SA regions raring to go for season 2022

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Regional Community Football Previews - Part 2

By Peter Argent

A good majority of South Australia Community Football leagues commence their seasons this Anzac long weekend. In this report we cover the leagues through the Mid North of the State, including the North Eastern (NEFL), Adelaide Plains (APFL), Northern Areas Football Association (NAFA), Spencer Gulf Football League (SGFL) and just over the border in the Silver City, the Broken Hill Football League (BHFL).

North Eastern

The NEFL has programmed a 14-round season, with four bye rounds this year, and reigning premier Brinkworth-Spalding-Redhill (BSR) looking to continue its current dynasty in the competition.

Reigning premiership coach Kane Stewart continues in charge, while Jackson Moller returns to the fold to play alongside older brother Isaac after a stint with South Clare.

Jackson Lee is also returning to his foundation club this year, when not required by the Port Adelaide Magpies.

The Tigers have lost the Slade siblings, former Glenelg player Todd and younger sibling Josh, who have moved across to the West Coast and will play in the Port Lincoln competition.

Across at the Eudunda-Robertstown Southern Saints, former Central District player and Tanunda flag winning defender Matthew Prior takes over from Chris Schmidt.

When not committed to his SANFL coaching role at West Adelaide, premiership defender Adam Hartlett will also don the Saints red, black and white jumper this year.

At the Mintaro-Manoora Eagles, intercept player Jack Latchford takes over as senior coach, whilst recruiting his brother, Hamish, who played with the SANFL Crows, Will Hudson and ruckman Tomas Spanobskis from Prince Alfred Old Collegians to the club. Brok Schubert is another arrival from the Victor Harbor Kangaroos.

Successful junior coach at the Min-Man Eagles, teacher-by-trade Tim Packer is the Blyth-Snowtown Cats boss, while Levi Krause continues as playing coach for the ’21 Grand Finalists, RSMU Hawks.

Jackson O’Brien continues in charge of the North Clare Roosters, with players Reilly Henning and Jay Moore coming across from SMOSH West Lakes.

Northern Areas

In the NAFA competition, defending premiers Orroroo will continue with Matt Dignan as senior coach, but have lost former Carlton listed player Patrick McCarthy, along with Matthew Delmenico, both returning to Sacred Heart Old Collegians.

Grand Final opponents Broughton Mundoora will again be coached by Nick Hewett, the oldest brother of former Sydney and now Carlton champion midfielder George Hewett.

They have a handful of senior players returning from long-term injury, including wonderful Northern Zone servant and former skipper Tom Button and Matt Ramsey from knee injuries. Fraser Kesling and Jarrod O’Donohue are other Eagles to be welcomed back from injury.

Strato Agorastos, a goal-kicking forward who played in the North Adelaide reserves premiership team of 2018, and Sam Dyer from Wallaroo will add to the attacking options as well.

Journeyman Nick Pearce continued at Southern Flinders, and the mercurial Shayne Ballantyne returns to the Tigers from South Clare. Multiple premiership player at the Bulldogs and Kilburn Vinny (Vince) Urbancic also comes across to the NAFA football from South Augusta.

Dylan Brooks from Houghton Districts, a strong midfielder who played 100 games with Salisbury North, is also an NAFA Tiger.

The Booleroo-Willington-Melrose Lions will be coached again by former North Adelaide footballer Alek Kangur, while Chris Stacey, who made a brief League appearance with Woodville-West Torrens in 2006, is coaching the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies.

Tom Crawford returns to his home after a stint at North Adelaide and the Broadview Tigers.

Zac Noonan, a former premiership returns to his foundation club after playing with Rostrevor Old Collegians, while utility Tyson McLean has made the move from the Walkerville Cats.

Brock Grayson from West Augusta, ruck-key forward Henry Moore, who returns after a stint in the Adelaide Footy League, and Nick Rynne, back from a knee reconstruction, add depth to the Magpies.

Matt “Milky” Coates will coach the ‘Brook’, while defender Jacob Langdon from Mount Gambier will add strength to the Roosters backline. The coach’s son, Leo, a strapping 191cm key position forward, returns to Crystal Brook as well.


High flying Shane Ballantyne returns to the Southern Flinders Tigers this season.

Spencer Gulf

Prop Risdon Lions, who won the ’21 decider over fellow Port Pirie rival Solomontown in an overtime thriller by four points, will again have Matt Promnitz in charge as coach. The Lions have also signed Dylan Aldridge from Moonta, when he is not required by the Port Adelaide Magpies SANFL team.

