Football in Forbes back in the fray

Parkes Panthers, AFL CW, Forbes Swmpies, and Forbes Council representatives cut the ribbon opening the goalposts at Gaggin Oval. PHOTO: BRENDAN McCOOL,FORBES ADVOCATE

Forbes is on the cusp of bringing footy back for the first time since 1986.

The Forbes club, colloquially nicknamed the Swampies, is pushing to enter the AFL Central West fold with an under-12s side. It plans to add under-10s and under-14s teams shortly after.

In an agreement with crosstown rival turned AFL ally, Parkes, the Swampies will gather all junior players in the region and then hand them over to the Parkes Panthers when they’re ready for seniors. Such collaboration between the towns is previously unheard of in the sporting landscape. The Panthers do not currently have junior representation in AFL Central West.

Forbes is confident of getting a team in the 2022 or 2023 season, having run successful Auskick programs from the town since 2018.

Seven Auskick alumni played with the Orange Tigers in 2021. These kids and their parents faced a one-hour drive each way to home games and far beyond that for matches in Bathurst and Dubbo. No doubt these players and their families will welcome a freshly minted Forbes team to run onto the ground in 2022.

Sports equipment provider, PILA, is taking a build it and they will come approach with Forbes. The company donated a set of goalposts which were erected at Gaggin Oval in February 2022, much to the delight of football enthusiasts in the region.

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Alex Milsom, President of the Forbes Swampies was full of praise for his committee, and what they have achieved in such a short time. “It was a big day for our community. We are a good team to accomplish what we have in Forbes with what we have. Where we are now is incredible.”

Casey White, AFL Central West’s Competition and Development Coordinator, said: “AFL Central West is thrilled with the growth of AFL in Forbes. The new goalposts will really help promote the club and the game in the community.

“AFL Central West would like to thank Forbes Shire Council for its support of the Swampies, PILA for the generous goalpost donation, and the many AFL NSW/ACT team members that have assisted this project.

“AFL in Forbes is in great hands with Alex Milsom and his committee, and we are excited to see the Swampies take the field in the upcoming seasons.”

Forbes Shire Coucnil formally opened the Gaggin Oval goalposts at the South-West Local Final of the Primary School Championships (PSC), last Thursday February 24. The PSC (formally Paul Kelly Cup) pitted boys and girls teams from Cowra Public, Forbes Public, Mulan Public and Canowindra Public.

Teams were made up of predominately Year 5/6 students, with approximately 150 students participating, many playing AFL for the first time.

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Forbes Public School were the eventual winners of the carnival in both the boys and girls competitions finishing unbeaten in the boys grade. Their girls team overcame an early loss to Canowindra before winning all their remaining matches to top the pool on for-against.

Forbes Public now join boys sides from St Mary’s Primary (Dubbo), Orana Heights Public and Holy Family Primary (Kelso) in Wednesday’s Regional Final. Their girls side will face Wellington Public, St John’s Primary, and Holy Family Primary (Kelso).

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