By Stuart Kavanagh
A huge announcement was made on Monday at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project Demonstration Plant, with the mining company announcing a unique partnership with Broken Hill AFL.
The initiative, named the “Club of the Year” prize, aims to reward performance, pride and commitment to developing AFL across all grades and genders.
The system used to award the Club of the Year will see clubs accumulate points in a variety of ways, with points deducted for rule breaches and club reports.
Club points will be recorded across all ages and grades across the entirety of the home and away season. The program is set to begin this season, despite the finals being just around the corner.
AFL Broken Hill Football Operations Co-Ordinator Colin Casey addressed this directly.
“By the time the season finishes, our AFL Broken Hill committee will get together to look at all the parameters that are there for Cobalt Blue Team of the Year and award points accordingly.”
Points will be awarded for club victories, supplying club appointed umpires, AusKick participation, and registered players from the U/13s, all the way through to A Grade.
Points will be lost for players found guilty of any reportable offence, engaging in melees as well as any code of conduct or game rule breaches.
Casey praised the system, and how it looks to reward clubs on a broader scale, than simply just wins on a Saturday.
“This way every club benefits, not just one. It’s very easy for, sometimes, the top club who are rolling along, when the bottom club are, sometimes, doing more work trying to strive for the top without maybe the rewards.
Here’s an opportunity, they can climb the ladder and be rewarded as they go to become top club from Cobalt Blue.”
The prize pool is aimed at benefitting local football, whilst simultaneously encouraging health, wellbeing and positive culture amongst clubs in the league. All four clubs stand to benefit with prizemoney allocated across three tiers.
The Club of the Year will receive $3000, the runner up will receive $1500.
The two remaining clubs will get $1000 each.
The announcement drew praise from AFL Broken Hill Chairman, Andrew Schmidt.
“All clubs will receive funding from this program, which will enable every local AFL team to benefit, while the tally system will reward clubs for winning games, providing umpires and supporting the codes at all levels, while points will be deducted for on-field offences.
“It’s very generous of Cobalt Blue to make this commitment on behalf of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project and we look forward to seeing how the results pan out for the Club of the Year and the individual nomination process.”
Alongside the Club of the Year award, the Broken Hill Cobalt Project will also financially support a Club Person of the Year.
That award will be awarded to individuals nominated by their club for their tireless work and commitment to the club behind the scenes.
The Club Person of the Year will be announced on AFL awards night. The BH AFL board will contact each club before the awards night to seek their confidential nomination for the Club person of the Year award.
Broken Hill Cobalt Project Demonstration Plant Manager, Adam Randall, said, “We are pleased to support the local AFL league with this inaugural Club of the Year and Club Person of the Year sponsorship prize pool to reward dedication to local sport, which is so important to families in Broken Hill.”
Colin Casey added, “Of course at every league, every club needs volunteers and they’re probably the people who do the work that may not get the accolades, as such, so Cobalt Blue have been very generous to offer an award for [Club Person] of the Year in each club to a reasonably substantial amount of money.
“Sport can provide the training ground for developing commitment, goal setting skills, team building, leadership and healthy lifestyles,” he said.
“These attributes can carry people through to fulfilling lives,” said Mr Casey.
“We hope that our future workforce will be built on these qualities, which are often first developed in local team sports.”
Mr Randall intimated this might not be the last foray into local sport for the Broken Hill Cobalt Project.
“We’ve had a pretty close affiliation over the last couple of years with some of the key figures in the AFL management team here in Broken Hill, so I think that is probably where that [the partnership] originated.
But that’s not to say we can’t have similar conversations with cricket, volleyball or whatever else might come along.”
He was quick to temper expectations when pressed on whether this is the start of a wider commitment to sport, without ruling it out completely.
“This may be the start of something bigger,” he said, before adding “We’ll take it one step at a time.”
The inaugural announcement of the Club of the Year will take place at the AFL awards night on Monday August 29, ahead of Grand Final season.