Strong Silver City contingent in Northern Zone women’s team

By Peter Argent

The SA Women’s Country Football Championships is building its own tradition, now being a part of the rural landscape since 2018.

Starting at Renmark, the women’s country champs caravan has been to Port Pirie, Victor Harbor and now arrives in Whyalla for a two-day tournament this weekend, Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.

Dominated by Silver City women’s talents, the Northern Zone won the ’21 Championships and travel to the “Steel City” to defend their crown.

While wild Irish lass Meg Ryan has returned to her homeland, there are still 18 Broken Hill girls selected in this year’s squad, with Rebecca Deer from the Bulldogs and South Roo Abbey Stevens given the leadership honours for this tournament.

The girls’ first game is at 11:30am on Saturday against Southern at Bennett Oval, and the second fixture is against last year’s Grand Final rival, South East, at the same venue, starting at 1.40pm.

“I co-captained the team with Abbey Stevens in 2021 at Victor Harbor,” senior player Paige Cuy, who has played in each of the four SA Country Championships since 2018, and cousin of North Adelaide 150-game champion Mitchell Clisby, said.

“We went away last year with no expectations.

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“Winning the country champs title fits in nicely with the come from behind flag with West (2019) and the title I played in for the Bathurst Bushrangers.

“We have a couple missing due to COVID Procotols this year, but I still feel confident we have a strong group travelling to Whyalla.

“This year in the home competition, the Central Magpies are the team to beat; before their first loss, last Saturday, their average winning margin was around nine goals.

“Our competition in Broken Hill is highly competitive.”

If the Northern Zone can win both its games on Saturday, they will compete in the Women’s Championships Final, which starts at 11.30am on Sunday.

“There is still the same mindset,” Abbey Stevens, South Broken Hill midfielder/defender, explained.

“We have a few new faces in the group this year.

“We were defiantly underdog status last year in Victor Harbor.

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“Having played (football) locally for 10 years, it definitely helps our cohesion and understanding of each other’s game.

“It’s a good opportunity for the girls to experience a higher level of footy.

“We had a good handful of girls recruited by the North Adelaide Roosters in the SANFLW competition, which shows the importance of performing strong at these country champs.”

Among the group, another given a great opportunity teenage Indigenous talent Katelyn Whyman.

After kicking three goals in South’s win against Central, she has been a late call-up.

She’s been travelling in from Wilcannia to play for the past couple of weeks for the Roos and is a lively goal kicking small forward.

The full Northern Zone 2022 squad:-

Ashleigh Anderson, Teagan Coombes, Emma Camilleri, Phoebe Knell, Daisy Tyrrell, Shelby Raven, Makayla Berg – Central Broken Hill

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Eillie Simmons, Georgia Ward, Kia Williams, Rebecca Deer – North Broken Hill

Abbey Stevens, Melisa Keenan, Paris Ralph, Zali Beattie, Katelyn Whyman – South Broken Hill

Paige Cuy, Penelope Billings – West Broken Hill

Brittany  Higgins (Mid Nth Womens), Timeka Cox (North Adelaide), Jorja Eldridge (SMOSH Westlakes)

Torie Groth (Under 17 – Port Augusta), Sophie Palmer (West Augusta)

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