All sport articles
Recruiters eye Giants
Tuesday, 14th May, 2013
By Darrin Manuel
Broken Hill’s best under 15 footballers have had a glimpse at top level football during trial games against SANFL club Central Districts.
The Slater and Gordon Under 15 GWS Academy team took on the Bulldogs’ juniors in two games recently, and learned a great deal despite not registering a win.
GWS Academy coach, Dale Tonkin, said his team had shown great improvement between the two outings.
“In the first game we showcased our talent, but our work rate and effort wasn’t quite up to standard,” he said.
“We came back, we regrouped and had feedback as a team and as individuals, and this time we were super competitive.
“Most of the players got to the level required based on work ethic, and we played some really good football.”
Tonkin said by the second game many of the players had started to grasp the fundamentals required for play in higher calibre leagues.
“A lot of the kids started to understand the tools and skill-set you need to compete when you don’t have the football.
“I anticipate that most of the kids learned from the experience and it was good to see them extend themselves and understand what’s required at this higher level.
“Things like running both ways, forwards rolling up the ground, defenders becoming attacking players and midfielders working hard on spreading from the contest.
“From that game I’m sure we’ll see quite a few of our kids competing at the Combined High Schools Carnival in a few weeks, and hopefully Broken Hill will have multiple State representatives.”
The local players also fell under the eye of GWS recruiter Neville Stibbard, who travelled from Sydney to watch the games.
“I came down from Sydney to have a look, most of the boys I knew and they are developing pretty well,” he said.
“The pathway for them now is to play in these type of carnivals to come under notice ahead of the draft in three years’ time.
“It gives them very good exposure to AFL recruiters and... there’s five or six players there that we will certainly monitor really closely.”
Mr Tonkin said he wished to thank the Picton Oval Committee, Central Districts, Heath Caldwell (assistant coach), Jarrad Ruddock (runner) and all the players’ parents for making the trip possible.
Lionel loves it
Monday, 13th May, 2013
The BHFL best and fairest medal is named after him, and so are the BHFL meeting rooms, but there’s more to living legend Lionel Johnston than just football, writes Paul Armstrong
Lionel Harry Johnston was born at the Broken Hill District Hospital on December 23, 1922.
He married his sweetheart Patricia and they had children Peter, Jennifer, Christopher and Suzanne. He now has 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Sadly, Patricia passed away in 2004.
Lionel’s family lived in Silverton and his father worked for the Silverton Tramway before moving into Broken Hill during the war years.
His early education was at the Silverton public school before entering the Broken Hill High School and gaining the Intermediate Certificate.
Often he would travel by goods train into school from Silverton and on occasion did not return home until 9 at night due to the train timetable. On other occasions, Lionel would ride his bike over the rutted, dusty road back home.
During his schooling here he would stay with relatives and would later board with them when he gained work.
After school he studied accountancy, typing and shorthand at the Thompkins and Hoskins Business College. At age 17 Lionel gained employment at the North Broken Hill Limited mine and continued his studies at night.
At 19 he joined the RAAF and served for four years during those harrowing times. On joining up he was taken to Adelaide for medical tests (“Please cough, you’re in”) and was moved onto Shepparton for training then to Bradfield Park in Sydney before being posted to Townsville.
After a few months Lionel was posted to the Signals Security Section of 45 Operational Base in Port Moresby when the battle was taking place on the Kokoda Track. He spent his 20th and 21st birthdays in camp. Lionel said wryly, “We flew to Port Moresby by Short Sunderland Flying Boat and we were herded into a stripped out plane like a herd of sheep.”
During his service Lionel was involved with a number of American soldiers and was a cipher assistant who took care of the aircraft secret codes during combat.
Apart from travelling up the Kokoda Track to the Red Cross hut, Lionel was also at the base which was strafed by Japanese bombers on occasions, with his steel hat his only comfort. In one raid more than 100 enemy planes bombed the area, but he was not injured.
“In an effort to supplement our diet we bartered with the Fuzzy Wuzzies to take us out fishing,” he said. “We would catch 15 fish and in return give them tinned fruit.”.
After spending 17 and half months in the tropical heat, Lionel returned home on leave only to strike snow at Orange on the journey. Later he was posted to RAAF Eastern Headquarters in Double Bay, Sydney for a short period. He was then moved to Morotai Island by HMAS Kanimbla.
Lionel was then sent to an island between Borneo and the Philippines called Labuan, with the advanced echelon of the 1st Tactical Air force, in preparation for the invasion of Singapore.
