Today’s AFL Broken Hill Men’s A-Grade Grand Final at Jubilee Oval is shaping up to be an enticing contest between South and West, with both sides having plenty to prove and hoping the result goes their way come the final siren.
South, who has featured in every Grand Final since 2009, will be hoping to claim its seventh premiership in eight seasons today, while West hasn’t played off in a Grand Final since 2007 – and hasn’t won a premiership since 1990.
South swept many awards at the League’s awards night earlier in the week, with captain Marc Purcell taking home the prestigious Lionel Johnston Medal and having already claimed a trophy this year with a pre-season Lightning Cup victory in April. South has been the in-form team of the competition.
The contest between the two sides will begin in the middle with Marc Purcell and Brock Ellis leading the way for South and West, respectively. Up forward, Cody Schorn is the competition’s best goalkicker. In the regular season, he kicked 97 goals – 28 of which came against West. Lachlan Harvey has kicked 33 goals for West this season, but in games against South, Daniel Milne has kicked 10 goals.
Across the minor rounds, the Roos won all but one game, their only blemish being a 13-point loss back in Round 2 – against their Grand Final opponent – on the way to a first-place finish come the end of the season.
Heading into today’s match-up, South coach Craig Thomas said the team felt fresh having enjoyed the week off – though they did go to support the Women’s and Reserves teams – adding that it should be a good encounter against West, unfazed by the Round 2 result that “seems like a lifetime ago”.
“We will continue to do what we’ve been doing all year.”
“West’s smalls were very quick and they used the ball really well on Saturday,” he said.
“We’re aware of that already. Leading into this weekend, we won’t change anything up. We will continue to do what we’ve been doing all year.
“West beat us in Round 2 – the only team that’s beat us this year – but we’re a different looking outfit now in the backend of this year than we were in the first round or two. West are going to come, they’re going to play their fast brand of footy, they use that short game pretty good. We’ll be ready for it and our side is ready to go as well.
“It’s great for footy to have West in the Grand Final, it’s been a long time. The West supporters are going to get around them and our supporters have been behind us all year so we’re looking forward to it. We’re taking in a full list and we’re really excited about getting the job done on Saturday.”
West started the 2023 season well and were top of the ladder after Round 2 following wins against Central and South. The Robins finished third on the ladder with seven wins and eight losses across the regular season, winning their way into the Grand Final after defeating North by 27 points in the preliminary final.
West coach, Nathan Pearce, told us that he felt there was no pressure on his side, with a pre-season goal of making the Grand Final achieved, noting that anything can happen on the day to break the 33-year drought.
“We’ve got some things that we tried [against South] throughout the year and some worked and some didn’t. We’ll use those ones that worked and we’ll go in there with a full squad.
“As long as we play to our strengths and our game plan, we give ourselves every chance. South are a tough side and they’ve proven that the last few years. But I truly believe that if we can keep our structures and play to our style, we can come away with a win.”
The Men’s A-Grade Grand Final between South and West gets underway today at Jubilee Oval from 2.45pm.
Key stats in 2023:
Average points for: South 143.5, West 75.5
Average points against: South 34.1, West 87.9
Average winning margin: South 110.27, West 68.3
Average losing margin: South 13.0, West 83.1
Previous meetings in 2023:
Round 2: West 12.4 (76) defeated South 9.9 (63)
Round 5: West 12.5 (77) defeated by South 19.8 (122)
Round 8: South 29.20 (194) defeated West 3.0 (18)
Round 11: South 33.16 (214) defeated West 5.2 (32)
Round 14: West 4.8 (32) defeated by South 21.25 (151)