Rick ready to lead SA Country with pride


SA Country coach Rick Macgowan is eager to instill the State pride into his side when it confronts WA Country at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.

A highly-credentialed SANFL player and coach with Central District and Sturt, Macgowan has been impressed with the players’ desperation to pull on the cherished red guernsey for the first time in three years.

Speaking on SANFL Radio, Macgowan said reigniting the annual battle between the regional Croweaters and Sandgropers was vital in keeping the overall concept of State footy alive.

”It’s important for our State as we are starved of State football,” Macgowan said.

”Obviously State of Origin is a long way off and while we understand it’s not at the level of AFL, these guys will play with great passion and put on a great show.

”Hopefully plenty (of people) come along to witness that.”

After pouring over plenty of vision, Macgowan and his selection panel have finalised a 23-man outfit which includes plenty of SANFL-experienced players for the AFL curtain-raiser which begins at 4.05pm.

Key positions players Tom Whittlesea (Woodville-West Torrens/South Adelaide), Aseri Raikiwasa (Port Adelaide) and Ben Edwards (Glenelg/Port Adelaide) will present Macgowan with flexibility given their ability to play at either end of the ground.

Former Central District pair Steve Burton and Flynn Pisani, Eagles utility Giles Ellis and Adelaide SANFL player Sam Tharaldsen also boast experience at State League level.

But Macgowan, originally from Darke Peake on the Eyre Peninsula, said there are several younger gems in his line-up who could be unearthed before the contest between Adelaide and Carlton.

Having coached Sturt in 2007 and 2008 before crossing to be one of Alastair Clarkson’s assistants at Hawthorn in 2009 and 2010, Macgowan jumped at the chance to be involved in the SA Country program and didn’t rule out returning to SANFL ranks in the long-term.

SA will be desperate to return to the winners list against their foe from across the Nullarbor, having succumbed to WA by nine points in Perth in their last meeting in 2019.

Central Zone’s Ben Edwards in action for Port Adelaide’s SANFL team. Picture – Hannah Howard

2022 SA Country Team

Guernsey Player Club Zone
1 Jack Kenny Eastern Ranges Eyre Peninsula
2 Ben Edwards CMS Crows Central
3 Brayden Kain South Gambier South East
4 Shane Ballantyne Southern Flinders Northern
5 Tom Whittlesea Bordertown South East
6 Flynn Pisani South Gawler Central
7 Matt Willson Naracoorte South East
8 Jordan Clements Marble Range Eyre Peninsula
9 Steve Jackson Weeroona Bay Northern
10 Giles Ellis Kadina Central
11 Aseri Raikiwasa Ports Eyre Peninsula
12 Todd Reid South Gambier South East
13 Sam Tharaldsen Flagstaff Hill Southern Districts
14 Zane Montgomerie Elliston Districts Eyre Peninsula
15 Daniel Perks Tailem Bend Eastern
16 Mark Marriott Hatherleigh South East
17 Pat Davies Kalangadoo South East
18 Steve Burton South Gawler Central
19 Jed Woolford Marble Range Eyre Peninsula
20 Frazer Bradley Millicent South East
21 Murphy Short CMS Crows Central
22 Matt Crettenden United Yeelanna Eyre Peninsula
23 Jaxon Bennett Marble Range Eyre Peninsula
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