Community Footy

Pirie showdown: country footy Grand Final preview

Solomontown's Joel Palmer. Photo by Peter Argent

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By Peter Argent

Spencer Gulf League

The 2021 community football calendar culminates in the final regional league grand final on Saturday.

The Spencer Gulf season-decider is between the two Port Pirie teams – this season’s competition yardstick Solomontown, known in the country football world as “Sollies”, and the Proprietary-Risdon Lions, or “Prop Risdon”.

Sollies lost just two games during the regular season and gained direct entry to this week’s grand final by defeating South Augusta, the premiers across the past five years, by four points on second semi-final day.

Prop Risdon, after dismissing West Augusta in the first semi-final, easily accounted for the South Bulldogs on preliminary final day.

The first two matches between these cross-town combatants from the “smelter city” were both decided by less than a straight kick.

To start the season at the town’s refurbished Memorial Oval in Round One, Solomontown 11.10 (76) defeated Prop Risdon 10.13 (73) in a heart-stopper.

The margin was the same again in the Round Six encounter, with Prop Risdon 11.9 (75) going down to Sollies 11.12 (78).

The third clash between the pair in Round 11 in August was one sided, with Sollies winning by a substantial 56-point margin (Solomontown 16.11 (107) defeating Prop Risdon 7.9 (51)).

There is plenty of exciting personnel on both sides, with Jonathon Hayes winning the competition’s highest individual honour, the Madigan Medal, by two votes from Sollies teammate Corey Davey, who has kicked 48 goals this season.

Other Cats to watch include members of the Munzberg clan, Lawson and Mason, along with Dylan Boundy, who has had an impact in front of goal with 32 majors.

Josef Caputo, along with Kaleb and Tom Head are also expected to have an impact.

Proprietary-Risdon Lions’ Andrew Wright. Photo by Peter Argent

For Prop Risdon, dual premiership player at Gawler Central Andrew Wright produced an outstanding year, as did Tyler Eckert and recruit from the Northern Areas, Joel Palmer – a long time servant of State country football.

Palmer, who won a Mail Medal when he was at the Kadina Bloodhounds in the YPFL, was fourth in the Madigan Medal count this year.

Another player with a Gawler Central connection, Luke Edwards, walked away with the leading goal kicker award kicking 66 majors, including a game during the season where he had an 11-goal haul against Central Augusta.

Anthony Oliphant, Luke Patterson and long-time North Zone Championships player Jordan Fuller have also had strong seasons.

Fuller, with 35 majors, and Hugo Wallace with 36 goals, have been two other strong avenues up forward for the Lions.

The Proprietary/Risdon Lions last took the Spencer Gulf Football League crown in 2015, with Sollies the champs the year before, beating West Augusta in a low-scoring thriller by five points.

These teams travel up Highway One to Central Oval at Port Augusta to play this decider.

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