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Souths on rampage at AFL Broken Hill Senior Mens Grand Final

By Sally Heathcote

The 2022 Senior men’s final posed plenty of questions going into the first Grand Final in three years. 

What to make of Central’s first final round win over South in eight years when they posted a thumping victory?  With South back to full strength would they account for the new challengers? What part would a 30km southerly wind play on ball handling?

All these questions and more were answered when the teams took to the field this weekend.

Both sides entered the fray in the first quarter with South kicking with a strong breeze. They started ominously with a quick goal before Central dug in with heavy ball pressure.  They filled the holes and counterpunched with an accurate short game into the stiff breeze.

South lost their ruckman Henderson early in the game which would have sent a tremor through the camp. Yet South kicked another before Central hit back with one of their own against the play. South finished the quarter with one more to set up a mouthwatering second quarter.

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At the quarter time, huddle, Central Coach Wellington implored his players to reset and not rest on their laurels.

However, after the break the tide started to turn with South mounting numerous raids on the Central goal with good leads and accurate short tactics of their own against the breeze.

Cody Schorn also began to exert his influence on the game although Sully made the ground ball difficult for the star to rove his own ball.  Nevertheless, South took the chocolates in the second quarter by a fair margin.

After the half-time break South took control from the stoppages and it all clicked for this well-oiled football machine.

Jory and Hanson were dogged for Central but the pinpoint kicks in the first quarter were harder to land with South in full running mode.

Nick Devoy was a standout for Central – having grown as a player and stamped himself as a future leader of the club with his athleticism and aerial talent.

But there was no doubt about the senior South players – who all rose to the occasion.  Their backs stood up very well and nullified the twin Central spearheads of Wilson and to some extent Deckert. Purcell and Caldwell all held sway in the middle and gave Schorn a fantastic base to weave his goal kicking magic.

All hail the king – so similar is Schorn’s style to the great Gary Ablett.

A late challenge from Central added some respectability to the score with Josh Hanson stepping up to a new level.  There were so many moments in this final to savour, with both teams having multiple contributors across their ranks.  No room for passengers in Broken Hill footy!

Central far from being shamed, showed their contender status was no fluke and yet for those lucky enough to see the game – no one could deny South’s dominance of this league.  They finished the day exactly doubling the score of the Central team who can also hold their season up as a watershed under their new coach.

Final score – South 108 – Central 54.

PICTURE: Tim Gimbert Images

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