Historic double header cancelled
Saturday, 29th May, 2021
By By Emily Ferguson
Today was set to be a historic day for AFL Broken Hill, hosting a double header of Men’s and Women’s combined games at the Jubilee Oval.
The women were originally scheduled to take on the Sunraysia League in the first combined game representing Broken Hill since 2017. However, with recent COVID outbreaks in Victoria, the Sunraysia women’s side are unable to travel due to the seven-day lockdown. The Miner’s Cup will still resume for the men, taking on the Far North League following a draw in the 2019 clash in Roxby Downs.
AFL Broken Hill Chairman, Andrew Schmidt said he is really looking forward to today and he is confident the local side can get the job done.
“This Saturday was set to be a bit of an historic one, because not only do we have the men playing a combined game here in the first since 2007, but the women were also going to be part.
“We’ve been really, really impressed with the passion shown by players - male and female - to the concept and the idea, and making themselves available to wear the Broken Hill jumper, which is fantastic.
“We’ve got some very talented players. We’ve had players from both teams swapping shifts so they can play and train,” said Schmidt.
“Our coaches, Robert Hickey and Phil Neal have been doing a wonderful job and we’re pretty excited about Saturday. The people of Broken Hill have been asking for so long, ‘We want to watch some combined footy’. Well, we’re bringing it to the oval on Saturday and, if you want to support it, come and have a look because you’re going to see the best male and female players in town.”
“The women were the last ones to have a combined game here, but to have the two on the one day has never happened before. It’ll be a great promotion for footy locally. We’ve had such a huge start to the year with the double-headers, the ANZAC weekend, the Heath Shaw marquee game and now this weekend, so it’s been a pretty big start to our footy year,” he said.
Schmidt said the last men’s combined game that was held in Broken Hill was back in 2007, “Over the journey, because our combined side was playing for the Miner’s Cup in Adelaide at either Footy Park or Adelaide Oval you’re committed to that, there’s no room for another game.
“Local people have said quite often over that fourteen years that we need to get combined footy back to Broken Hill, so when the game in Adelaide lapsed due to a couple of reasons; one, obviously trying to find a time slot before a Port Adelaide game, and the other was that the cost was just going through the roof because we had to pay Adelaide Oval and that to open the gates early.
“So we revisited the concept and started negotiations with the Far North League in 2018, which saw us play a combined game in Roxby (Downs) in 2019 and that game finished in a draw, and, for the concept, was brilliant,” he said.
“Obviously last year, we had no footy, so we’ve been working overtime behind the scenes to bring combined footy back.
“We started negotiations with the Sunraysia league - their women played here in 2017. They were keen for us to go to Mildura so we did a bit of a deal; they’ve agreed to come back this year so we can have that double-header and then next year we’re quite happy then to travel to play the Sunraysia League down there,” said Schmidt.
As part of the agreement, AFL Broken Hill will cover the costs of the accommodation for the men travelling here to play today, and they’ll do likewise when Broken Hill travels next year.
“We’ve had to source sponsors and we’ve been very lucky with Epiroc as our major sponsor for the Miner’s Cup. Also, CBH Resources, The Radford Family at BHP, Toyota and MCA which is a mining company, have also been very generous with their support as well.
The concept of the Miner’s Cup in the Men’s team was an idea from the SANFL over fifteen years ago. According to Schmidt, it’s still continuing today to bring the two mining communities together. “The footy is pretty serious, they take it fair dinkum, people are going to see some good footy played,” he said.
“We want to win both games if we can...We want to win the Miner’s Cup back, it’s been sitting in Roxby Downs for too long now.”