With a faint tremble in his voice, Lionel said “The Atomic bomb was dropped in Japan while I was there. The invasion thus became redundant.”
He was discharged in 1946 and recommenced work at the North mine as a Pay Clerk. Later he was appointed as the Correspondence Clerk. With a smile he added, “I was in charge of the girl typists and was an assistant to the manager’s secretary.”
Lionel later moved to the Personnel Department as Registrar and continued his work until that fateful day in 1982 when he took retirement at age 59. He had worked for the North mine for 43 and half years, an outstanding effort.
Sport played a major part in the Johnston family’s life over many decades and the sound of red ball on willow bat is entrenched through three generations.
“I began playing cricket with my brothers when we were young lads and I played under the captaincy of my father in the Silverton cricket team. In the early days we would play against Cockburn in home and away matches. The travelling was a bit tough.”
After the war, Lionel, Ron and Allen Johnston played with the Austen and Tom Brown brothers in the St Peter’s team. Lionel then joined Central and played in Premierships in 1961-2 and 62-3. In the 1961 season Lionel created a long lasting record of 59 wickets in a season.
Because of his sensational efforts for Central over the years he became a founding member and No1 Life Member.
Through the decades Lionel played in tennis teams in Silverton, Broken Hill and the North mine with premierships resulting. Later he took on table tennis and acquitted himself very well over many years.
He is also a foundation member of the Eagles baseball club which was born from the Sunday morning tennis players. Then there is his passion for the art of golf.
“I love it. I am in the Sunrise Golfers squad but there are only two of us left as the others have passed away. My mate Neil Terrell and I hit off at daybreak and play three times a week over nine holes. It keeps us fit.”
In an outstanding effort, Lionel celebrates 50 years of involvement with the BH Football League this year. He continues to work at the Jubilee Oval and assists where possible at 90 years of age.
In 1964 he was requested to help the League when a secretary was required. “I agreed to help for a couple of weeks; I’ve been there fifty years.”
Also in his tenure he was on the SANFL Affiliated Leagues Council for 10 years.
Today Lionel volunteers his time to a sport much loved by him and for the youngsters coming through the ranks. With a wink, he said “I love driving the ride on lawn mower around the Jubilee Oval.”
The following awards were for meritorious service; SANFL merit award for service to football, National Australian Football council merit award for service to football, Commonwealth Award-Services to sport, BH City Council Australian of the Year 1987, Barrier District Cricket League Life Member, Central District Cricket Club Life Member, BH Football League Life Member, and BH Football Association Life Member.
In 1998 the Middleton medal was renamed the Lionel Johnston Medal for the BHFL’s best and fairest player and last year the BHFL meeting rooms were named Lionel Johnston House.
There are so many superlatives we can use in describing Lionel Johnston and his efforts within the community. I think we can agree that Lionel is an exceptional person and a wonderful Living Legend.
Monday, 13th May, 2013
By Darrin Manuel
Broken Hill has stunned Far North and reclaimed the Miners Cup with a commanding 39 point win at AAMI Stadium.
Coach David Ruddock’s plan to outrun his opposition paid dividends as the match wore on, with Broken Hill extending its lead at each break.
The Broken Hill team got away to a shaky start in the first quarter, squandering several chances in front of goal before Nathan Kickett took a strong contested mark and kicked truly to get the team’s first major score on the board.
Far North were playing undisciplined football and often hugged the boundary, while Broken Hill surged through the middle of the ground at every opportunity to take a three-point lead into quarter time.
Codie Howard opened the second quarter in sensational style, spinning through tackles and fending off to inspire his teammates with a great goal.
Ben Perkins and Justin Heath then got involved in the scoring, slotting majors after marking inside the 50 metre arc.
Midway through the second term Far North finally found their rhythm, and kicked three of the next four goals with sharp, direct football through the corridor.
A goal to co-captain Jayden Kelly before half time maintained some breathing space, and allowed Broken Hill to take an 18-point buffer into the long break.
Kelly and Ruddock were both vocal during half time, and implored their charges to exploit the opposition’s lack of fitness.
The players responded with a workmanlike third quarter that resulted in two goals to Perkins and a trademark running goal to Anthony Henderson.
Broken Hill’s dominance led to a boilover of frustration for Far North, with one of their players punching youngster Cohen Pettitt behind play and sparking a heated response from Broken Hill.
Pettitt and his teammates would have the last laugh however, with Henderson kicking the opening goal of the last quarter before Pettitt launched a 50m bomb to secure a 39-point lead and effectively end the contest.
Far North managed two more goals in the final quarter, but never looked truly threatening as Broken Hill answered with goals to Heath and Jelbert.
