Central West AFL derby brings an element of family rivalry for Kennedys

WHEN the Bathurst Giants take on the Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels in the Central West AFL this Saturday, local bragging rights will not be the only talking point for the Kennedy family.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Bathurst Giant James Kennedy will take on his brother - Rebel Sam Kennedy - this Sunday. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

FAMILY AFFAIR: Bathurst Giant James Kennedy will take on his brother - Rebel Sam Kennedy - this Sunday. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

There will be banter surrounding family rivalry as well the Giants team Mark Kennedy coaches includes his son James, while his other son Sam is a member of the Rebels outfit.

Sam Kennedy has played all his senior football for the Bushrangers, having his first taste in 2012 when backing up from under 17s to play in reserve grade.

Two years earlier James Kennedy had done the same thing in Bushrangers colours – he got first grade game time too – but he is now a Bathurst Giant.

Since the formation of the Giants’ senior side they have never beaten the Rebels, so Kennedy is looking forward to seeing his sons square off at George Park 2.

“Rebels, they are a whole different side this year. My Sambo plays for them, so it will be good to get out there and have a game against him,” he said.

“I know he’s looking forward to playing against his brother and it should be good fun, I’m looking forward to it, a bit of rivalry there.”

Mark Kennedy, whose wife Liz and daughter Katie are involved with the Giants women’s side which faces the Lady Bushrangers earlier in the day, has seen his team enjoy a good start to 2018.

After beating the Bushrangers Outlaws last Saturday on the back of a strong final term, they currently sit third on the ladder.

Having played one less game, Rebels are four points behind the Giants. Whether or not that gap grows, Kennedy is proud of his team and the Giants as a whole.

“We just wanted to compete and I think it’s really good for Bathurst AFL now that there are three teams which can compete. We are not the easy beats that we were in the first year and we’re sticking around,” he said.

“Our plan was to grow our juniors and I think we’ve got 125 numbers in juniors and a team in every part of the competition now. We are sustainable, we’re not going anywhere and we’re competing.

“It’s been really good for us so far this first few games.”