By Peter Argent
With four rounds left in North Eastern regular season, there looks to be three distinctive and intriguing battles.
Currently, the Blyth-Snowtown Cats are on top of the ladder with 10 wins, while last year’s premiers, Liam Whitwell’s BSR Tigers, are a game behind them in second position, while South Clare, under a new coach this year in Scott Brand, is sitting third with eight wins.
David Cluse’s Southern Saints are currently in fourth spot with seven victories after the first 12 rounds, while one game behind them, a fellow Light District side, Steve Lubcke’s RSMU Hawks and North Clare, are in fifth and sixth respectively.
Mintaro-Manoora and the Burra-Booborowie-Hallett Rams will battle it out for the wooden spoon.
The second placed Tigers traveled across to Burra Oval playing the Rams and collected a comfortable 43-point win on the back of four goals by Jeremy Sargent.
Strong performances by recruit Jordan Clements, former SANFL Eagles footballer Matthew Longbottom, Sam Martin, Andrew Cousins and evergreen veteran in defence, Adam ‘Mongrel’ MacKenzie were also a feature.
Better players for the Rams included Kyle Crompton, Jack Rowe and Nick Haddow.
Travelling to Manoora Oval, Eudunda-Robertstown engineered an important 27-point win over the cellar-dwelling Eagles, after only nine points separated the sides at lemons.
Former Crows state-league player Blake Launer, Kane Schultz and veteran Nick Schmidt – the older brother of West Adelaide player Chris – were the leading performers for the Saints.
Foster Cunningham, the skillful Billy Sandow and Luke McDermid were the Eagles’ best while Lachlan Sandow kicked four of his team’s six goals.
Blyth-Snowtown had a huge 104-point win over the RSMU Hawks at Riverton Oval.
James Hunter was the Cats’ best with four goals amongst 12 different goal kickers for the visitors. Mickey Atkinson, Tyson Salter, co-coach Gareth Ottens, Nick McCormack and Will Pratt in ruck were also impressive.
Hawks Mail Medal-winning utility Kimberley Hart, in his milestone 300th game, was the host’s best followed by Martin Rohde and Henry Ball.
In the feisty clash between cross-town rivals, the South Clare Demons beat the North Clare Roosters by six goals after being 14 points up at half-time.
Matt Allen was again outstanding across half back, with his intercept marking, as was Daniel Kunhdt on the ball, former Marble Range footballer and now long-term Demon Brodie “Sugar” Murphy, Sam Bevan and Josh Pearse. Jacob Greatz kicked three goals for the Demons.
The Roosters’ best Dallas Hill and Nick Prokopec, kicked eight of North Clare’s nine goals, while defender Sam Panaho, Will Nickolai and young Charlie Helbig we’re also serviceable.
Waikerie, with just one loss and the Renmark Rovers (10 wins, two losses), are the leading Riverland Football League teams after the first 12 rounds of the season.
Barmera Monash is comfortably sitting in third place with seven wins while the Loxton North Panthers are fourth for the moment despite a five and seven, negative win-loss ratio.
The only team that can catch the Panthers is the Berri Demons if they have a withering run over the last four rounds.
In the Match of the Round last Saturday, Loxton North had an exciting five-point win over the Barmera-Monash Roos.
This contest was tight all day, with Loxton North coming from two points down at three-quarter time to win 8.12 (60) to 8.7 (55).
The Panthers’ best included Joel Worsfold, Riley Battams and Anton Cook, while both Daniel Proud and Jarrad Schar kicked a pair of majors.
Barmera Monash’s best was Matthew Min with three goals, with Adam Machetta, Levi Proude and Eddie O’Connor all standing up in this thriller.
The Waikerie Magpies continued their big season of scores despite leading goal kicker Daniel Noble not playing in this game against the Berri Demons.
Matthew Spencely kicked five goals, while Craig Miller and playing coach Nathan Salter both finished with four each.
Tristan Geehman led the way for the Maggies, with Joel Griffiths, the son of country football legend Craig, the second best.
