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Regional Community Football Previews - Part 3

By Peter Argent

A number of the competitions on the West Coast of the state, including the Western Eyre Football League (WEFL), Port Lincoln Football League (PLFL), the Eastern Eyre Football League (EEFL) and the Whyalla Football League (WFL) started their respective campaigns across the ANZAC weekend, while the seven-team Great Flinders (GFFL) competition kicked off with two games on April 9. Here’s a snapshot of how the teams are shaping up in the Eyre Peninsula region.

Port Lincoln

The Port Lincoln (PLFL) competition had their start to the season fixtured either side of the SANFL Round Four clash between Norwood and West Adelaide at Centenary Park in a busy weekend of football for the region.

Marble Range, the reigning premiers under the tutelage of Boyd West, is expected to be the team to beat again, starting with a strong 80-point win in the Grand Final replay on ANZAC Day.

This year they add the Slade brothers Todd (ex-Glenelg) and Josh from the BSR Tigers, Max Bartlett from Goodwood Saints and Jessie Trevor from Rostrevor Old Collegians/Norwood Under 18s to their already potent squad.

Waybacks, coached by Mark Aldridge again this winter, are without the classy Xavier Watson and 2021 skipper Shaun Maxfield.

The Tasman Football Club is running with a new joint coaching structure, with Jake Rodda and Josh Seal, who returned from Mallala sharing the responsibilities.

Among their playing stocks are Tyler Penwright, who played for Clarence in the Tasmanian state-league, Jake Stoll has returned from the Cummins Ramblers and Liam Cocks has come across the from Yorke Peninsula.

At the famous Mallee Park Peckers, Malcolm “Mally” Miller has coaching duties and it was good to see the return of Matthew and Waylon Johncock to their ranks.

Former South East footballer and SANFL league player with Port and the Eagles Luke Duncan is in charge at the Lincoln South Eagles.

Southern Zone representative player from Christies Beach Jarrod McCormack is a key recruit for the Eagles, while another to excite is 17-year-old Latrell Sumner, who won the association colts medal last season and has come across from Marble Range.

Celebrating a milestone 50th season in the PLFL is the Boston Tigers and consolidating on his start from last year, Brad Keast is in his second year in charge.

The Tigers have secured Jake Swalue from Eyre United and Christian Doward from Adelaide Footy League.


Former Glenelg player Todd Slade is among new recruits at Marble Range in Port Lincoln FL.


Up in the steel city of Whyalla, Central is looking for the trifecta this year under coach Mark Turner, now in his fourth year in charge.

Central’s campaign is helped by the return of former Medallist Nick Sims and big-men Nick DeJonge and Mitchell Schwerdt, who had a season with the Cowell Cats in ‘21.

They started with a big win over Weeroona Bay, their 2021 Grand Final opponents.

Jared Starkey took the Tigers to a first Grand Final appearance in many years last September, and now they are looking to take the next step, collecting their first premiership glory since 1996.

With Brad Smith in charge for a seventh season, the West Whyalla Dragons are looking to be competitive again.

Elliott McNamara returns to the “Green and Gold” Dragons after time in the North Adelaide underage programs and SANFL Reserves.

North Whyalla is working on a youth policy under Peter Usher and have seen Ryan Smoker return to the game after a hiatus.

The Roopena Kangaroos started with a win under Waylon Nielson and have recruited Clayton Messech.

South Whyalla have long term clubman Scott Watkins in charge and early indications are it will be another tough campaign.

And in a coup for Whyalla, former Collingwood premiership player and Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan is expected to make a single playing appearance for the South Whyalla Demons later in the year.


Eastern Eyre

Flag winners in the Eastern Eyre competition Ports continue with Aseri “Bobby” Raikiwasa as their playing coach, while big brother Aisea “Magic” Raikiwasa returns to the club as a key marquee player. Ports also see Jake Turner return.

Their 2021 Grand Final opponent Kimba Districts will be coached by former South Clare lad Matt Vandeleur, who had been the interleague coach at the Mortlock Shield for the past handful of seasons. Jackson Kessling returns are a long time on the sidelines, but the loss of midfielder Ryley Maitland will certainly hurt.

Eastern Rangers has former champion player and dual Mail Medallist, Kane Schubert returning to coach, after last being in charge during the previous decade.

