take to the park on Saturday played with brilliant endeavour, leading most of the day until running out of legs late and hanging on for a draw. Purcell was Broken Hill’s standout player with his efforts being recognised as their best on ground.

Far North are committed to playing in Broken Hill for next season’s rep game and while the future beyond that is unclear, you can rest assured that ‘Nugget’ will be among the first to put his hand up if available.

“If I get chosen (I’ll play),” Purcell said.

“Unless I have a work or family commitment, but I’m lucky on the work front (because of) the position I’m in, so if I’m available I’ll be playing.”

‘Nugget’ won’t have to worry about being chosen, he’s first picked.

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