Broken Hill’s best player was Centre Half Back Brenton Zanette, who shut down his opponent and controlled the backline with strong marking and spoiling.
He was well supported in defence by Jake Napier, Brent Rose and Matt Dempster who all provided significant drive out of the back half.
Jayden Kelly and Jordan Johns vindicated their selections as co-captains with outstanding performances, with Johns’ final quarter particularly impressive.
Heath Caldwell, Justin Heath, Cohen Pettitt, Codie Howard and Ben Perkins were also solid contributors throughout the match.
After the match Ruddock lauded the effort of his backline, and said all players had done their city proud.
“It was very, very good, they came out as expected and hit us hard early, but we knew we had the overall run and onball rotation to get us through,” he said.
“The backline was great, but all the players played to instruction.
“We had no passengers today, and when you take 23 players away and they all perform, you’re always going to come away pretty happy as a coach.”
The players’ efforts were appreciated by team sponsor CFMEU, who allowed the players to keep their blue and gold guernseys.
“It’s just reward for their efforts,” said BIC President, Danny O’Connor.
“We’re very proud of how the boys represented Broken Hill today, the way all players have done so over the years.
“They’ve come out and stood up for Broken Hill, and it’s just a small token of our appreciation.”
Broken Hill: 13.16 (94) def Far North: 8.7 (55)
Goalkickers: Perkins 3, Heath, Kickett, Henderson 2, Howard, Kelly, Pettitt, Jelbert
Bulldogs back our boys
Saturday, 11th May, 2013
By Darrin Manuel
The Broken Hill combined team has turned to SANFL giant Central Districts in its quest to bring home the Miners Cup.
Coach David Ruddock handed his players over to Bulldogs officials yesterday for a final training session at Playford Alive Oval in Elizabeth ahead of today’s clash with Far North at AAMI Stadium.
The players were put through their paces by Jeff Brown, who coaches the Bulldogs reserves and also handles some of the country’s elite young talent as head coach of the SA Under 20 team.
Ruddock said Central Districts’ offer to train the players and allow them to use their facilities had furthered the club’s relationship with Broken Hill.
“They’ve been very good to Broken Hill football, especially with our younger kids and providing equipment, and we’re very appreciative,” he said.
The players did some light running before setting up for some skills work and drills focusing on quick ball movement.
“The training was good. We’ve been training very, very well for the past few weeks actually,” said Ruddock.
“The bus ride was OK, but this was a good chance to get out and stretch our legs and get out any travel soreness.
“The players looked sharp, and it was great to have Jeff take them. He’s really lifted the team and I’m sure they’ll take a lot of it.”
Brown offered some local knowledge on how to approach the game, and implored the players to keep AAMI’s Stadium’s wide spaces in mind.
He stressed the importance of blocking the opponent’s run, and even being willing to be caught holding the ball if it results in a stoppage and prevents the opposition from running away with the ball.
“To play on Footy Park is a big event, and footy will be finishing up there soon so they will be one of the last teams to play there,” he said
“But there’s a lot of space at the ground which the players have to consider. It’s also good to use the corridor rather than going around the boundary.”
Brown wished the players well in their match, and said he had enjoyed the opportunity to work with them.
“It’s been great, they’re all keen as mustard. I think you know exactly what you’re going to get from them.
“It’s going to be a very quick game and I really hope the players do well and represent their city well.”
The only hurdle to returning home victorious will be the Far North squad, and Ruddock said he expects a physical contest early.
“It’s the same as usual. We’ve got a smaller side and they will come out with a big side and try and hit us hard early,” he said.
“We’ve just got to stay with them in the first quarter then maybe run away with it as the game goes on - we have a side capable of doing that.”
There could also be more than just Miners Cup glory on the line for the team’s younger players, with Central Districts Development Manager, Scott Stephens, suggesting players could further their careers with a good showing.
“A lot of players don’t get the opportunity to play on Football Park - even at SANFL level you only get a run out there in the finals,” said Stephens
“A few of the young blokes could even get an opportunity with league clubs. There’ll be clubs here having a look so you never know what could happen.”
The game will begin at 10.05am today and will be played as a curtain raiser to the AFL clash between Richmond and Port Adelaide.
Arch rivals turn it on
Monday, 6th May, 2013
North has claimed top spot on the ladder with a hard-fought 12-point win over the Roos on Saturday.
The contest was virtually a game of two halves and missed opportunities.
The Roos won the toss and ran to the Essential Energy end in the opening term but it was the Bulldogs who started the better with the now fab four doing most of the damage.