Limestone Coast opens Zone Carnival account

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Limestone Coast opens Zone Carnival account

Bragging rights belong to the new Limestone Coast Football Netball League as it thrashed the Mid South Eastern Football League by 55 points in the annual SE Zone Regional Carnival at Blue Lake Sports Park in Mount Gambier on Saturday afternoon.

Sporting a vivid green guernsey, the host league had too much pace and skill for their opponents and seldom looked troubled beyond the long break.

After a scrappy opening half, the Limestone Coast took full control in the second and used the spacious playing arena to good effect.

Scores were level at 1.2 apiece at quarter time with one major each to the Limestone Coast’s Frazer Bradley and the Mid SE’s Paddy Chay.

Bradley went on to boot another three goals to be the dominant forward on the day.

Chay converted a six-pointer after taking arguably the overhead mark of the day.

The host league kicked the solitary major in the second term as a battle of defences raged.

It was an intense tussle for supremacy with few easy possessions.

Neither team was able to capitalise on the good playing surface and weather conditions.

Taking an 11-point lead into the third term, the Limestone Coast added five goals straight to 1.5 to set a win.

KICK AWAY: Lewis Walker looks to get a kick away on Saturday. Pics: Frank Monger

The Mid SE’s sole goal came from a free kick and a 25m penalty to Tye McManus after a Limestone Coast player used profane terms to describe a decision.

The Mid SE did not score in the final term and its meagre tally of only 2.7 may be one of the lowest it has recorded in full-scale interleague matches.

On the other hand, Limestone Coast added a further 5.1 in the final stanza to finish with 11.8 and make its first foray into interleague competition a successful one.

The match was played in good spirit and well umpired by Matt Cockrum (Mid SE), Kerran Wingard (Limestone Coast) and John Langdon (Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara).

Around 30 years ago, the former Western Border league had defeated the Mid SE by over 100 points at this venue.

The 2024 result was a triumph for the Millicent Football Netball Club in particular as it supplied nine of the players as well as non-playing coach Tom Renzi.

It was a far cry from the 1990s when the only Saint to regularly achieve inter-association selection was triple league medallist Andrew Nitschke.

The successful Saints on Saturday were Frazer Bradley, Kade Varcoe, Finn Grimes, Kade Bradley, Sam Willis, Kalan Shanks, Harry Tunkin, Jacob Carger and Zac McGuiness.

Tunkin headed the list of best players and was joined on that list by Frazer Bradley and Shanks.

LCFNL BEST: Harry Tunkin was named the Limestone Coast Football Netball League’s best player.

Also on that list were Hamish McRae (two goals) and captain Nick McInerney.

All nine MSEFL clubs were represented with ladder leader Hatherleigh having the most with five.

The Eagles’ Mikey Telford was the highest possession winner for the Mid SE and teammates Lewis Walker (wing) and Sam Waring also got a mention on the Mid SE’s list of best players.

The others were Robe duo Henry Lawrie and Zac Deane and captain James Pratt.

Chay and Shanks received trophies as the best Under 21s while Tunkin and Telford were the carnival’s best and fairest.

The Mid SE’s preparation for the game was hampered by the withdrawal of playing coach Clint Gallio.

He oversaw the third and final training run at Glencoe on Thursday night but a back injury kept him on the sidelines.

The senior match was preceded by six underage curtain-raisers featuring the zone’s three leagues.

The SE Zone training squad to prepare for the annual State Country Championships at Victor Harbor is expected to be announced in the coming week.

Following Saturday’s victory, Renzi said it was a game of two halves, with his side rallying in the final two terms.

“The first half was a struggle, but I think just with not playing together and also with different instructions it takes time to adjust and as much as the boys probably do not want to admit it they were all nervous to go out there and play at that next level and perform,” he said.

“I thought in the first half we struggled, we just were not moving the footy the way we should have been and hitting the spots we wanted too but then when we had half time we were able to sit down and talk about it and when they were able to understand and change it and we were a lot better.”

Renzi said it was an honour to kick off the new league’s trophy haul.

“It’s good for the league with the new start and things that are happening and changing I think it’s good for football,” he said.

“There is always going to be deep down that rivalry between Mid South Eastern and Limestone Coast but ultimately it’s just the football that you want to be able to play and we have got a lot of blokes in the Limestone Coast that used to be Mid South Eastern and vice versa, but I just think it comes down to the football you’re playing at the time.”

TOUGH BATTLE: Sam Willis and Michael Telford battle for possession at Blue Lake Sports Park.
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