As Community Football leagues across the State finally embark on their 2020 season, we take a look at how each league is shaping up thanks to Think! Road Safety. We’re kicking off with the Port Lincoln Football League.
By Nick Dillon
The Port Lincoln Football League is the sole league running on the Eyre Peninsula in 2020, with locals expecting it to be at its strongest for some time.
With Eastern Eyre, Far West, Great Flinders and Mid West withdrawing from the 2020 season due to COVID restrictions, the PLFL has seen an influx of players into the competition for both seniors and juniors.
Eyre Peninsula Football Operations Coordinator Richard Murphy said while it was disappointing that more leagues didn’t get up for 2020, a bonus outcome was the strengthening of the PLFL.
“There’ll be some good footy played, that’s for sure,” Murphy said. “I think there’s been close to 200 clearances into the league and 20 of those who have played either EP, state country or they’re Mail Medallists.
“All along, Port Lincoln has been pretty positive about getting footy up and running again and they were one of the few leagues on EP that made the decision on a start date and to keep absorbing information from SANFL and the government.
“They locked a date in three or four weeks ago and have stuck to that.”
Five teams will compete in the PLFL across all grades, but the league will be without Mallee Park for this year.
“Mallee Park has withdrawn, but the league has handled it really well and done a good job of engaging with them,” Murphy said.
“They’re fully supportive of the other clubs going ahead.
“Some of their players have gone to other clubs in Port Lincoln and to other areas of the state as well.”
Murphy is confident the club will return in 2021.
“They’ve got their 40th year next year so I think they’ll work pretty hard to make sure they’re up and about,” he said.
With five teams in the competition, each club will play each other twice with a grand final to be played on Saturday, September 26.
2019 finish: 4th
2020 coach: Scott Mullins
Waybacks will enter the season as early premiership favourites, with a host of big names joining the club including SA Country representatives Xavier Watson and Jaxon Norton from United Yeelanna.
They have also gained the services of EP representatives Ian Jericho and Levi Konitza, who will add some toughness around the contest, while Jonty Seal and Elliot Claxton from the Mid West and Eastern Eyre leagues will also be valuable additions to the club under new coach Scott Mullins.
2019 finish: 3rd
2020 coach: Boyd West
With the Great Flinders season abandoned, Rangers have managed to hold on to key players Kory Beard and Blaze Kay, while reigning Mail Medallist Casey Amos joins from Mallee Park.
Ceduna Blues’ midfielder Jaxen Bennett and Lock’s Guy Morton will give Marble Range solid ball winning ability under new coach Boyd West.
2019 finish: Premiers
2020 coach: Boyd McCurry
Tasman is another club to have benefited from the other EP leagues not playing.
The reigning premiers have topped up their list nicely, led by dual Mail Medallist Dom Denton, of Thevenard.
Meanwhile the inclusion of the Crettendon brothers – Matt, Michael and Stephen – who have all played representative footy will be massive additions to the club.
Rhys Kelsh and Far West Medallist Jesse Chandle add further class to a strong Tasmans outfit.
2019 finish: 6th
2020 coach: Chris Vorstenbosch
One could be confused for mistaking Bostons with Mallee Park this year, given the amount of arrivals from the Peckers.
The Roderick brothers, Quade Ware, former player Malcolm Miller and state country player David Wright from Ceduna will add valuable experience to the back half as the Tigers undertake a fresh look in 2020.
The Tigers have some genuine leg speed within their ranks and will be a dangerous opponent, with a rise up the ladder not out of the question.
2019 finish: 5th
2020 coach: Luke Wilkins
Lincoln South will also have a strong Mallee Park connection, with Clifford Warrior, Troy Simpson, David Murray and the talented Kingsley Bilney Jr joining the club.
Tumby Bay’s Joe Walker will add class across half back as the club is set to look very different in seniors this year.
Much will depend on how they gel together, but supporters can expect a bold showing with what looks to be a talented list.
Rd 1 – July 4
Lincoln South v Wayback; Marble Range v Boston.
Rd 2 – July 11
Tasman v Lincoln South; Wayback v Boston.
Rd 3 – July 18
Tasman v Wayback; Lincoln South v Marble Range.
Rd 4 – July 25
Boston v Tasman; Marble Range v Wayback
Rd 5 – August 1
Lincoln South v Boston; Tasman v Marble Range
Rd 6 – August 8
Wayback v Lincoln South; Boston v Marble Range
Rd 7 – August 15
Lincoln South v Tasman; Boston v Wayback.
Rd 8 – August 22
Wayback v Tasman; Marble Range v Lincoln South
Rd 9 – August 29
Tasman v Boston; Wayback v Marble Range
Rd 10 – September 5
Boston v Lincoln South; Marble Range v Tasman.
2nd SEMI-FINAL – September 12
1st SEMI-FINAL – September 13
PRELIMINARY FINAL – September 19
GRAND FINAL – September 26