Community Footy Coaching moves for 2024 – Southern Region

In a short series of articles Peter Argent looks at the new and returning coaches in the various zones of Community Football. In the third of these he concentrates on the South East, and Southern areas of our state.

One of the closest leagues to the city, the Southern Football League has four men in new roles this season.

The multi-skilled Samuel Tharaldsen is in charge at the reigning premier, Flagstaff Hill, with this former SANFL development player in the role this year.

At Christies Beach Saints, former Central District premiership defender from the early 2000s, Brian Haraida, is in charge of the club.

“I finished playing back in 2004,” Haraida who had a 268-game career that included three titles from six Grand Finals.

“I was amongst the coaching staff at the (Woodville-West Torrens) Eagles for six years from 2017 to 2022, before having last season off.

“In the period in between my background was in business coaching – relationship building and creating solutions.

“Those learning transferred over to my football coaching and I loving being back at community level.”

Across at Happy Valley, former B grade coach at McLaren, Andrew Cook is in his first year at the Vikings.

Coming into the Southern League for the first time this season is the Ironbank-Cherry Gardens Thunders, making the SFL an even 10-team competition.

They are coached by another three-time premiership Central District footballer, First Nations talent Elijah “Noodles” Ware.

“Back in 2018-19, I co-coached the club with Stuart Wells, then had two-years in the role by myself,” Ware explained.

“I had a rest in 2023, not being able make the commitments required with a young family.

“I just played for McLaren Districts last year, before injuring my Achilles in an early final and missing out on the flag.

“I am back in the role this year with Ironbank – Cherry Gardens.”

Now 41, with a long list of injuries, Ware has donned the boots for the past two games, kicking a total of seven goals.

Central District premiership defender Brian Haraida will be coaching Christies Beach this season.

In the five-team Kangaroo Island competition, three clubs have new coaches.

At the Wisanger Panthers, playing coach and key forward Khyal Stead is in charge. He has played with the club across the past couple of seasons. He is looking for the Panthers to have a more successful finals campaign than they endured in 2023, going out in straight sets.

Western Districts selected a 28-year-old third generation coach at the Saints, Damon Weatherspoon, to be in charge this year, with Andrew Fogden as his assistant.

After doing an ACL in the 2023 Grand Final loss to Kingscote, Weatherspoon has decided to jump into the coaching ranks.

He certainly has the coaching genes.

Damon’s father Trevor was coach of the Saints during a tough era, while his grand-father Bruce also coached Western Districts, where he was involved in a trio of titles.

For the Parndana Roosters, Jeffery Ness takes over this season from Michael Mills.

He is a former Wisanger Panthers coach who took them to the 2021 KIFL title against Western Districts.

Darren Shillabeer, in action for Northern Zone at the SA Country Championships, will be coaching Myponga-Sellicks this season. Picture – Peter Argent

In the prosperous Great Southern Football League, the Myponga-Sellicks Football Club have Darren Shillabeer as coach of the club this season.

He was the reserves coach at Barossa District, and a for a short time a North Adelaide league footballer, who originally hails from Port Augusta.

Shillabeer, who has enjoyed dual premiership success with the Barossa Bulldogs, replaced Rod Mitchell in what some have seen as a shock move by the Mudlarks, as under Mitchell, they finished third twice.

Langhorne Creek appointed Peter Galbraith, who coached Mount Compass for a decade and to a pair of premierships. He has taken over from loyal local Hawk, Curtis Perrey, after two years.

At the Goolwa-Port Elliot Magpies, they have appointed Trevor Jenkin, who had been an assistant at Lobethal and with Imperials in the River Murray competition.

He replaced Reece Slape, who was a reluctant coach last year after the late withdrawal of Scott Prebble, who accepted the Talent Manager role with Sturt.

In the expansive Kowree-Naracoorte-Tataira Football League (KNTFL) Zac Richards takes over as the new coach of reigning premier Border Districts.

Border Districts’ 2023 premiership guru, Aaron Jelfs, was hired to coach Norwood’s Reserves team in the SANFL this year.

At Lucindale, Riley McFarlane, a former Glenelg and Tanunda player, who won the Mail Medal in the BLG League, is their mentor this year.

Luke Wiese is in charge at the Mundulla Tigers, one of the most successful clubs in the south east, having taken over as coach from Nick Davis.

For the Naracoorte Demons, Sam Logan is the new coach, taking over from Matt Willson, who is successful SA country captain.

Logan has already enjoyed success in the KNTFL, coaching Lucindale to a premiership in 2017 over Mundulla.

For Padthaway, Mitchell Minns takes over as coach of Eagles in 2024 from Kieran Hicks, who has previously held roles with the junior program at Glenelg.

Jayden Eldridge is in his second season at Penola, as the Eagles play the final campaign in the KNTFL, before moving across to the Limestone Coast competition

Clint Gallio, left, in action for SA Country, will be coaching Mount Burr in 2024. Picture – Peter Argent

In the current nine-team Mid South East Football League (MSEFL), there are three coaches in new positions.

At the Glencoe Murphies, Reece Duncan has taken control from Tom Edwards; he had previously coached the Mount Burr Mozzies.

AFL experienced Tom Hutchesson takes over the role at the Hatherleigh Eagles from Gerard McGrath.

Hutchesson played 14 games with the Adeaide Crows SANFL teams and had the 2020-2021 seasons on the GWS Giants list.

Nine-time premiership player across the two leagues in the South East, and a well-travelled footballer, Clint Gallio, return to MSEFL competition this year as coach of Mount Burr.

Gallio last played with the Mozzies seven years ago, enjoyed five premierships as a player at Mount Burr, along with four flags at the Millicent Saints, 2018 and three in a row from 2021 as their player-coach.


In the Limestone Coast Football Netball League, across the border at Casterton-Sandford, Jarrod O’Brien takes over the coaching role from Kane Forbes.

For the premiership team last season, Millicent, Tom Renzi returns to the Saints, as their sole coach after sharing the role with Clint Gallio last campaign.

At the North Gambier Tigers, dual sporting talent and SA Outbacks cricketer Nick McInerney and Jordan Hollitt are the men in charge in a joint coaching role. They acquired the job from Ben Hardy.

At South Gambier, the experienced Peter Duncan, a former Millicent Saints assistant coach is the mentor at the Demons.

The Hills Football League’s Country Division has five new faces.

For 2024, the Birdwood Roosters secured the highly-experienced Glenn Molloy.

The Norwood premiership player from 1997 and Melbourne AFL footballer, also has experience with Hope Valley and Tea Tree Gully in the Adelaide Football League.

Kerbrook chose local product Kane Paues, a Hills Football League Player Life Member and 300-game “Brooker” for the role this year.

Son of former SA U18 state coach Darren Trevena, who is currently the talent manager at Glenelg, Daniel Trevena and Rod Mitchell share the role at the Kangarilla Kangaroos.

Past player Kris Dawe has been promoted from Reserves coach and A-grade assistant to the chief role as A-grade coach of the Meadows Bulldogs for the 2024 campaign.


In the Hills Division 1 competition, former basketballer and Crows Catogary B rookie, Jack Osborn, is the new boss at Lobethal Tigers. Osborn had a couple of seasons at the South Gawler Lions in the BLG, and was a member of Sturt’s premiership successes in 2016 and 2017.

Looking for a first flag in more than a decade, the Uraidla Demons’ new mentor is Matt Down.

Former Essendon and Fitzroy footballer from Murrayville originally, Kieran Sporn, who at one stage coached the Goodwood Saints, is now at the Blackwood Woods, while Mark Watts is the man in charge of the Onkaparinga Valley Bulldogs this season.

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