Draw ends heavyweight thriller
Monday, 11th April, 2011
The two heavyweight clubs of Broken Hill Football produced the most thrilling contest in recent history to open the 2011 season.
In a game worthy of grand final status, South and Central were locked at 94 points apiece when the final siren sounded.
There are no winners when a draw is the result but it's the Magpies who deserve the kudos.
As a team they rose from the canvas in the last quarter to stage a remarkable fight back. Down by 26 points at the last change and with no fit players left on the bench the reigning champs showed they have plenty of character and class.
It was stirring stuff from Central. All over the field they lifted when all seemed lost and, with just over a minute to go and seven points down, it was veteran mid fielder Karl Wilmore who stood up. He shrugged off two or three South players to burst through a pack and goal. The difference was back to a solitary point.
From the grandstand you could sense Central knew they were in with a chance.
As the clock counted down Central won the ball out of the mid field, Jackson McInnes who had been moved to full forward marked and with the match in the balance went back but from a tight angle could only register a point.
With the scores level and the ball in the Magpies forward line the siren sounded to end a classic encounter.
As players from both sides slumped to the ground exhausted, supporters of both teams showed their appreciation - they had just witnessed an epic battle between two proud clubs.
The reaction from the opposing coaches was mixed - Central boss Jarred Hinton was pleased with what he saw.
"I'm happy with the boys, we were five to six goals down at one stage it was really good going for the guys, we had four on the bench injured, the boys done well to come back."
In the South camp their coach Robert Hickey was in no mood post match to mince his words.
"Basically our mistakes kept them in the game, turnovers at will, kicking, handballing, unable to take a mark in space, a lot of work to do. I'm not happy."
For the first three quarters though, both coaches would have been pleased with some of what they saw.
On winning the toss the Roo's kicked to the city end, aided by a 3-4 goal breeze, some of the interesting line ups for South were Ty Corey at centre half forward. He was flanked by Phil Neal and Dustin Stephens; Billy Dolan was in the middle after three years absence. Jordan Holmes started in the ruck while Aiden Pettit was on the grandstand wing.
The structure of Central was strong with Wade Gepp at full forward and Matt Collins at centre half forward. Ben Files was at centre half back and Brenton Zanette in the middle.
The story of the match was the wind was going to be a decisive factor and it was - of the 29 goals scored for the game, 20 were at the city end.
In a tight, tough match there were some outstanding performances. At half time South moved Cody Schorn to full forward; the 18 year old birthday boy celebrated with four goals in the third quarter to give him five for the match.
At the other end Wade Gepp did what Wade Gepp does best - made the impossible look easy and the easy look impossible.
He finished with four goals and a mark which will be a contender for mark of the year and a goal from the scoreboard pocket that was unbelievable.
For the Roos it was pleasing to see Billy Dolan back in red and white. I thought he was their best player. Corey is a huge pick up, Vlatko across half back looks fitter than last year, Pettitt on the wing has a future, new skipper Westley is a gun, Neal and Stephens provided the class while the O'Brien brothers can run, kick and think at the same time, a rarity in any football team.
It was a similar situation with Central, who had a number of good players also, however their cause was hampered by injuries - Collins at centre half forward looks the goods, a corked thigh ended his day, Lawrence was the best ruckman on the ground until a troublesome hamstring sent him to the bench, Anderson has a right knee that is still swollen, Jenkin's shoulder injury was a blow to the youngster while McInnes, although injured, was forced to stay on the ground.
Apart from them, Heath was inspirational, Jelbert across half forward worked hard, McClure was tough and dependable in the back half, Wilmore was the driver when the game was up for grabs, Files used the ball well while Power and Roberts both had their moments.
This was a great game of football, players from both sides should be congratulated for the manner and spirit in which they approached the contest.
They certainly have set the bench mark for the 2011 season.
Final Scores: Central 14-10 (94) drew with South 15-4 (94)
Best Players: (C) Justin Heath, Curtis Jelbert, James McClure, Shane Lawrence, Karl Wilmore, Wade Gepp.
(S) Billy Dolan, Cody Schorn, Mick Vlatko, Phil Neal, Aiden Pettitt, Michael Westley.
Goalkickers (C) Wade Gepp 4, Matt Collins 2, Curtis Jelbert 2, Alec Bray 2, Sean Power 1, Jay Carapellotti 1, Matt Sowden 1, Karl Wilmore 1.
(S) Cody Schorn 5, Wes Burns 2, Ty Corey 2, Billy Dolan 1, Dustin Stephens 1, Phil Neal 1, Marc Purcell 1, Marcus O'Brien 1.