Saints fight for a win

A GRADE: Eyre United's Tim Milera is held up by Blues players in the Saints' win at Karkoo on Saturday. Picture: Lisa Warner

A GRADE: Eyre United's Tim Milera is held up by Blues players in the Saints' win at Karkoo on Saturday. Picture: Lisa Warner

Great Flinders football

First semi-final

A grade

Eyre United 10-9 (69) def Tumby Bay 7-10 (52)

SAINTS won through to the Great Flinders preliminary final with a hard fought 17-point win over the Tumby Bay Blues.

A large crowd had gathered at Karkoo for the start of the finals series.

The A grade game started with both teams making skill errors and the ball bouncing between the 50-metre arcs before David Murray found Malcolm Miller who kicked truly and the Saints had the early break.

When the Saints’ talent king Anthony Stengle kicked two goals in as many minutes it was like the Blues were a little shell shocked.

Blues big man Nigel James and his sidekick Jordan Hind where holding the Blues together as Saints Joey Burgoyne and co were on fire and leading the Blues’ midfield on an merry dance.

It was fast, open football and it was how far for the Saints after Tim Milera kicked another goal.

Blues eventually found a target up forward in Tom Kelly who kicked the Blues’ first goal.

Blues young gun Jackson Murphy was a leading target up forward.

Saints veteran Jordan Telfer was unbeatable across halfback, his marking and kicking a feature to watch.

Saints led easily at the end of the first quarter, 6-2 to 1-2 but to the Blues’ credit they did not go away.

Young gun Stephen Rees laid a bone-jarring tackle on Joey Burgoyne allowing Murphy to get a goal after a great mark.

The Blues threw everything at the Saints and when Nigel James crashed a pack, an all-in brawl started in the goal square.

Once play resumed, players from both sides spent a long time on the bench.

The Blues showed some spirit when Murphy kicked another goal after a great lead up but Saints veteran Miller was too skillful for the Blues backlines, kicking a great goal.

The Blues crashed in and Joe Walker was dominating his position at centre half back but needed some team-mates to help him out.

Saints’ Telfer was impassable and this allowed Casey Amos and the Saints midfielders to run and carry the ball forward where Milera was the recipient.

The game had tightened up and some uncharacteristic errors from the Saints gave them a glimmer of hope going into halftime, Saints 7-3 to Blues 4-5.

Saints poured on the pressure in the third quarter and with Stengle and Murray having a huge influence on the ball up forward, Tumby Bay had no answers for their superb skills.

Once again it was Murphy who kicked true to keep the Blues in touch.

The Blues definitely were not going away but they had few winners up forward as the Saints’ Troy Simpson and Telfer combined time and time again to keep the Blue forwards under control.

The Saints’ ball movement was sublime at times and it was up to Blues Hind and Josh Cave down back to continually mark the ball and repel the Saints forwards.

Blues Jack Jacobs, Archie Harris and Brayden Calderwood tried hard to keep the Blues in the game but gettable shots on goal missed and with that the Saints moved the ball from defence to attack with ease allowing Stengle to kick a great goal.

The game had developed into a real arm wrestle with both sides hitting in hard, the tackling was fierce.

The Saints’ Milera was gifted an early goal in the last quarter but the Blues got a spark with Hind and Murphy both kicking goals to give them a glimmer of hope.

The game was fought out with neither side giving it away until the final siren despite players showing signs of fatigue.

Maybe if the Blues had kicked straighter they might have pinched the game as they dominated much of the play but could not find another avenue to goal other than Murphy who played his heart out to give his team a chance of moving into the preliminary final.  

Saints move into the preliminary final while it is the end of the season for Tumby Bay.

Saints best were Jordan Telfer, Joey Burgoyne, David Murray, Anthony Stengle and Tim Milera. Blues best were Jackson Murphy, Jordan Hind, Joe Walker, Josh Cave and Tom Kelly.

Reserves

Cougars 9-10 (64) def Ramblers 7-6 (48)

Cougars came away from Karkoo in the reserves with a hard fought, 16-point win.

They had to do it the hard way, at one point being down by more than 24 points, but they fought back to win an entertaining game.

