By Peter Argent
The Glenelg Football Club is intrinsically connected to Broken Hill through premiership players Jack Owens (1934 Captain), Steve Hywood (1973) and Chris Duthy (1985-86).
Bruce McGregor, who was among a contingent who came down from the Silver City after World War I, was a coach of the first premiership side in ’34, after plenty of success with West Adelaide.
Nearly a decade earlier, another Broken Hill export “Stump” Pincombe engineered the Bays first ever win at the start of 1925 season, and was sacked the next week (but that’s a story for another day).
Current Glenelg coach Brett Hand is Broken Hill born and has enjoyed a long and industrious career in our national football code.
“Yes I was born in Broken Hill,” Hand confirmed.
“My father Ken was a doctor at the Broken Hill hospital, doing his internship when I arrived.
“While I grew up in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide, but the Silver City is where it all starts.”
During his playing days at Norwood, where he debuted in 1989 at Angaston Oval in a Foundation Cup match, Hand played 17 league games. He moved to Port Pirie through his vocation as a teacher and began his coaching career with the Propitiatory Football Club, looking after the B grade.
“After a shoulder reconstruction, I was told I never play again,” Hand remembers.
“The Propitiatory B’s had been winless for a few years and we achieved one win that year, and that was one of the best remembered nights of my coaching career.
“I decided to come back and play in the first year of the Lions, defying doctor’s instructions.
“The Proprietary Football Club and Risdon Football Club merged at the end of 1993, becoming the Lions and I decided to come back and play for a couple of years.
“At 26 in 1996 I had a season at the playing coach of the Lions.
“I had three very enjoyable years at the Booleroo-Melrose-Willington (BMW) Lions from 2000, which included a flag, defeating Mick Redden’s Jamestown team in the second of those year
“From there I coached through the grades back at Norwood.
“There was three years at U19s from 2003 and a couple at Reserves level for a pair of Grand Final appearances.
“At this point I suggested to my wife I wanted to get into the AFL system and suggested to her we’d give it five years.”
Hand’s next gig was with the St Mary’s Green Machine, the competition yardstick in Darwin, where he engineered two flags in the 2007-08 ad 2008-09 campaign, although he needed to pass the reigns over to Merv Neagle for the back half of that second season.
He worked with the NT Institute of Sport and was involved coaching the NT Thunder program, when he started a connection with Alan McConnell.
“I went to the Team GWS as it was called then and was involved as a development coach from 2010,” Hand continued.
“We played in the TAC Cup under 18s competition in the first year and in the NEAFL in the second, before entering the AFL in 2012.
“From 2012 to 2015 I was the NEFL coach at the Giants.
“In 2016 I became the Head of Development at the club and from ’17 to 2020 this also included a welfare aspect.
“At the start of 2021, Glenelg rang me and I started with them in a pre-season game against the Northern Territory at the end of January.”
In the Bays Centenary Year, Hand presided over 17 successive wins and a minor premiership.
The best team for the season, Glenelg ran into a well prepared Eagles outfit on the biggest day of the season.
“In my eyes it was a really successful season, building a one-club culture,” Hand explained.
“Our reserves and women won flags, all five teams through the club made Grand Finals.”
“In the league decider we were beaten by a quality outfit on the day, a team that had earned the week off.
“Winning 17 games in a row was pretty special and the various 100th year celebrations were great for the entire football club.
“It just our record in league Grand Final’s we need to improve on across the next period.”
Hand’s baseline philosophies about the 2022 campaign is about giving his troops a chance, but winning enough games to play finals football.
“I’ve given eight or nine of the more senior guys at the club time off to after Christmas,” Hand concluded.
“This gives me a chance to work with the abundance of young talent and from January we can work on our game plan.”