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Women take centre stage

Saturday, 10th June, 2017

Broken Hill women’s combined team players Makayla Berg (left) and Bec Wall with coach Sheldon Hall. Wall will captain the side against Sunraysia today. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Broken Hill women’s combined team players Makayla Berg (left) and Bec Wall with coach Sheldon Hall. Wall will captain the side against Sunraysia today. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

The first official women’s representative AFL game held locally will be on today as Broken Hill takes on Sunraysia’s best at the Jubilee Oval.

Broken Hill had previously played a combined women’s game in 2012 against Port Lincoln as a curtain raiser to the Miner’s Cup.

Port Lincoln also travelled to town for an end-of-season trip and played a scratch match later that year but this will be the first official combined match on Broken Hill soil.

With the Miner’s Cup having been scratched, this will be AFL Broken Hill’s only combined game in 2017.

This will be Sunraysia’s only combined game as well for the season and the first time they have produced a combined women’s side.

Broken Hill’s team has a wide selection of players from the four clubs; six from North, seven from South, four from West and six from Central.

They have been hit by the unavailability of several top line players such as Phoebe Knell, Penny Billings and Britt Tangey. 

Central women’s coach Sheldon Hall was put in charge of this combined team with assistant John Schorn.

However, Schorn will take a much bigger role today as Hall will not be allowed onto the ground due to a suspension he picked up playing reserves last week.

Despite this setback, Hall said that his team is feeling confident ahead of the big clash.

“We are quietly confident of our chances,” Hall said.

“We know we have to play our style of game to be able to compete with Sunraysia.

“The lead up has been really good,” Hall added.

“The girls have gelled really well over the past four weeks and there’s a good vibe heading into the game.”

South’s Bec Wall has been named captain for the side and leads the defence alongside the experienced Courtney Garnaut and Stevie Robinson. 

Broken Hill’s midfield has quality with Chelsea Masclet, Paige Cuy, Monique Simmons and West’s Charlotte Curtis who has dominated the ruck this season, finishing each of her six games in West’s top six, but it’s their forward line that looks very dangerous.

Melisa Keenan, Cassie Robinson and Eliza Cumming sit one two and three on the League goal kicking list respectively and they’re backed up by young stars Shelby Raven and Makayla Berg. If they get enough opportunity, this forward line could be the difference in the game.

Broken Hill’s women’s competition was founded in 2012 while Sunraysia’s began in 2016 but expanded this year from four to six teams.

Sunraysia Football League’ Game Development Coordinator Samantha Bice, who will also be playing in today’s game, said that what the Sunraysia team lacks in height, they make up for in other areas.

“We’ve picked a very strong, fast team but we do lack a bit of height,” she said.

“The girls have been training well for the last month and are really excited to represent Sunraysia.”

Sunraysia’s team will be led by captain Lorianne Lowerson and her deputy Taleah Dolic. Lowerson was the Sunraysia women’s league’s inaugural medalist for the competition’s best and fairest player while Dolic can play all over the ground. 

“She (Lowerson) controls the game from across half back and reads the ball like no other,” Bice said.

“(Dolic) has the height to impact all over the ground and would have one of the team’s longest kicks.”

Bice herself is no slouch, having finished runner up to Lowerson in the best and fairest count last year.

AFL BH Chairman Andrew Schmidt believes the game will be fiercely contested.

“There’s no doubt that the Sunraysia girls are pumped up for the game,” Schmidt said.

“So we’re hoping that the football public in town get behind the game and make it a great day.”

The League is encouraging everyone to come along by offering a flat $5 entry fee on the day. As well as the women’s combined game, there will be a junior girl’s game as a curtain raiser and a game of Auskick at halftime of the combined match.

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