In a game of contrasting halves, Ramblers bounced out of the blocks early with Todd Coleman a focal point up forward. Along with Rowan McDonald they had Cougars’ backlines chasing jumpers.

When Sam Guidera kicked a long goal it was how far Ramblers.

Cougars looked very unorganised, overused the ball at times with poor skills and did not go direct to the goal square where Craig Meaney and Luke Letton loomed as match winners.

Ramblers’ veterans Shannon Minhard and Brad Claughton had excellent games and along with Ben Franklin they combined well to have the early advantage.

Cougars’ backline was defending well with Tom Mahoney and Roger Puckridge finding plenty of the football.

Ramblers were well on top in the first quarter and it looked like a big winning margin was in the making.

However Cougars found some ball winners around the ball in particular Wal Monfries and Sam Whittaker along with the elusive Jarrod Howell and they managed to find a leading full forward in Luke Letton who was unstoppable.

Letton finished up with four quality goals and put Cougars in front after his team-mates also kicked goals.

Cougars’ Kye Fergusson and young gun Ned Fuss showed plenty of fight and gave their team reason to believe a win was going to happen after they kicked team-lifting goals.

Well done to Ramblers on a great first half. They looked to have the game won but Cougars never gave up.

Cougars’ best were Luke Letton, Sam Whittaker, Roger Puckridge, Corey Letton and Tom Mahoney. Ramblers’ best were Shannon Minhard, Ben Franklin, Sam Guidera, Brad Claughton and Jordy Secker.

Colts

Cougars 12-10 (82) def United Yeelanna 6-5 (41)

It was a cracking day for football at Karkoo with the flags hanging limply in the slightly overcast conditions.

Each team took to the field with only 15 players, although Cougars fielded a full interchange bench.

The game began with a scramble as both teams found their rhythm with the ball richocheting from end to end, before Dre Lambadgee registered the first goal for Cougars with a quick kick from inside the square.

United Yeelanna tried hard to respond but Seth Dobbins was involved in several intercepts, creating an inpenetrable block.

An accurate Jayden Gale-kick to Fergus Burns brought Cougars’ second.

Ethan Cafuta was doing a sterling job defending for United Yeelanna, with a couple of scoring shots for Cougars resulting in minor scores only.

The second quarter saw United Yeelanna on the score board with a run from Riley Dolan, precisely kicking to Cafuta who scored.

Jamie Kelly in the Cougars’ square thwarted a goal with a strong tackle before Brodie Laube kicked true.

Isaiah Wilksch and Chase Connor were having a solid tussle through the centre when an accurate pass to Cafuta resulted in a goal.

The following centre bounce saw the ball kicked high toward Cougars’ end where it spilled from the pack but was snatched up by Lambadgee and goaled.

Halftime saw Cougars ahead 6-4 to 3-2.

A rapid centre clearance at the beginning of the third saw a quick Cougars goal.

A long impressive run by Gale through the centre with a kick to Laube realised another goal.

The Yeelanna team lifted through the assertive play of Liam Gerber tussling with Adrian Connor and a strong mark by Izaac Hancock, while the ever present Jed Murnane committed completely to every contest.

The defensive wall of Isaac Trager and Harry Green was difficult for the Yeelanna forwards to get past but Beau Maddern and Bailey Doolan gave their best.

Harry Shepperd took an unflinching mark and passed to Laube who kicked from a tight angle to graze the post for a point.

The kick out resulted in a rapid passage of play back through the centre via Julie Gerber to Elektra Cain to Demi Clements but only a point resulted.

Heath Seigert found space and ran, creating opportunities for Laube to score again. 

The final quarter was desperately played as Lastat Cain swooped on a ground ball with a kick to Wilksch, passed to Doolan but Billy Mahoney intercepted and got it back to Lambadgee for another score.

Cafuta again got a kick to Clements to Doolan for a goal and the home crowd lifted United Yeelanna but strong bodywork from Aiden Millhouse resulted in a major for Cougars.

An excellent game of youth, enthusiasm and skill but the larger and older Cougars team was too strong.

Cougars’ best players were J. Gale, S. Dobbins, F. Burns, A. Connor, H. Seigert and H. Green. United Yeelanna’s best were L. Cain, J. Murnane, E. Cafuta, J. Kelly, H. Carey and R. Doolan.