Ethan Kimball, senior coach of the Central Broken Hill Magpies Football Club’s women’s program, has also been appointed head coach of the Northern Zone Women’s team for the South Australian Country Football Championships, this year being held in the Barossa Valley towns of Nuriootpa and Angaston.
A teacher at Willyama High School educating students in visual arts and photography, Kimball has been an integral part of the Central Magpies BHFL women’s A-Grade.
“This is my third year with the Central Magpies Women’s team,” Kimball confirmed.
“In 2021 I was an assistant to Sheldon Hall and James Moran. Unfortunately due to a number of issues, including Covid, while we were travelling well it was uncompleted season.
“Both Aaron Jory and I coached the Magpies girls last year. It was a pretty good campaign, culminating in defeating South Broken Hill by 20 points on Grand Final day.
“This year with Luke Barnes as my assistant I have the senior job again and we are sitting second on the ladder currently.”
The Northern Zone side, which has always included a strong Broken Hill contingent, won the 2021 state title in Victor Harbor and has competed each year inside the women’s side SA state country titles started in 2018 at Renmark.
But last season in the 2022 titles in Whyalla, the Zone slumped to sixth and the bottom of the ladder.
“I was runner at the Zone champs last year, so it gave me some idea of what to expect,” Kimball told the Truth.
“We’re looking to implement a few more structures to make us competitive at Zone Level again this tournament. I have liked to have an attacking game style, and that makes for a better spectacle too.
“Having an attacking and positive brand gives people like two our forward Nicky Phillips to show their flair. We have been training as a group for a month and are looking for a strong showing.”
Kimball’s playing days have been put on the back burner, since an ACL injury in 2019.
Now 26 years old, he started his football with the Albury Tigers as a junior.
“I moved to the Tallangatta and District Football League, playing for the Dederang Mount Beauty Bombers first senior footy,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to be playing A-Grade football as a 16-year-old alongside AFL footballers Daniel and his brother Darren Bradshaw with the Bombers. Both were talents and kicked upwards of 100 goals in the comp at different times.
“Doing my University studies in Wollongong, I played senior footy for premier’s division for three years with the Wollongong Bulldogs. We did endure a heart breaking Grand Final loss to Lions by one-point in 2016 with my now Central Broken Hill Magpies team-mate Sam Wilson playing for them.
“While I injured my ACL in 2019, and haven’t played footy since, I’ve still been able to play cricket and ride my bike. My operation is booked in for next February and I will consider a return to the playing field after my rehab. The best case scenario would be to return at the start of 2025.”
For the Broken Hill women’s representative team who play their annual clash against the Sunraysia League on Saturday, July 1 at Jubilee Oval, Kimball is also the mentor to that side.
“I expect a large contingent of Broken Hill squad as this competition has been going for over a decade to be in the Zone squad. The talent in Broken Hill is pretty strong, due to the breadth of experience they have in a competitive local competition.”
Kimball is keen to jump on to the same pedestal as Sheldon Hall and Anthony Tidball, being an SA Country Championships title winning coach this year, but he knows there is still plenty of work to do, and like all winning teams, a little luck will be handy.
The Northern Zone includes Broken Hill, Far North, Northern Areas, Spencer Gulf and the Whyalla Football Leagues.