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Change was a blessing

Thursday, 14th July, 2011

ACHIEVER: South’s Mark Purcell could become the Under 18 games record holder. ACHIEVER: South’s Mark Purcell could become the Under 18 games record holder.

At the end of the 1998 season changes were in the wind in local football. At that stage there were Under 15 and Under 17 competitions with the older grade playing on a Friday night under lights at the Jubilee Oval.

All clubs were feeling the pinch with dwindling numbers and with the need to play juniors at senior level saw several players involved Friday night and then again on Saturday afternoon which increased the likelihood of injury or burnout.

At the request of the four clubs the BHFL held a meeting at the end of the 1998 season to discuss the options of change to the Under 17 competition.

The then chairman of the league, Brian Eddy, said; “the four clubs wanted change and it just seemed logical to change the grades to U/16 and U/18, with the younger grade coming under Broken Hill Junior Football Association and the older group under the BHFL”.

The next item on the agenda was when the competition was to be played.

All clubs were struggling with the Friday night timeslot as players wanted to have a social life, while those who were doubling up again on the Saturday to play also had to be considered.

The then vice president of the BHFL, David Sedunary, said; “Wednesday nights just suited everyone ... players had a chance to rest before their next game”.

Brian Eddy also had concerns for the umpires; “many people forget some umpires were doing Friday Night, Saturdays and in some cases two games on Sunday,” Eddy said.

“It just seemed the right thing to do to play the games as a double header on a Wednesday night and so the Under 18 competition as we know it today was born”.

The first round of the U/18 football competition was on a balmy evening in July 1999 with South defeating North and West beating Central. The playing squads were:

SOUTH - M Cetnich, R Ware, Z Pressler, S Lithgow, C Bastian, A Philp, D Parker, A Keher, S Oliver, D Stephens, S Edgecombe, A McLeod, H Slattery, 

S Grillett, H Wood, T Fornica, B Coombes, D Lewis, D Mudge, D Cochane, J Trenerry, D Hunter, J Corey.

NORTH - J Harris, L Gapps, T Flowers, J Moore, G Victory, H Verburt, D Manual, S Brooks, S Johnson, M Picken, R Hasken, M Higgs, C Mitchell, R Marks, D Kahn, S Brown, N Fraser, N Sagrestano, J Rogers, T McCully.

CENTRAL - D Files, T Garnaut, J Mallon, J Heath, L Zanette, J Daley, L Finch, K Delbridge, S Lawrence, D Walkom, S Webb, D Orr, K Ralph, J Kolinac, S Edwards, B Thomas, S Deeble, G Rodgers, W Judd, J Page.

WEST - L Hoskins, J Forner, C Ryan, J Torney, M Nelson, B Fobister, P Rawlins, A Walkom, C Grillett, L Sullivan, L Tucker, M Ferguson, P Christos, Z Smith, R Carpenter, J Novello, D Bates, P Prendos, B Stubing, M Spenser, A Verway, D Verway, H Daley, 

Results of round one of Under 18 football 1999:

South 9.12.66 def North 5.8.38

Best players; South - S Grillett, C Bastian, R Ware, D Stephens, S Oliver.

North - H Verburgt, J Moore, S Brown, N Fraser, T McCully, J Harris.

Goal kickers; South - D Stephens 3, S Grillett 2, D Cochrane 2, A Keher 1, H Wood 1.

North - unknown.

West 10.6.66 def Central 3.5.23

West best players and both teams goal kickers unknown.

Best players; Central - J Kolinac, S Edwards, T Garnaut, K Delbridge. 


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