Mid South Eastern Football season preview

Mid South Eastern Football season preview

One of the most stable football competitions of its size in the nation gets under way at 2pm on Saturday when the sirens blare across the Mid South East Football League.

Literally hundreds of other footy leagues across the nation have fallen by the wayside in the 88 years since the Mid SE began.

The competition has survived and thrived because of its evenness, quality administration and a commitment to play locals and not pay imports.

Of the 320 players who pulled on a jumper in the MSEFL A Grade in 2023, fewer than a car load could be classed as “travellers”.

Capital city administrators have seen fit to starve the MSEFL of any AFL trials or SANFL matches for the past 35 seasons.

They appear hell-bent on fracturing the league to prop up the re-badged but otherwise mostly unchanged Western Border in 2025.

It would be a delicious irony if the Adelaide football bureaucrats get their way and the Kingston Saints and the Nangwarry Saints both seek to join the Millicent Saints in the re-badged Western Border next season.

On a less-flippant tone, let’s take a gander at the fortunes of the Mid SE clubs for 2024.


Premiers – 12 wins, 4 losses

The MSEFL almost had its first grand final tie since 2000 but Kalangadoo outlasted Hatherleigh by a mere six points in the 2023 season decider at the Bay.

The revitalised playing surface at the seaside scored 99 out of 100 but the wind was tricky.

First-year coach Al Lyon joined clubmates Ben Mules, Chrissy Mules and Kevin Stark as a recipient of the prestigious Phil Muhovics Memorial Medal.

It was the fourth Magpie grand final win in the space of nine seasons and was achieved without a single Mules.

However, Ben, Chrissy and Jonny were in the winning curtain-raiser.

With Kalangadoo securing the rare A Grade/B Grade premiership double, there is enough depth in the black-and-white lineup to feature in the 2024 major round.

The Magpies are the team to beat to secure the Wilf Sprengel Shield.


Second – 11 wins, 5 losses

The Eagles came good at the business end of the season and almost achieved a grand final victory from fourth place.

It is a harsh statistic but Hatherleigh has lost three season deciders since its last flag in 2013.

Ex-AFL player and new coach Tom Hutchesson gets the opportunity to use his vast football knowledge and experience while the club has appointed a record five-member leadership group.

It is headed by reappointed skipper Will Chay.

The return of ruckman Sam Waring is a bonus and he already has a senior premiership medal with his time at Millicent.

Another talented returning Eagle is Mitch Pulmer.

Expect Hatherleigh to be in the top four yet again.

Port MacDonnell

Third – 14 wins, 2 losses (minor premiers)

The scene was set at the end of the minor round in 2023 for Port MacDonnell to win their second flag in the space of three seasons.

After all they had won the minor premiership with only two losses, first-year coach Josh Woodall had won the Mail Medal and the grand final venue was slotted for their seaside home.

However, the script was not followed by either Kalangadoo or Hatherleigh as they sent the 2023 Demons into oblivion.

The seasiders will be looking to make amends under the reappointed Woodall.

Jet Attard will again wear the red-and-blue colours but Kevin Thomson, Wade Chant and ex-skipper Mark Smith will be hard to replace.


Fourth – 12 wins 4 losses

The Roosters had an unblemished record in the first half of the home and away season in 2023 and then things went to muck.

A long-injury list headed by new coach Nathan Brown then took hold and the Roosters were out of premiership contention long before the finals.

Ex-skipper and Robe tradesman Tom Williams has returned after a successful stint back with his home club Penola.

Jed Jarrett is also back at Guichen Bay while newcomers include Cale Elefsen and Oliver Bennett.

The team has been training since October and the club camaraderie has been building over summer.

The Roosters have played a number of trials but none was more satisfying than a nine-point victory at home over Kingston to reclaim the coveted Smith Wilks Memorial Trophy.

Mount Burr

Fifth – 8 wins, 8 losses

Not the best of seasons for the Burr Boys in 2023 but they are poised to improve under the expert tutelage of returning player and coach Clint Gallio.

After winning league best and fairest trophies and premierships in the Western Border, it is hoped some of the silverware can return to Mick and Jean Walker Oval.

The Mozzies made good use of their magnificent oval lights to play a trial against one of the Mount Gambier clubs.

Jake Whitty and past premiership player Taylor Redden will be back in the green and gold.

A lack of depth in the B Grade ranks may well be the undoing of Mount Burr in the second half of the season.


Sixth – 6 wins, 10 losses

The Murphies are closing in on an unwanted record as the team seeks to rebuild after a busy summer of recruiting.

It is now 17 years since Glencoe last hoisted the Wilf Sprengel premiership shield.

The only comparable lean period was the 18 years between 1967 and 1985.

The Murphies already collected one unhappy fact from the history books with the local team’s B Grade finishing bottom in 2023.

This is their first wooden spoon in this grade which began in 1951.

New non-playing coach Reece Duncan is an experienced mentor and other quality additions to the Glencoe camp are Dylan Pfitzner, Colin Shaw, Fletcher Lawson, Conor Fielding, Matt Cordy, Harry Oppermann and Joel Day.

The fortunes of the Murphies across all grades will be overseen by new president Adam Price.

He was the A Grade vice-captain while still in his teens and later served as skipper and coach.


Seventh – 6 wins, 10 losses

The Tigers relied heavily on local talent last season and were able to claim a creditable six wins.

They did not have the cash reserves of other clubs and thus could not compete in the marketplace for the coveted key-position players.

Reappointed coach Jack Dawe is highly regarded by all at Tigerland and it is always surprising that he gets few mentions when the Mail Medal votes are read out.

Senior players James McDonald and Dylan Howard are new to Tantanoola but the Tigers do not appear to be poised for some September action just yet.


Eighth – 2 wins, 14 losses

The hard work of coach Shane Raymond and his players is starting to pay off with the Saints finally able to hand over the wooden spoon.

If all the pre-season rumours prove correct, Nangwarry will be able to field a side capable of climbing a few more rungs up the ladder.

The only announced signings to date are Lennox Lewis and Brodie Arundell but expect some more.


Ninth – 1 win, 15 losses

Season 2023 was not the best of seasons for the Hawks with the return of one win from 16 outings telling the full story.

Some handy gains like Dan Harris, Brad Stephens and Matt Roscow will give the Kongorong supporters much hope the club’s possession of the wooden spoon will only last one season.

However, the departure of rugged utility player Matt Cordy to neighbouring club Glencoe will be keenly felt.

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