The Limestone Coast Regional Football Carnival brought all three community leagues together at Kongorong on Saturday in front of a big crowd.
It was eventful even before things got under way after a “hoon” decided to make the oval a burnout pad and put the ground into a rutty condition.
Despite the incident taking place less than 24 hours before first bounce, it was all hands on deck to fix and manicure the ground before play commenced.
The Mid South Eastern and Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football Leagues took centre-stage facing off in the annual senior interleague clash where a football lesson was handed to the Mid South Eastern league by the KNTFL to the tune of 77 points.
The Mid South Eastern team was handed some blows before the first bounce with Sam Gray unable to play after putting a nail through his thumb at work and another pulling out due to the COVID-19.
This gave Robe’s Cade Kelly a chance to play and put his classy skills to the test, while the KNTFL enjoyed the luxury of going in unchanged as the side was announced.
Both sides played back and forward football for the first five minutes of the first quarter until KNTFL’s Thomas Whittlesea put the opening major on the board.
Then it was another quick one before Jak Ryan put the home team’s first on the board a mere 20 meters out, straight in front of the big sticks.
From that point the KNTFL was dominant across all facets of the game, with Matt Wilson in the middle making first use of the ball and the burly full forward in Whittlesea providing a focal point.
KNTFL went into the first change with a 13-point lead and the second quarter action was pretty much all the visitors way.
But the Mid South Eastern side lifted through Tom Watchel in the ruck and Tye McManus with the carry of the ball out of the middle.
The defensive line of the KNTFL knuckled down to repel a lot of attacks from the hosts which resulted in the visitors kicking four goals to one and going to the major break with a handy 32-point buffer.
It was a different Mid South Eastern side that found an extra gear in the third quarter and started to find team mates with good skill by foot.
But KNTFL put a stop to that with Todd Lockwood finding space and putting the ball into attack.
Ben Gregory was everywhere for the MSE along with Andrew Stone and Jack Skeer, as the KNTFL went into the last change with a healthy 41-point lead.
The silky-smooth movement of the ball shone in the last quarter for the Knights and it was evident they were the side that found the ground to their liking, creating space and hitting targets while the Mid South Eastern’s overuse of the one-two kick method was not working.
This allowed the KNTFL side to go on and claim the match by 77 points.
Best on ground for the Knights was Whittlesea and the best under 21 was Nathan McCarthy, while the Mid South Eastern’s best player was Watchel with McManus the leading youngster.
The juniors got the day off to bright start with the Western Border and Mid South Eastern Under 15 teams running on the park first thing Saturday morning on the freshly repaired ground.
Despite the buzz of playing on home turf, MSEFL was stunned by a Western Border onslaught as the visitors stormed to a 33-0 lead by half time.
The Mid South Eastern side did muster one major, but it could not stop WBFL from starting the day off with a bang, collecting a huge 64-point win.
The same foes opened the Under 17.5 proceedings and the game followed a similar path as WBFL enjoyed a dominated start.
The double blue team marched on to a 56-1 win to send a big statement to the competition.
MSEFL endured more pain when it faced off with KNTFL in the second Under 15’s game.
The hosts allowed their opponents to seize all of the early momentum and cruise to a comfortable 53-point triumph.
That result meant all hopes of some Mid South Eastern junior success depended on the Under 17.5 team.
Although the MSEFL registered its most scoring shots across the under age games with six, it could not keep up with the more clinical KNTFL team which sealed a 28-point triumph.
This set the stage for the WBFL and KNTFL contests to determine the bragging rights in both under age grades.
The Under 15’s were up first and fans enjoyed a grand arm wrestle with just one straight kick the difference at the main break.
After a tough game of football, Western Border was victorious over the KNTFL by just five points with MVP Kobe Gibson standing out for the victors.
Mid South Eastern’s Charlie Bevan, Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara’s Ned McCarthy and Western Border’s Dean Harten were the top performers across the day.
Western Border was also the winner in the Under 17s, which was another close game against the KNTFL.
Despite a three-goal fightback from the Knights during a five-minute blast in the final term, WBFL managed to hold on 50-42.
MSE’s Flynn Peel, KNTFL’s Tom Anderson and WBFL’s Lochie Thiele were the MVPs for their respective league sides.