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Boys did us proud: Hickey

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019

Robert Hickey addresses the Broken Hill players at halftime in Roxyby Downs on Saturday. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Robert Hickey addresses the Broken Hill players at halftime in Roxyby Downs on Saturday. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

Broken Hill may have fallen short of a famous victory on Saturday but coach Robert Hickey was full of praise for his players after the game.

“I’m just so proud of the boys,” Hickey said following the thrilling draw.

“It was hard getting a group together to come so the positive out of this is that 22 players have come and some of those players may not have ever had a chance to play rep footy. That includes the juniors (Adam McInnes and Sinele King) who kicked five of our seven goals.”

The team that represented Broken Hill was far from a full-strength one but the players that did take the field were extremely committed to the cause.

That commitment was shown by the likes of Linden Cox who drove 12-hours back from Maitland before flying out to Adelaide on Friday night with fellow players Jordan Cox, Josh Cieslik, Tarrant Wood and Angus Collins who had to work on the Friday. They were then flown to Roxby Downs early on Saturday morning for the game.

Others, such as James Moran, took leave from work for the opportunity to play having been a late call up to the squad.

Hickey was understandably disappointed not to take the win in his first game as Broken Hill coach and put it down to a lack of composure at critical times.

“To get nutted on the line and end up with a draw was disappointing as we led all day,” he admitted.

“It was just a few elementary mistakes; a few skill errors probably cost us in the end. It was just little things like how we’d turn the ball over on the wing with a dropped mark and it would turn into a contest instead of us being fifty metres downfield.”

There were excuses for those errors considering the intensity and pace the game was played at which Hickey likened to a grand final.

“We talked before the game about how the intensity was going to be finals-like,” Hickey said.

“For many of the blokes it was four or five times what they’re normally used to but they equipped themselves well.”

Broken Hill held superiority in the midfield for most of the game, led by the likes of captain Mark Purcell, Liam King and Luke Lines, although Broken Hill’s forward fifty entries left a lot to be desired.

“Our midfielders in Purcell, King, (Daniel) Milne and Lines did fantastic while James (Moran) in the ruck was great as well,” Hickey said.

“Unfortunately, we probably wasted a lot of ball going inside fifty, especially in the first half.” 

Hickey believes Saturday’s game will hold the players in good shape with their own games going forward.

“These guys will grow out of this,” he said. “The younger guys that played and put their hand up their development will be fantastic and the senior guys like Daniel Milne and Liam King, they’ve now played a game similar to a grand final in its intensity and that’ll be good for their development when they head back to the West Football Club.

“The 22 that took the field will all be better footballers for it in our own competition.”

For all the trials and tribulations, Saturday’s effort made it worthwhile in Hickey’s view.

“We provided a contest and the winner is going to be Broken Hill that will see combined footy again next year,” he said.

“I’m just very proud, as most people would have written us off with the team we came here with.” 

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