They have acquired the services of Nick “Floyd” Schumann from the West Coast Hawks to add to the squad.

At the Cats, Cowell has champion player Steve Wildman returning to coach along with Justin Mills to add to the playing stocks.

The Storm, Central Eyre United (the amalgamation of Wuddina United and Central Eyre) are expected to be highly competitive this season.  Trevor May is in charge, while Ian Jericho comes up from Port Lincoln and Micah Vanloon, after tenures at RSMU and Pinnaroo, is back on the west coast.


Magic and Bobby Raikiwasa, now both at Ports in the Eastern Eyre FL.

Great Flinders

The vibrant Great Flinders competition has high profile former state country midfielder Reece Francis as the new playing coach of the United Yeelanna Eagles.

He has brought back local lads Xavier Watson and Mitch Jolly from Waybacks, while Shaun Maxfield and Stephen Conlan are big recruits from the Port Lincoln FL Navy and Reds as well. Another Eagle, Jaiden Agars, has moved back to the family farm.

Lock is being coach by Tyron George, the nephew of Steve Wildman.

The Roos have Harley McCormick coming across from Whyalla club Roopena, while Tom and Daly Eichner have come from Echunga.

One of the flag favourites in 2022 is Elliston United who joined Great Flinders last season.

They raided the West Coast Hawks’ with Rhys Kelsh, Jake McEvoy and Jaxon Galliver arriving at the new entity.

Zane Montgomerie and Brody Kenny from Lincoln South will wear the Roosters jumper, along with young gun Thomas Gibson from Mount Lofty and Reid Patterson from PHOS Camden.

Isaac Galliver and Guy Hutchinson return home from the BBH Rams, while midfielder Adam Hurrell returns from Eastern Ranges.

Tumby Bay is coached by Craig Curtis and has the mercurial Ky Miller as a marquee player, while Swayne Ackland from Lincoln South, and the return from injury of Joe Walker, will be a great bonus.

Cliff Warrior is in charge of Eyre United again, while the two Cummins teams, the Ramblers and the Cummins-Kappinie Cougars, are always competitive.

Wes Bilney has returned to the Ramblers Magpies, while brother Kingsley also is wearing the black and white for the first time in 2022.

Thomas Phelps returns to the Cougars and will be a good foil for Johann ‘Yoey” Wagner – a former Central District/Port Adelaide player and winner of reality TV show The Recruit – in attack.


The Cougars’ ‘Yoey’ Wagner, formerly a Port Magpies SANFL player.

Western Eyre

There has been plenty of movement before the second year of the Western Eyre Football League, with two of the Chandler brothers coaching against each other.

The 2019 Mail Medallist and premiership winning coach Jessie Chandler returns to take charge of the Western United Tigers, with a raft of personnel including Brady Woods, James Barclay and Dane Miller, along with the Wild boys, Cameron and Brayden, all returning to Tiger-land.

They have also collected former Peake and Districts player Dale McDonald.

Jessie’s oldest brother Brodie is in charge of the Ceduna Blues and they have also worked hard in the area of recruiting.

Former Sturt footballer Sam Jonas (brother of current Power captain Tom), Clint Donald, Chad Duregon, Max Withers, Nick Edwards and Ali Johncock, the son of Mail Medallist Roger, are all new Blues.

A Madigan Medallist, Ric Giles, also adds experience, while the Indigenous quartet of Isahai and Vincent Graham, and Mekiah and Trevay Scott, add plenty of excitement.

Premiers from the first season of the WEFL, the West Coast Hawks have Damien Johnson, a former successful premiership player in charge this season.

At Koonibba, Barry Coleman, who is endeavouring to emulate his father deeds as a premiership coach with the Roosters, has secured the services of West Augusta champion and three-time best and fairest Tyrone Warren.

Also returning to the Roosters are Daryl Dudley, Steve Harrison, Lesley Mundy, Steve Benbolt and Wayne Miller.

Goal kicking ace in his time, Simon Webb will be in charge of the Wirrulla Bombers. They have secured Hayden Branes from the Hawks, Joe McInniss, Ruben Hartwig from the Blues, Dion Pause and Gorn Tree from Elliston.

The 2021 Mail Medallist, Dom Denton, will have plenty of youth in his troops at the Thevenard Magpies.

All photos by Peter Argent.

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