By Tom Markey
Rivalries and sport go hand in hand with one another to add to the spectacle of the game. This is clear to see in the emerging rivalry between the Bathurst Bushrangers and the Bathurst Giants in the Central West AFL competition.
While the Bushrangers ran out convincing 58-point winners, the match was not without controversy. Star Giant Paul Jenkins was red carded and young Giant Nick Broes yellow carded in separate incidents during the heated battle.
With the heated rivalry continuing to grow between the two clubs, the Kennedy family is building their own healthy rivalry. Mark Kennedy is the coach of the Giants, with son James also playing for the club. However, his other son Sam has continued to play for the Bushrangers despite the emergence of the Giants over the past two years.
Mark and Sam Kennedy both state that being involved with the two clubs is not affecting their relationship off the field.
“I actually really enjoy it, and so do they. It adds a bit of controversy in the house every now and then, but it’s always good to have a family rivalry,” Sam Kennedy said.
The Kennedy’s are ensuring that family comes first as they each strive for the sport of AFL to grow in the Central West.
“Family comes first, and we make sure that we are all good after the game,” Mark Kennedy said.
For coach Mark Kennedy the improvement in the Giants this year has him very excited for the future of not only his club, but also the growth of the game in Bathurst.
“If you look at the two clubs established in Bathurst there’s three spots that we can look at in that top four, so that’ll generate more interest locally,” Mark Kennedy continued.
An improvement in the relationship between the two clubs would also enable greater opportunities for the clubs in the future.
“If the relationship can improve in the coming years we can look at some inter-club trophies or fundraising days together,” Mark Kennedy said.
The prospect of building a better relationship in the future to help grow the sport is significant. For now, however, the on-field rivalry will continue to grow as the young Giants begin to make their mark on the Central West AFL competition.