By NICK DILLON
Despite being the toughest year footy has had to endure since World War II, the COVID pandemic failed to break the spirit of regional communities in 2020.
Over 45,000 footballers took to the field this year – a remarkable effort given at one stage it seemed as if no footy would be played at all.
Eleven community leagues forged ahead with their senior seasons this year, albeit in a modified format for some, while others still kicked in on with junior footy and Auskick programs.
Merged competitions, clubs switching leagues and player movement were among the challenges faced in 2020.
That we have come through relatively well is a testament to those involved according to SANFL Head of Community Football Tom Hurley, who helped guide leagues and clubs through the many challenges.
“The fact that in March and April we were looking at not playing any football across the entire state and now in October we look back and over 45,000 people participated in club football – that’s a significant achievement,” Hurley said.
“I’m really proud of the community footy stakeholder group including leagues, clubs, volunteers and players.
“It’s been a really challenging year, but we’ve been able to get a significant number of teams and clubs playing in 2020 which is a great result.
“Those who have participated have seen the social, mental and physical benefits of being able to connect through football, albeit in a slightly modified format.
“Collectively, it has been a fantastic effort to get to the end of the year and celebrate grand finals.”
While many clubs and leagues have faced tough decisions this year, Hurley believes there is a silver lining to be found.
“The resilience of the regional football community is a significant factor that has shone through,” he said.
“And from an efficiency perspective, we have adopted some key learnings this year with what we’ve been able to achieve via online platforms and communicating regularly with our leagues and clubs.
“That’s something we’ll certainly continue to do in 2021 and the future.”
And what awaits community footy next year? Hurley is confident that all leagues will be back to business as close to normal as possible.
“A key priority for us over summer is to work with all leagues and clubs, particularly those who didn’t participate or did so in a limited capacity in 2020 to make sure that we get everyone back up and running in 2021. That’s critical,” he said.
Mallala 1.0 6.4 10.6 17.7 (109)
Virginia 6.4 7.6 9.8 10.9 (69)
BEST: Mallala – J. Seal, B. Wilson, T. Maughan, W. Paynter, J. Birchmore, D. King. Virginia – R. Howson, L. Rigney, H. Ingram, T. Milera, B. Niklaus.
GOALS: Mallala – A. Bruggemann 6, J. Sela, D. Vanzini, B. Montgomery, T. Algar 2, S. Clements, B. Arthur, B. Wilson. Virginia – B. Niklaus 3, B. Rigney 2, T. Panagiotou, R. Rankine, J. Warrior, R. Howson, N. Warren.
BAROSSA, LIGHT & GAWLER
Gawler Central 5.2 10.6 16.9 20.14 (134)
South Gawler 2.2 3.2 6.9 11.10 (76)
BEST: Gawler Central – S. Baker, T. Phelps, S. Brading, D. Stanley, J. Bottin, D. Pilkington. South Gawler – B. Hudson, D. Judd-Smith, P. White, N. White, C. James, D. Cutting.
GOALS: Gawler Central – S. Brading, N. Hooker, S. Moss 4, D. Pilkington, B. Mercer 2, C. Molyneux, T. Phelps, S. Baker, D. Stanley. South Gawler – J. Press, P. White 3, D. Cutting 2, J. Dare, H. Bennison, J. Tippins.
Langhorne Creek 2.3 10.5 13.5 21.6 (132)
Encounter Bay 4.4 7.5 8.8 10.11 (71)
BEST – Langhorne Creek: M. Tonkin, M. Dominish, T. Derham, A. Cleggett, T. Blackwell, B. Arbon
Encounter Bay: J. Bradford, T. Neville, W. Sweetman, J. Marshall, A. Fyfe
GOALS – Langhorne Creek: J. Sellar 3, M. Cleggett 3, L. Mcgregor 3, M. Tonkin 3, C. Howell 2, B. McLeod, J. Rothe, M. Kartinyeri, S. Tonkin, J. Kellock, J. Dominish, M. Dominish
Encounter Bay: J. Graham 2, G. Karpany 2, C. Tonkin, T. Neale, T. Bonnes, A. Fyfe, T. Neville, J. Bradford
HILLS Div 1
Hahndorf 11.10 (76) d Lobethal 9.9 (63).
BEST: Hahndorf – D. Matsen, M. Jaensch, S. Purling, D. Roberts, B. Hopgood, S. Hayden. Lobethal – A. Riley, H. Voigt, B. Dawe, A. Georgiou, T. Jenkin.
GOALS: Hahndorf – J. Male, T. Parker-Boers, S. Hayden 2, D. Matsen, S. Williams, C. Nykamp, M. Jaensch, S. Hill. Lobethal – J. Osborn 3, B. Fisher, D. Hopgood 2, C. Skinner, M. Fuller.