They were followed by Miller, Spencely, Jack Grieger and Billy Cameron.
Former Central District 2010 premiership ruckman Jason Sutherland was the Demons’ best followed by rover Luke Teasdale and veteran defender Peter Safralidis.
The Renmark Rovers hosted the winless Loxton Tigers and enjoyed an emphatic 20-goal win.
Former RSMU Hawk and Central District footballer Josh Vater was best on ground in a complete display.
Jacob Neary, Fraser Sampson, Ricky Garrett, Tim Woolford and Lloyd Croft all were noteworthy for the winners.
Best for the Tigers, who have done it tough this year, included Brad Yeomans, Ross Romeo, Luke Salmon and Raphael Liddle.
At home, the Kalangadoo Magpies had a strong 31-point win over Port MacDonnell, who showed some real fight in the second half, kicking 10 goals to their opponent’s eight after the long break.
Brad Auld was the Magpies’ best, followed by Andrew Stone who kicked five goals, with Ben Gregory, Jonathan Mules, Tye McManus and Tyler Jones all having telling influences.
Daron McElroy was the Demons’ best, followed by Hamish Stevens, the consistent Jake Schleter over the past month, Jake Turner and Jackson Primer.
Ladder leaders Hatherleigh traveled to Mount Burr and took on the Mozzies.
Mount Burr kicked 11.4 (70) and still lost by 101 points.
Eagle Jake Wight was best on ground with a seven-goal haul, followed by Gerard McGrath, Mitchell Leek and Mitch Palmer.
Both Brodie Fabris and Sam Telfer kicked four goals in each in the win.
Best for the hosts were Tyler Stanley, Jake Dowdy and Sam Wallis, while Tommy Renzi kicked three goals.
The Robe Roosters and the Glencoe Murphys had an exciting contest in their Round 14 clash.
The hosts at Robe Oval were nine points up at half-time before Glencoe kicked six goals to two in the third quarter and then quelled a last-quarter charge by the Roosters to win 14.7 (91) to 12.13 (85).
Lachlan Medhurst was Glencoe’s best followed by seven-goal forward Brodie Foster and James Patzel.
Patrick Mitchell and Jason Bates also played key roles while former SA Outbacks quick bowler Alex Hentschke kicked four goals.
For Robe, Tom Watchet was their best, followed by Jed Jarrett who kicked three goals.
Jake Wehl, Elroy Samuel and Alex Clements all took the eye as well.
The other game between the Tantanoola Tigers and the Kongorong Hawks was also decided by a single straight kick.
The Hawks traveled up to Tantanoola Oval and were eight points down at three-quarter time before kicking four goals to two in the last quarter to get up by six points.
Bryn Weaver was Kongorong’s best with three goals followed by Harrison Evans, Bradley Long, Robert Hynes and Dylan Fishpool.
For the Tigers, Zac Walker led the way.
The trio of Cameron Saint, Darcy Pink and Nick Harris with two goals, was also noteworthy while Josh Peters kicked four goals.
By Terry Connolly
River Murray Football League President
Last Saturday the Imperials FC/NC and the Tailem Bend FC/NC played for the “Leahy-Kneebone Football and Netball Cups.”
The Leahy/Kneebone families and the Clubs promoted this day as a tribute to Steph Leahy and Molly Kneebone, who tragically lost their lives in road accidents and to also raise awareness about the dangers we all face on our roads.
The “Leahy-Kneebone Cup” awareness campaign is about encouraging all road users to think about the impact of road accidents, not only to themselves, but also to their loved ones and the wider community.
It’s about every driver, every motorcyclist, every pedestrian, every cyclist all having respect for each other. It’s about thinking safety first and changing our behaviour every time we venture on to our roads.
The tragic loss for both families reminds us all of the impact of road accidents and the trauma it can bring.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and Saturday gave us an opportunity to not only reflect, but serve as a reminder for us all to be vigilant and stay safe on our roads.