Local Mid North legend Damian Head is continuing with Sollies in 2022 and has kept the nucleus of his side together, despite last September’s heartbreak.

The famous Ports Bulldogs, coached by long-time stalwart Chris Polland, has collected two key big men.

From an elite volleyball program Fraser Smith, who played at Morphettville Park last season, and West Adelaide reserves key position player, Thomas Faulkner, will add much-needed height and strength to the green and white Bulldogs.

South Augusta with be coached by Jamie Boles again and have Clayton Milera coming across the West.

Matthew Gower, the club’s 2021 reserves premiership coach, will take over the senior job at West Augusta Hawks. Ryan Struck will coach Central Augusta Football Club for a second year.

Ports Bulldogs recruit Tom Faulkner will add height and strength.

Adelaide Plains

In the eight-team Adelaide Plains competition, the Balaklava Peckers will welcome Abraham Hefland from the Paskeville Magpies for their ’22 campaign under Shane Moss.

Hefland is a highly experienced representative YPFL captain and Central Zone Country Championships player who will add class and composure around the ball.

The Peckers have also added McKenzie Neild from PHOS Camden and former Sturt junior Tom Longden to the squad.

Perhaps the biggest recruit to community football this season is the arrival of triple Hawthorn premiership player and Norwood footballer Paul Puopolo to the Virginia Football Club.

Dual BLG Mail Medallist from Willaston, Shaun Baker, continues as the senior coach of the Rams.

Former Central District and Norwood player Caleb Edmead takes over the reins as playing coach at the Two Wells Roosters.

He welcomes 100-game Central District defender David Hayden into his team, while big man Harry Gameau returns from a season at the Southern Eagles.

As previously reported, 100-game league footballer with North Adelaide and the Eagles, SANFL state player and SA Country captain, Todd Miles, returns to Hamley Bridge, the club he played in a premiership with at the start of this century.

Big man Justin Schahinger, after playing League football at North Adelaide and in premiership sides for the RSMU Hawks, also returns to the Bombers, while Henry McCabe, the eldest of Luke McCabe’s clan, returns to the family’s foundation club.

Ashley “Red” Barnett is in charge of the Angle Park Football Club, while Craig “Wacka” Dawe continues in charge of the United Tigers.

The Owls have secured the services of former Tanunda and Sturt reserves big man, 203cm ruckman Sam Dunn.

After playing at North Adelaide, Jayden Goodfellow comes across to the club, having been a premiership player at Barossa District. Classy midfielder Beau Shinnick, who was a member of Nuriootpa 2018 premiership team, also arrives.

Former player Jarrod Wilson is coaching Hummocks Watchman Eagles.

Former Central District player Caleb Edmead is playing coach of the Two Wells Roosters.

Broken Hill

The official start to the Broken Hill Football League is on Sunday, April 24 with a clash between the North Bulldogs and South Broken Hill.

The Bulldogs have collected athletic ruckman Luke Wells, a multiple premiership player from Tanunda, who a decade ago was one of South Australia last All-Australian country players.

In the BLG, Wells won a pair of Hurn Medals (’09 and ’11) as best on ground in Tanunda’s premiership win, and in his All-Australian year he also shared the BLG Mail Medal with team mate Sam Agars and Kapunda’s Jason MacKenzie.

Another at the kennel is slick midfielder from Flagstaff Hill in the Southern League, Matt Walton.

Former West Robins Phil Bell is in charge of the Bulldogs, while reigning premiers South – who won the past three titles (2017, 2018 and 2019) have Darren Smith in charge for a second year.

Michael Westley, who captained West for a couple of seasons, is returning to the South Kangaroos, while the Silver City’s Marc Purcell, a long time servant of Northern Zone football, will be their skipper.

The West Broken Hill Football Club, looking for its first flag since 1990, continues under David Ruddock and will take on Greg Wellington’s Central Broken Hill Magpies on ANZAC Day.

The Magpies enjoyed its first win since 2019 in the pre-season cup round robin game before Easter.

A teacher from Victoria who played with Prahran in the VFA, Aaron Jory comes to town and adds midfield class to the Magpies.

Coming across from the Mildura Demons is a strong-marking big forward Caiden Deckhert.


Footnote – There was no footy in Broken Hill in 2020 and Covid hit again last year just before finals (After round 17).

All photos by Peter Argent.

The North Bulldogs have picked up Tanunda premiership player Luke Wells.

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