HILLS Div 2
Ironbank-Cherry Gardens 1.5 5.7 9.13 14.18 (102)
Birdwood 2.3 8.9 8.9 9.9 (63)
BEST: Ironbank-Cherry Gardens – L. Keeley, J. Rosman, T. Pfeiffer, J. Johncock, L. Grigg. Birdwood – J. Ince, J. Russell, S. Sullivan, S. Peter, C. Elliott, J. Telfer.
GOALS: Ironbank-Cherry Gardens – J. Vandermeer, L. Grigg 3, T. Pfeiffer, T. Watton, E. Ware 2, J. Heithersay, J. van Paridon. Birdwood – C. Elliott 3, M. Ashby 2, J. Maczkowiack, J. Sykes, S. Sullivan, M. Osborne.
Mundulla 0.2 3.4 6.6 7.8 (50)
South Gambier 2.1 3.2 4.2 6.4 (40)
BEST: Mundulla – N. Gregurke, T. Gaden, J. Hinge, J. McGrice, T. Perry, E. Jaeschke. South Gambier – T. Saffin, B. O’Neil, C. Munro, K. Eagleson, P. Glynn, M. Smith.
GOALS: Mundulla – R. Tink, J. Hinge, T. McIntyre 2, N. Mosey. South Gambier – K. Eagleson 2, B. O’Neil, T. Reid, B. Foster, K. Jones.
BSR 2.2 6.7 7.7 12.10 (82)
South Clare 2.2 3.2 8.3 9.4 (58)
BEST: BSR – M. Longbottom, L. Wilsdon, W. Hennessy, J. Clements, J. Heinjus, L. Hayes. South Clare – L. Michael, S. Ballantyne, T. Nield, S. Light, E. Fetherstonhaugh, C. Dinning.
GOALS: BSR – J. Heinjus, L. Wilsdon 4, I. Moller 2, A. Cousins, S. Wilsdon. South Clare – T. Nield 3, E. Fetherstonhaugh 2, J. McPharlin, S. Ballantyne, T. Charlton, D. Minney.
Broughton-Mundoora 2.3 4.7 7.11 10.14 (74)
Orroroo 1.2 2.2 4.4 6.8 (44)
BEST: Broughton-Mundoora – T. Wheelen, M. Altmann, B. Hayes, J. Cant, K. Bowley. Orroroo – D. Duffy, D. Hughes, J. Lawson, T. Head, J. Nicholas, S. Kuerschner.
GOALS: Broughton-Mundoora – G. Robinson 6, J. Dickeson, B. Hayes, S. Masters, J. O’Donohue. Orroroo – N. Hombsch, T. Moten 2, C. Froling, B. Launer.
Tasman 2.1 5.5 7.8 8.10 (58)
Wayback 1.2 1.5 4.10 4.10 (34)
BEST: Tasman – R. Beinke, C. Tansell, B. Masters, J. Seal, J. Chandler, B. Haebich. Wayback – S. Maxfield, I. Jericho, B. Sampson, X. Watson, S. Heinjus.
GOALS: Tasman – J. Wagner 2, J. Collins, B. Daniels, C. Mason, B. McCurry, B. Haebich, R. Bienke. Wayback – B. Sampson, J. Seal, L. George, S. Maxfield.
Jervois 4.1 7.5 9.6 11.14 (80)
Imperials 4.1 6.3 9.6 9.8 (62)
BEST: Jervois – L. Kluske, J. Scott, P. Zarantonello, J. Woodall, M. Noye, T. Gibson. Imperials – W. Crane, L. DeMichele, T. Wait, L. Marsh, D. Hollitt, S. DeMichelle.
GOALS: Jervois – P. Zarantonello 4, T. Silverlock 3, J. Hardy 2, T. Kluske, J. Woodall. Imperials – S. DeMichelle 3, J. Rance, J. Boras 2, D. Hollitt, G. Williams.
South Augusta 1.4 6.5 14.8 18.11 (119)
Prop Risdon 5.5 8.8 9.9 11.11 (77)
BEST: South Augusta – C. Milera, M. Downey, D. Kildea, K. Thompson, C. Shirley. Prop Risdon – P. Browne, H. Wallace, A. Oliphant, A. Jacobs.
GOALS: C. Milera 3, G. Warren, L. Brown, J. Collins 2, R. Fuschtei, K. McKenzie, D. Kildea. Prop Risdon – H. Wallace 4, L. Edwards 2, T. Eckert, A. Oliphant, S. Dyer, B. Congdon.
Central 2.1 5.2 8.5 12.7 (79)
West 3.4 5.7 7.10 9.10 (64)
BEST: Central – N. Dejonge, N. Gale, M. Woolford, N. Sims, C. Pickhaver-Tupe, H. Quirk. West – M. McNamara, C. Hollingworth-Hughes, R. Winders, B. Everett, D. Coyne.
GOALS: Central – A. Monfries 3, K. Colson, M. Schwerdt 2, S. Marshall, N. Sims, S. Collison, C. Huish, M. Tansell. West – S. Winders, B. Butler, D. Coyne 2, B. Everett, C. Hollingworth-Hughes, N. Grzona.