In the first of a three-part series, we look at the grand final triumphs in SA community football across the State and Broken Hill.
BY PETER ARGENT
Played on the expansive Virginia Oval, the undefeated Two Wells Roosters, led by playing coach and 2023 SA State Country player Caleb Edmead, held on for premiership success against the Mallala Magpies, who were gallant.
Only eight points separated the combatants at half time, before the Roosters won a low-scoring match by 17 points, 8.12 (60) to 6.7 (43).
Another Adelaide Plains state country player from the Central Zone, ruckman Jakob Thompson, was a pivotal performer, while Edmead finished with three goals.
Former Central District league footballer David Haydon across half back, Noah and Luke Barnett, along with Dylan Wise and Jack Hankins were other Two Wells players who stood out.
For the Magpies Trey Mason, Kale Olds and Sam Angus were conspicuous.
Hummocks-Watchman on-baller Ethan Kwaterski claimed the 2023 Mail and Plains Producer Medal.
In a classic encounter, South Gawler collected its second flag in three years after a dramatic finish to the game.
Nuriootpa, who had snatched the title 12 months earlier in the wet at Angaston Oval, led by four points at lemons – 9.10 (64) to 9.6 (60).
Josh Wittwer exploded with a pair of majors and the Lions got to a 15 point lead, before the Tigers charged back into the contest, grabbing the lead with a goal 24 minutes into the final term of the year.
Michael Dejonge became the hero, kicking a goal on the run from the half forward flank, before Nathan Bartsch sealed the deal to give South an eight-point win, 14.10 (94) to 12.14 (86).
Ruckman Lachlan Arnold, the son of triple Central District premiership big man Damien, won the Hurn Medal as the best on ground in this game.
Jaden Gurney, Bailey Fielke, Matt Naumann, Patrick White and Henry Bennison all were important in South’s win.
Nicholas Gregurke, Kai Rosenzweig with two goals, Samuel Falland, William Nicholls, along with three goal forward James Bentley were the Tigers’ best.
South Gawler mid-fielder Steve Burton won his second successive Schluter Medal after sharing it with Sam Colquhoun last year.
The Brinkworth-Spalding-Redhill Tigers continued their dominance of North Eastern football, defeating Eudunda-Robertstown comfortably in the season decider at by an emphatic 44-point margin, kicking 10.15 (75) and keeping the Southern Saints 4.7(31), at the refurbished Clare Oval.
This was BSR’s remarkable sixth flag across the past seven years, and they were runners up in the 2020 campaign.
Former Eagles and Port Adelaide SANFL footballer Jackson Lee was best on ground, followed by playing coach Matthew Longbottom and skipper Joseph Heinjus.
Sam Wilsdon, Zack Longbottom and the athletic Alex Morgan also had a big impact.
For the vanquished, it was Leigh Kimpton, 2015 Jack Oatey Medallist Christopher Schmidt and second generation big man Jed Michalk who had an impact.
BSR on-baller Alex Morgan polled 25 votes to win the 2023 North Eastern Football League Mail Medal by two votes from long-term Mintaro-Manoora Eagles servant Bill Sandow. Third was former North Adelaide reserves player Matt Longbottom with 22 votes.
Making their way to the big dance from the Elimination Final, Orroroo collected the NAFA crown, defeating an inaccurate minor premier Booleroo-Melrose-Willington (BMW) by six points, despite having four less scoring shots than the BMW Lions.
The final scoreboard at Gladstone Oval read the Roos 8.8 (56) defeating BMW 6.14 (50).
For the Roos, captain Aiden Lee, William Bennett, Henry Slade, Josh Hilder and Will Bowman all had big games.
For the Lions, who will rue kicking 1.8 in the third term, received sterling service from Kieren Reynolds, Cody Woolford, Alek Kangur and Jake Whenan.
Former North Adelaide footballer Will Combe added another slice of his own to the family legacy.
He followed in his brother, Magarey Medal winner Campbell, and grandfather’s footsteps in winning the NAFA Mail Medal accolade this year.
In an upset of epic proportions, the Kadina Bloodhounds, in a massive 18 goal turn-around from second semi-final day, defeated the Moonta Demons side that was brim full of former SANFL and AFL talent.
At Maitland Oval in the second semi, the Demons dominated the contest, winning 17.18 (120) to 7.6 (48).
However, at the windy Ardrossan Oval, the Bloodhounds were seven points in arrears at the long interval before the game was turned on its head.
Kadina kicked nine of the 11 goals after half time to win 15.4 (94) to 8.10 (58).
Two-time Woodville-West Torrens premiership forward Angus Poole was best on ground, while his former Eagles team mate, Jake Von bertouch, kicked four big goals.
Jack Elsworthy, big man Fin Hansen, Jake Westbrook, Jayson Manners and Lachlan Glazbrook were all strong performers for the winners
Better players for the modest Demons were Braden Aldridge, former West Coast Eagle returning home Malcolm Karpany, Oliver Mullins and recruit Ryley Maitland.
Central Yorke Cougars A grade playing coach Luke Trenorden claimed the 2023 Yorke Peninsula Football League Mail Medal win 26 votes with Southern Eagles’ Jackson Hooper finished second with 22. Ryley Maitland (Moonta) and former Bloods footballer Zac Bates (CY Cougars) finished equal third with 21 votes.
Nairne-Bremer wrote themselves into the Hills Division One history books, defeating Hahndorf in the 2023 Division 1 decider.
This was the Rams’ first Division One title since moving up from the Country Division five years ago.
To achieve this, they had to get over a power-packed Hahndorf Magpies outfit, who were undefeated across the 18 minor round matches.
After a big qualifying final win, Nairne-Bremer upset the Magpies in the second semi-final, getting up by 21 points at Johnston Memorial Park, Balhannah Oval.
Hahndorf won its way back into the decider, but the Rams were too strong in the end.
In the 12-point grand final win – 12.16 (88) to 11.10 (76) – played at Thomas Foods International Park, Lobethal, former South Adelaide and State under-age footballer from Freeling, Dylan Whimpress, captured best on ground honours, while goal kicking centurion Darcy Hourigan (115 for the season) and Jared Greenbank both kicked four goals.
Benjamin Powell, Tom Bedding, Dailan How and Lachlan May all were telling for the victors.
Adam Trenorden, Scott Purling and Brayden Hopgood were the Magpies better performers.
Captain and ruckman at the Rams Brock Knott was the Hills Football League Division One Mail Medalist for 2023.
Undefeated during the minor round, the Gumeracha Magpies had to rebound from a second semi- final loss. They held on to beat their foes, Meadows, by just six points in a heart-stopping decider.
In a low scoring decider where goals were at a premium, the Magpies kicked the only major of the final term to win by that margin, getting up 6.5 (41) to 5.5 (35).
Jeremy Hackett kicked three of the six Magpies goals, while Daniel Wood, Jack Parker, Sam Hanna, Cameron Redden and Ethan Lynch were all conspicuous.
For Meadows, Matthew and Jake Spencely, along with Jack Dalgleish, Luke Smart and Andrew Coombe all worked hard, while key forward Chad Dawe kicked two goals.
Former Central District footballer Sam Hanna from Gumeracha was the winner of the Country Division A Grade Mail Medal.
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