By Peter Argent
The trio of South Broken Hill footballers mid-fielder Marc Purcell, ruckman Mitch Henderson and forward Cody Schorn, along with Central Magpies left footer Aaron Jory were all strong contributors across the 2022 SA Country Championships in Whyalla.
The difference, in the end, proved to be one straight kick. They lost the critical opening game by five points on Saturday and then beat the same opponent, Southern Districts, in the Sunday morning fixture.
“The final result didn’t reflect the performance of the group,” team coach Matt Prominitz said.
“Our effort on Sunday displayed the quality of our squad.
“Mitch [Henderson] was impressive in ruck. For a big guy, he’s quite skilful and gave us first use out of the middle.
“He was second in our Barrie Robran Medal count for the Northern Zone player of the tournament behind key forward Shane Ballantyne.
“Marc [Purcell] was a strong contributor as well; he loves getting his hands dirty and is a contested ball beast being third overall in the medal count.
“Aaron Jury is a smooth mover.
“He played through a calf issue all weekend and was amongst our best in the opening fixture.
“Cody [Schorn] was a key forward for us all weekend.
“In the less windy conditions on Sunday, when we moved the ball better, he had a great game.”
The pivotal first game went down to the wire, with the Northern Zone falling short by less than a straight kick on a wind-swept Bennett Oval in the 12.35pm game.
In a contest that could have gone either way, Southern won 3.4 (22) to 2.5 (17) by just five points in a game of two 20-minute halves.
Big man Mitchell Henderson was outstanding in this fixture and regarded as the Northern Zone’s best player. Along with former SANFL footballer Kriston Thompson, local Whyalla lad Samuel Ellis and now dual Barrie Robran Medallist at this tournament, Ballantyne, Central recruit this year Aaron Jory stood out.
In the second game, the Northern Zone ran into a rampant eventual championship winner South East, who needed a percentage boosting win to make the Grand Final.
With the wind in the first stanza, South East set up the win, getting home comfortably, winning by 33 points, 10.4 (64) to 4.7 (31).
Vice-Captain Marc Purcell, working hard at the stoppages and endeavouring to give his side some run and carry with the ball, was among the Northern Zone best, along with Marko Tansell, Ballantyne, Ellis and skipper Joel Palmer.
They kicked the dew off the grass in the early game on Sunday, playing for fifth spot, again facing off against Southern Districts.
In this four-quarter match, the Northern side won 10.11 (71) to 7.5 (47) by four goals.
Purcell was again among the best players for Northern, while in both games, Southern played against the team with the “Big V” on their chest. Former Broken Hill footballer now playing at the Encounter Bay Eagles, Cohen Pettit, was Southern’s best player.