Game changers – country footy coaching moves

In the first of a three-part series, PETER ARGENT looks at the new names across coaching ranks in SA country football. From former AFL footballers to local servants of the game, a number are making the move into pivotal coaching roles ahead of season 2023.


Among the number of new and returning faces to the coaching ranks in SA is rural football, former Port Adelaide Magpies and Power utility Jared Poulton who takes over the reigns from Mark Tilbrook at the Southern Eagles in the Yorke Peninsula competition.

Previously in assistant roles with Port Adelaide under-18s, under Mark Clayton, and twice with the Eagles – from 2014-15 under Matt Wilkinson and in 2021-22 alongside 2019 premiership coach Tilbrook, Poulton feels he’s now prepared to take on the senior role.

“As a family we moved to Corny Point in 2014,” Poulton explained.

“I had previously played three years of football with (fellow YP club) the CMS Crows under Troy Clements from 2008 to 2010.

“My coaching processes are built around teaching and enjoying the experience of learning.

“I’m hopeful that we can deliver an exciting and free flowing style of game with kicking plenty of goals being a prerequisite.

“I was coached by both Stephen and ‘Chocko” (Mark) Williams in my time at Alberton, Stephen in the SANFL and Mark in the AFL.

“Both were straight shooters who called ‘a spade a spade’ and you knew exactly where you stood with them.

“I would like a mixture of all positive aspects of the coaches who have taught me along the journey.”


Jared Poulton when was playing for Port Adelaide. Picture: Peter Argent

Up the road at the other club created out of the old Southern Yorke Peninsula (SYP) competition, the CMS Crows have moved from playing to non-playing coach for 2023, with Norwood’s former SANFL Women’s senior coach Matthew Creeper taking on the role.

He collected the SANFLW Coach of the Year award in 2021, the first of the two years at The Parade and was assistant coach with Collingwood’s AFLW team in 2020.

Previously he had coached in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Creeper started his football with Minlaton in the SYP and played with the Crows in their inaugural years Yorke Peninsula competition from 1994.

Former Norwood SANFLW coach Matthew Creeper who has taken on the senior role at the CMS Crows.

Greg Clark – who coached the Bloodhounds senior colts this season – and had previously had the role at A grade level, along with Balaklava in the Adelaide Plains Football League (APFL)– is in charge next year at Kadina.

A SANFL Premiership player at both North Adelaide and the Woodville West Torrens Eagles, Jarred Allmond is the new man in charge of the United Tigers in the APFL for the 2023 campaign, looking to lift the club back into contention.

The Virginia Rams have announced Wayne Knowles as their senior A grade coach for the upcoming season.

Knowles was A grade coach at Woodville South this year, spent three seasons at the Mannum Roos from 2019 to 2021 in the River Murray competition, along with a pair of campaigns assisting Michael Godden at the Eagles.

In the Barossa, Light and Gawler competition, North Adelaide forwards coach Damien Herzick has returned to the Willaston Donnybrooks, where he was Andrew Jarman’s assistant in 2021.

Herzick is a previous premiership coach at Gawler Central and also coached South Gawler and Virginia in the neighbouring Adelaide Plains competition.

At the Central Tigers, Shane Dawe, who was caretaker coach when Chad O’Sullivan moved on during the 2022 season, takes on the senior post next year.

The Dawe family has a three-generational connection with the club and Shane follows brother Craig, who had the senior role at the Tigers for a couple of years

Another returning to coaching ranks is Angaston’s long-term servant Craig Hadden. Along with over 300 games for the Panthers, he has also coached the club at senior colts and reserves level.

In his previous stint, Hadden engineered an A grade Grand Final appearance against Tanunda in 2009, going down by a small margin in the decider.

The Eagles’ Jarred Allmond will be at the helm for the United Football Club in the Adelaide Plains FL.

Across in the Northern Areas competition, Grand Finalists Orroroo have announced Tom Moten as their senior coach for 2023. Moten, who has also run a New York marathon, is a former player with the club, as well as playing with the Eudunda-Robertstown Southern Saints for a period.

At the end of September, the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies announced Greg Andrews as A grade coach panel for 2023 season.  He has previously coached at junior level at the club.

Five-time premiership player and three-time premiership coach (2019, 2020, 2022) Nick Hewett has stepped down from his role as senior mentor of the Broughton Mundoora Eagles. He will play at the Moonta Demons in the YPFL, where he and wife Simone have lived for the past few years.

In the Great Southern competition, the Yankallilla Tigers have secured the services of Chad Simmons.

He has been involved in winning league programs at Norwood and Sturt in the past decade, and across the 2020 and 2021 seasons he was Jarrad Wright’s assistant at South Adelaide.

Famous Port Pirie club, the Port Bulldogs in the Spencer Gulf League (SGL) has named local legend Jamie McNamara as their new senior coach for season 2023.

Jamie needs very little introduction to any followers of the Bulldogs having been a seven-time SGL premiership player, including six as Captain, a PortFC Hall of Fame member, junior coach since 2004 and long-time board member, having just stepped down as chairman of the club.

“It (coaching at Port) was always an agenda item,” McNamara said. “Coaching colts you could always get someone to fill in.

“My work situation has changed giving me the opportunity to commit to the demands of the A grade role.

“We have a very young group, but a number of 20-21 year olds have now played 50 or more A grade and are ready to take that next step.”

West Augusta have secured Michael Curley as their new coach, while at fellow Port Augusta club, South Augusta have nominated dual coaches for the ’23 campaign.

Jesse Crewsdon will come into the South Bulldogs program as co-coach with five-time premiership mentor Jamie Boles.

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