By Peter Argent
Starting the season 2019 campaign with a replay of last year’s grand final, 2017-18 back-to-back NAFA flag winners Crystal Brook travelled across to Orroroo Oval to play the Roos in what was an exciting contest.
Orroroo lead each of the minor breaks by small margins but would fall just one goal shy, with the Brooks winning 12.10 (82) to 11.10 (76).
With older brother Campbell back in town with the North Adelaide Roosters, Will Combe took up the mantle for their foundation club, vying for best on ground honours in the Brooks’ first premiership points. He was well supported by half back Nathan Lambert and full back Brad Eagle.
One of the games’ leading performers in a losing side was Roos’ first-gamer Josh Lawson, a former Kadina Bloodhound, while Darren Hughes and Denis Redden also had an impact for the hosts.
Meanwhile, in Nick Hewitt’s first game as senior coach, the Broughton Mundoora Eagles enjoyed a win at Port Broughton Oval against Booleroo Melrose Wilmington (BMW) by a commanding 71-point margin.
Eagles’ inspirational leader Tommy Button was best on ground followed by former Glenelg footballer Billy Hayes and Matt Ramsey. Classy siblings Lucas and Alek Kangur were noteworthy for the BMW Lions.
Ben Brown’s Southern Flinders side started with an emphatic 93-point win over the Jamestown Peterborough Magpies. Indigenous talent Willy Searle kicked six goals in the win, while hard-working on-baller and long-term SA Country player Joel Palmer was best afield. Former CMS Crows premiership player from the Yorke Peninsula Andrew Parsons kicked Jamestown Peterborough’s only two goals.
In the exciting game of football at Malseed Park, East Gambier held on to clinch a five-point win over West Gambier.
The game was tough and tight all day, with only one point separating the combatants at three quarter time.
Riley Janeway was the East Gambier Bulldogs’ best, followed by Nick Lock and Giancarlo Cooper, while for West, Tommy Zeitz was a stand out.
In another thriller across town at the Blue Lake Sports Park, the South Gambier Demons defeated Casterton by two points after being 15 points in arrears at the half-time break.
Brayden Kain kicked six goals for the Demons, while Jake Tentye and perennial State country footballer Brett O’Neill also starred.
Millicent Saints defense of its break through 2018 premiership got off to a modest start with North Gambier charging away in the second half.
The Tigers kicked nine goals to one in the third quarter and would win by a significant 64-point margin.
Tom McLennan was outstanding, while the mercurial Justin McConnell in his first game back in charge finished with a haul of eight goals.
Michael Telford and SA Outbacks cricketer Nick McInerney also had an impact.
For the Saints, Tom Hutchesson, who has played a couple of SANFL Statewide Super League games for the Crows this year, was best.
The Super Roos endured a one-point defeat at Pinnaroo Oval, going down to the Karoonda Magpies by just one point (71-72).
Lachlan Hentschke was the Magpies best, followed by teenager Shane Peach, while Daniel Stock also played a telling role with five goals. Pinnaroo’s Jed Villis was their best and Tommy Burton kicked four goals.
In other games, after a winless 2018 Murrayville had a seven-point win over Lameroo Hawks. Jericho John kicked five goals to be the Bulldogs’ best.
Border Downs Tintinara (BDT) started it season with a strong six-goal victory over Martin Mattner’s foundation club, Peake, at Tintinara Oval. Hayden Schilling led the way for the BDT Crows, with support from Scott McKenzie and Ben Hooper.
The closest game in round two of the Great Southern competition was the Encounter Bay boys’ 16 point win over Yankalilla at home.
Nick Marshall kicked five goals in his first game for the year while James Bradford was the Eagles’ best followed by Andrew Fyfe. In his second game for the Yankalilla Tigers, Xavier Gotch was their best.
Reigning premiers Langhorne Creek had a comfortable six-goal win at McLaren Vale Oval over the McLaren Eagles. James Sellar was outstanding for the Creek, with team mate Jarrod Kellock kicking seven goals to add to his four the previous week. Max Wakefield was McLaren’s best with four goals.
The Willunga Demons had a huge win over Myponga Sellicks with Scott Hunt kicking seven goals, while best on ground Jake Standfield finished with a haul of six.
In the Barossa Light and Gawler competition, three of the four games were decided by less than a single straight kick, including a couple of heart-stopping finishes.
At Angaston Oval, Tanunda won with the last kick of the day when Leigh Westhoff read the ball off the pack and snapped truly from 40 metres out to give Tanunda a thrilling one-point win.
Josh Trembath kicked four first-half goals in the win, while his team mate, Magpies dashing defender Darcy Hamon, was regarded as best on ground and won the annual Kleinig Family Medal.
For the Panthers, who now have a losing streak that goes back to August 2016 on home soil, Steve Summerton was outstanding with upwards of 30 handballs among his 40 plus disposals.
Meanwhile at Elliot Goodger Reserve, hosts Willaston Donnybrooks had a set shot in the final minute of the game to grab victory over reigning premiers Nuriootpa, however the ball slipped on the wrong side of the goal post.
Nuriootpa got up by four points and Beau Shinnick was outstanding for the Nuri Rovers. He and key forward Sam Gordon both slotted through four majors for the Tigers.
Michael Clinch was outstanding across half back for the Donnybrooks, while veterans Chad Norsworthy and Ash Fry also took the eye.
Barossa District held on at Williamstown Oval against South Gawler by three points in a game that had plenty of ebbs and flows all afternoon. In his triumphant return game to A grade football, four-time Bulldogs premiership star Darren Sharp kicked four goals while teenager Ethan Gant was the Barossa’s best.
Former state amateur player Brodie Hudson and Patrick White stood up for the Lions. On the back of 23 goals, including seven from Brad Scott, Freeling had a huge win over Gawler Central at the ‘Dog Track’.