General Footy Writing: Ungarie junior premiership ushers in next generation of Danihers

On the eve of the Footy Almanac lunch on Friday 28 August, at which Anthony Daniher and Adam McNicol will talk about Adam’s recently released biography of The Danihers, comes the news out of the Riverina that there are some more Danihers on the way to the AFL!

What would you expect when the Daniher mob is such a large family. As Jim Daniher, the father of the Essendon Danihers, once told me:  “Rocket, we didn’t get the electric light on out here until quite late in the piece.”

The Ungarie under-12s, coached by Chris Daniher, had a famous victory when they won the Northern Riverina league junior premiership, with Chris’s kids and their cousins playing pivotal roles.

This made up for the Ungarie senior team’s exit in the First Semi-Final at the hands of Barellan at Tullibigeal.

Former Wagga Daily Advertiser sports editor Michael McCormick, who keeps me up to date with what’s going on in Riverina footy, put together the report below:

Chris Daniher has played in an AFL premiership with Essendon and won four league best-and-fairest awards with Ungarie in the Northern Riverina league, yet he described coaching Ungarie’s thrilling win in the under-12s Grand Final on Saturday as one of the best feelings of his long and celebrated career.

Daniher’s team, which included four girls and a host of six- and seven-year-olds, trailed at every change against a bigger, older Barellan United at Barellan Sports Ground but finished strongly to win 6.5 (41) to 3.5 (23).

Ungarie had been runners-up four years running. The Two Blues, chasing their fifth premiership in six years, were hot favourites, having lost only one game all season.

The Magpies saved their best for last, kicking 4.1 to nil in the final quarter to take the title.

Even more satisfying for Daniher was that two of his children, Harvey and Josie, starred for the winning side.

Best afield was Daniher’s nephew Jock Cornell, who provided much of Ungarie’s drive and also kicked two important goals in front of a large crowd.

Members of the Ungarie Magpies’ under-12 premiership team were Kaileha Daly, Mitchell Daly, Charlie West, Josie Daniher, Tommy Payne, Nicholas McCormack, Ella Finemore, Elliott Himmelberg, Alex James;  Harrison Thomas, Henry West, Will Reinhold, James Parkinson, Jock Cornell, Ned Cameron, Harvey Daniher, Vanessa Robb, Daniel Potter, Kody Whiley, Tom Roscarel, Max Noack, Josh Roscarel and Zach Cornell.

The Northern Riverina’s senior Grand Final was won by West Wyalong-Girral, who beat Lake Cargelligo, 16.10 (106) to 10.9 (69).

In other Riverina news, the r-structure of the region’s football competitions is almost finalised.

A promotion and relegation system is set to be introduced from 2010 in the Riverina Football League and the Farrer League.

The AFL-NSW’s proposed “city” and “country” conference model was resoundingly rejected by all the stakeholders – senior clubs, junior clubs and the netball bodies. As was the governing body’s proposal for promotion and relegation to be introduced this season for 2010.

The overwhelmingly majority of the Riverina and Farrer league clubs favoured a promotion and relegation system based on the 2010 results – with the two lowest placed clubs in the RFL this season dropping down into the Farrer league next year.

Now that the home-and-away rounds in the Riverina league have been completed, North Wagga and the Eastern Hawks will play in the Farrer League next season. This will boost the number of clubs in the Farrer league to eight .The same number will also play in the Riverna league.

The only complication could be if Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka decides to appeal against the decision and seek inclusion in the RFL for season 2010. That will draw out the process even longer.

In my view this is a reasonable outcome that preserves the two competitions in their own right. However, it does not address the overall structural deficiencies of the game in the southern NSW.

The former Coreen league clubs continue to struggle in the Hume League – four of them filled the last four positions on the ladder. Rand, which merged with an existing Hume league club, Walbundrie, finished fourth after the home-and-away season.

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