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Highs and lows

Friday, 2nd January, 2015

Taylor Walker didn’t disappoint in his long-awaited return to top level football. Taylor Walker didn’t disappoint in his long-awaited return to top level football.

By Peter Argent

Barrier Daily Truth correspondent from Adelaide Peter Argent has a look at his personal top 10 highs and lows from sportsmen and women with a connection to the Silver City.

1. TAYLOR WALKER’S RETURN TO AFL FOOTBALL

Perhaps the most famous current AFL export from Broken Hill, the devastation of an ACL injury in 2013, meant ‘Tex’ had a long and tough road back to the top level of our national football code. 

Walker’s return was with the Crows  state league side in the round four match against Glenelg on ANZAC evening, April 25 and then he travelled to Clare for the inaugural SANFL clash between Adelaide and the Magpies, receiving a ‘rock star’ reception.  

Finally, after having part of his preparation at North Broken Hill the previous Thursday night, and having been away from top level football for 383 days, he returned in a contest against Collingwood in round nine on a beautiful autumn Thursday night at a newly-renovated Adelaide Oval on May 16.

The ‘big fella’ didn’t disappoint in his return being a part of the Crows win and finishing the season with 29 goals from 13 games. 

This included a six-goal haul against Brisbane and bags of five and four against the Gold Coast and West Coast respectively.   

He is also being touted as a future leader of the Crows. 

 2. HEATH CALDWELL’S SANFL DEBUT 

 Broken Hill junior, a medallist after changing clubs from South to North in 2013, Heath Caldwell added his name to a rich list of Silver City football exports who have now played SANFL league football, debuting in the round 10, Sunday fixture on June 15 at Prospect Oval against West Adelaide. 

He enjoyed the fruits of a crushing victory, as North Adelaide demolished the Bloods by a handsome 87-points. Despite not playing any more league football, he would also go on to win the club’s reserves best and fairest, being highly regarded by the coaching staff at the Roosters  

3. LACHLAN MCGREGOR’S BRILLIANT RETURN TO SANFL LEAGUE FOOTBALL

 In a dramatic return to SANFL football Lachlan McGregor’s six-goal performance was the standout effort of round one of the 2014 season. 

Pocket dynamo at just 174cm, McGregor kicked two goals in the second, an important major in the third to arrest momentum and capped it offer with three in the last. 

Woodville West Torrens collected a strong 31-point victory after leading by five points deep in the third term in this April 5 clash. 

His previous SANFL league appearance was back in 2009 with Glenelg. 

 4. STAKER’S INJURY CURSE CONTINUES

 Brisbane Lions tall utility Brent Staker faced a second comprehensive period on the sidelines after scans exposed a stress fracture of the foot.

Staker, who has missed the entire 2014 season to that point after suffering a calf tendon injury in the Lions’ first intra-club trial in early February, was due to make his return through the Lions seconds in the NEAFL. 

He is hoping for better luck in ‘15. 

The tall utility player has played 154 AFL games and turn 31 in April, 2015. 

 5. DERHAM DOMINATES AT SA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS 

 Still just 20 years of age at the time, Tom Derham dominated during the 2014 SA Country Football Championships in early July, despite his team, Southern Districts finishing on the bottom of the ladder. 

His efforts in the carnival earned Derham selection in the “team of the championships” selected at the end of the tournament. 

This was the second time he had been given this honour, being selected as a defender in the carnival of 2012. 

He would go on to play in the SA country’s win over their Western Australian counterparts and then after being omitted from the SA Redbacks emerging cricketers squad, Derham has decided to have a crack at SANFL league football in 2015. 

 6. BETTS DELIVERS 

 On an emotive early December week end across the entire cricket community the SA Scorpions produced a clean sweep against an ACT Comets side.

After a minute’s silence to honour Philip Hughes before the first game, Broken Hill teenager Sam Betts was asked to lead the attack on Saturday and Sunday, due to the injury to the team’s Australian capped bowler Megan Schutt and handled the step up well. 

 7. CLISBY DUMPED BY DEMONS 

 The West Broken Hill Robin, Mitchell Clisby played all the 2014 campaign with the Melbourne Demons VFL affiliate, the Casey Scorpions in the club’s first year under Paul Roos. 

After a solid start to the winter, he battled injury in May and June, but was not able to force his way into the senior team despite consistent form with the Scorpions in the later stages. 

On the positive side, Clisby will return to his SANFL club North Adelaide for the 2015 campaign. 

He played eight AFL games with Melbourne under Neil Craig in 2013. 

 8. CREDENTIALS ENHANCED AT SACA COUNTRY CUP

The West Broken Hill trio of batsmen Max Everuss and Curtis Jelbert, leg-spinning all rounder 

Matthew Hanberg, along team vice captain Jarred Paull from Central Broken Hill  were all members of the Murray Districts ñ Barrier side that finished a commendable fifth in the annual country cricket championships held in Adelaide during early February. 

9. ROSE WINS SA ABORIGINAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE 

Playing against the likes of former AFL champion Gavin Wanganeen, Terry Milera, Nathan Krakouer and SANFL premiership players Anthony Wilson, football journeyman Brent Rose enjoyed an SA aboriginal carnival title at Kilburn Oval in October. 

He was a part of the Narungga Tigers side that triumphed over some of the best indigenous footballers in the state, defeating Koonibba in the final.    

10. HARRISON CUMMING WINS NEFL TEAM OF THE YEAST HONOURS 

 Now playing his football with North Clare in the North Eastern Football League, a couple of hours north of Adelaide, Harrison Cumming had a big year with the Roosters. 

The versatile big man played a variety of roles for his team and was consistent all year.

At the Mail Medal presentation he was deservedly selected in the NEFL Team of the Year.

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