Central Broken Hill
In terms of premierships won, Central Broken Hill has the equal poorest overall record of the four current Broken Hill Football League clubs, but it can lay claim to having won a league record five successive flags between 1981 and 1985.
Formed in 1900, the year that the Barrier Ranges Football Association, precursor of the BHFL, adopted a district system, Central Broken Hill changed its name to Broken Hill (usually referred to as ‘Brokens’) in 1908, and two years later broke through for its first flag. Going into the decisive match of the season against Wests as rank underdogs, Brokens overcame both their opponents (by 4 points) and a raging dust storm with scores of 2.10 (22) to 2.6 (18). During the third term the match was finely balanced when Les Richards of Brokens went on a prolonged, weaving run through blinding dust before kicking what proved to be the game’s decisive goal. Over the course of the ensuing five seasons Brokens proved that their win was no mere flash in the pan by adding another three premierships, but after securing the 1915 flag the club was to suffer an agonising twenty year wait before again mounting the winners’ rostrum. Things might have been different had the club agreed to finish the 1925 grand final against Wests but, unhappy with the performance of the central umpire, the players refused to take the field after half time. With no mechanism in place for dealing with such a state of affairs, the 1925 premiership competition was abandoned.
Between 1943 and 1971 the Magpies, as they were by this time known, endured an unprecedented premiership hiatus, but the ‘70s and ‘80s, by contrast, proved quite fruitful, yielding a total of no fewer than nine flags. Two premierships followed during the 1990s, and Central began the new century well by securing their twenty-second premiership in 2001.
The 2006 season proved to be one of the most memorable in the Magpies’ recent history as, after qualifying for the grand final the hard way, via the preliminary final, they overwhelmed flag favourite South to the tune of 49 points, 13.11 (89) to 5.10 (40). On an afternoon of high winds, cool temperatures and frequent showers, scores remained close until three-quarter time, at which point Central led 5.10 (40) to 5.5 (35). During the last term, however, Central produced arguably the best football seen in the Silver City all year to race to victory. Sixteen year old ‘boy wonder’ Locchie McGregor booted 5 goals to add to the 10 he had snared in the preliminary final, but he was far from a one man team as the likes of inspirational skipper Anthony Berg (voted best on ground), ruckman Mark Zanette and centre half back Steve Crowhurst all produced telling efforts.
The Magpies’ win put them just one premiership behind West on the all time ladder and two seasons later they had the opportunity to square the ledger when they faced North in the grand final. However, despite seeming the stronger side for much of the second half they ultimately fell short by 17 points. Another grand final appearance followed in 2010, and this time 'round the Magpies did themselves proud in emphatically accounting for opponents South with scores of 20.13 (133) to 8.21 (69). The victory gave them their twenty-fourth league premiership, which as previously intimated brought them level with West, but in the last eight seasons neither side has even come close to adding to their haul with the Broken Hill Football scene being completely dominated by North and South.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications