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Community Football Preview – Part 4

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Aseri 'Bobby' Raikiwasa has returned to his foundation club Ports in the Eastern Eyre Football League. Photo: Peter Argent

In the fourth of a series of articles on SA Community Football in 2021, Peter Argent looks a number of the key appointments and players arriving across the Eyre Peninsula.

Eastern Eyre

In the Eastern Eyre competition at Ports, prodigal son Aseri “Bobby” Raikiwasa has returned to his foundation club for the 2021 season.

Originally the amalgamation of the Arno Bay and Port Neill football clubs, Ports kicked off its season on ANZAC eve against Kimba.

“It is 13 years since I last played for the club,” Raikiwasa told SANFL.

“It’s nice to be back in the back and white again – and It makes me look a bit slimmer as well.

“A bonus is I will play alongside my little brother, Leonard “Lenni” McDonough this year.

“Ayden Smith, who is also an accomplished cricketer, has returned from the Yorke Peninsula, along with the Nuriootpa pair Alec Bryce and Alex Cameron coming across.”

There is a now a father-son combination in charge of A grade teams in SA country football this year as well, with Grant Jenner coaching the Eastern Rangers, in this expansive Eastern Eyre competition, with his oldest son, Kyle, the senior coach at Nuriootpa.

The Cowell Cats have former Whyalla football person Greg Marshall in charge.

At the powerful Kimba and Districts side, Matt Lienert has taken the reigns.

The new Central Eyre United Storm, formed by an amalgamation of Wudinna United and Central Eyre football clubs, is coached by Jeremy “Fridge” Wagner is its inaugural season. Wudinna United had previously been an amalgamation of Yaninee (called United) and Wudinna in 1988, while Central Eyre formed in 1987 with Kyancutta and Warramboo as its foundation clubs.

“It has been a smooth transition,” CEU Storm President Jared Sampson said.

“This has highlighted that the timing was right for this merger.

“Joining the Eastern Eyre competition has actually reduced travel for a majority of the personnel.”

Included in the CEU playing ranks this year is Jesse Stringer, a 19-game former AFL footballer with Geelong between 2012 and 2014.

Bobby Raikiwasa in action for SA Country.

Port Lincoln

In the Port Lincoln Football League, a couple of clubs, Lincoln South and reigning 2020 premiers Tasman, are both celebrating milestone 75th seasons.

At the South Eagles, football journeyman and State country coach Luke “Swooper” Duncan is in control again this season, while Boyd McCurry is the man in charge at Tasman.

One of the most successful rural football clubs, both from a premiership perspective and with players drafted to the AFL, Mallee Park turns 40 this year, after starting back in 1981.

Darren “Trumby” Miller is the man in charge as they look to further add to their raft of premierships.

At the Boston Tigers Brad Keast has the role of dragging them into finals contention.

Marble Range has Boyd West in charge, and Corey Beard, the dual premiership key forward at Sturt is still donning the clubs black and white in the PLFL.

Meanwhile at Waybacks, Matthew Goodwin continues in charge of that famous club, while they have retained the services of Xavier Watson, after he played the 2020 season in the navy and red.

South Eagles and SA Country coach Luke Duncan.

Whyalla

In the Whyalla competition, reigning premiers Central Whyalla have 300-game player and now coach Mark Turner in charge of its title defence.

At West Whyalla, the team that dominated the previous four years, continues with Bradley Smith in change. Also an elite local cricketer, Smith had been a part of six premierships (two as a player and four as coach,

The Weeroona Bay Tigers are being coached by Jared Sharkey, a player who came through the grades at West Whyalla and had significant involvement in junior zone football with North Adelaide.

At the Roopena Roos, Adrian Higgins from Port Lincoln is in charge. Higgins played a handful of games through the grades for North Adelaide and coached Lincoln South to a Port Lincoln Football League flag.

At Barrie Robran’s foundation club, North Whyalla, Peter Usher is the senior coach. A former Central Roosters and Roopena inside midfielder, Usher played in flags at both those entities.

For the South Whyalla Demons, Jeremy Edwards, a highly talented junior at Central has taken charge this year.

Great Flinders

The Great Flinders Football League (GFFL) has returned after its 2020 hiatus.

2019 premiership coach at the United Yeelanna Eagles Corey Murname will be looking for consecutive GFFL titles, while at the Tumby Bay Blues, Craig “Ferrett” Curtis, the brother of former Sturt player Michael Curtis, has the senior job. Michael is expected to coach the Great Flinders representative team this year.

Matthew Stokes, a man with a football history in WA, will be in charge of the Cummins Kapinnie Cougars in the 2021.

A stalwart of Eyre Peninsula football and with SANFL State League experience, George Pedler will get his first gig in charge of the Cummins Ramblers, a club with whom his family has a rich and successful history.

Former State country player Ty Habner is continuing as the playing coach of the Lock Roos, a role he held in the 2019 season.

Elliston and Western Districts have combined to become Elliston Districts for the 2021 season campaign, with the evergreen Scott “Fingers” Feltus and Matt Williams sharing the coaching role.

Local stalwart and strong contributor Brad Foster has the A grade coaching role at Eyre United.

Western Zone championship winning coach Scott Feltus, left, with captain Xavier Watson at the SA Country Championships in Renmark in 2018. Feltus is co-coach of the newly formed Elliston Districts.

Western Eyre

In Western Eyre League, which incorporates the four former Far West clubs, multi-generational Rooster Barry Coleman is in charge of the Koonibba.

2019 premiers Western United has a club stalwart, defender Jarrod Murphy, in control.

After a successful period in junior ranks at the Cenduna Blues, Graham Woods in in charge for a third season and looking to go one better than their Grand Final appearance in 2019.

Goal kicking ace Mark Threadgold, who racked up a century one season and is a premiership player, has been elevated from the B grade to take control of the first team at the Thevenard Magpies.

From the disbanded Mid West League, the 2019 premiers, West Coast Hawks, have made a strong impression early and have Tyson Montgomerie as coach.

The other former Mid West competition team that is travelling west is the Wirrulla Bombers, with Darryl Lawrie in charge.