Saturday, 23rd May, 2015
A Broken Hill combined side travels to Adelaide today to renew the battle with Far North in the eighth instalment of the Miners Cup.
Coaches and selectors have had a torrid time in the past week trying to come up with a side after many of the city’s best players have made themselves unavailable due to work or injury.
I just wonder why it is still called the Miners Cup, as the local mining industry has not got behind the concept in any way, shape or form.
In fact, the concept has received more support from a local union branch than the mines, and so we are left with a team that is arguably the weakest we have ever sent away to represent the city.
As it stands Far North hold the advantage, leading four wins to Broken Hill’s three, and if we keep going down to our rivals the Miners cup as we know could fold, as Broken Hill and Far North are the envy of every South Australian country competition.
Over the years the Far North side has had a key target up forward and by all reports they will again have a bean pole inside the forward 50. While our back half isn’t the tallest it has got pace and grunt at ground level.
Across the last line the locals will start Ellis, Harris and Thompson, with the main objective to get the ball on the ground so Harris and Co can use their pace to run the ball from the back half.
Across half back it will be an all South combination with O’Brien, Blacksell and Schorn. All three are defensively very good and are confident in attacking the ball and at starting forward movements from the back half, with Schorn and O’Brien always looking to get amongst the goalkickers.
With Adelaide Oval providing plenty of space on the outside the centre line of Milne, Johns and Cumming will play a huge role.
Pace will be the key from half back to half forward and Broken Hill’s ability to run and carry the footy will be paramount, as will the ability to find players down field.
We cannot afford to turn the ball over with poor disposal.
The half forward lines could well be our match winner with Shapter and Morgan playing outside roles. Both Shapter and Morgan have been in really good form, both in attacking the ball and the contest, and I would expect them to play starring roles on Sunday.
The side’s full forward line is full of talent with Cody Schorn headlining inside forward 50. If the team can get the ball inside 50 enough then our chances are much greater, but I feel Schorn must get a bag full if we are to win.
Anthony Henderson has been ruled out of the Miners Cup team after pinging the hamstring at the final training session. However, West’s inform defender Jordan Tonkin received a late call up. Tonkin’s flexibility to play back may well allow Coach David Ruddock to release tough onballer Ben Thompson back into the midfield.
In the other pocket is Gepp, who has become the opportunist around goals and his ground level work will also be important to the side.
However, for the locals it will all start in the middle; we must be able to get first hands on the footy in the square and at the stoppages, and a lot will be asked of Rayner along with Pettitt who will start on the bench.
Both have big shoes to fill in the absence of Nelson and they must get involved in a big way. Supporting the big men will be Kelly and Purcell who are big ball winners for their clubs and both use the ball very well. I expect them to be at their best on Sunday with their ability to carry the ball and setting the forwards for scoring chances.
On the bench the locals will start with Martin who can work hard around the goals; Masclet, who can play across the middle or in the middle; Pettitt, who will share the ruck load; and Billings who can play down back or up forward.
It will come down to the team’s willingness to work hard on the wide spaces and to be able to spread quickly to create space and quick ball movement, with a huge emphasis placed on disposal.
While it is not our strongest side I still feel it will be competitive and they will give a creditable showing, but under the circumstances I think that Far North will again prevail and regain the Miners Cup in 2015, and take a 5-3 lead overall.
Far North by 40 points
Head to Head - Far North 4 - Broken Hill 3
Last Meeting - Far North 22.8 (140) Broken Hill 10.11 (71)