Tantanoola v Nangwarry
The eight-year nightmare almost ended for the Nangwarry Football Club in the opening round of Mid South Eastern football at Tigerland on Saturday.
After not winning a game since mid-2014, the Saints were one straight kick away from the Tigers as the match entered the time-on period of the last term.
With the slight cross-breeze favouring Tantanoola, home team coach Jak Ryan booted his sixth goal and put the result of the game beyond doubt.
It was nonetheless a stout performance by the visitors and their tally of 16.9 was commendable.
They faced quality opposition from the Tigers with players of the calibre of Ryan, Jack Dawe, Troy Hatt and Braydn Reilly being automatic selections in every other team in the competition.
Visiting skipper Jake McKeon won the toss and had booted the first goal for 2022 by the three-minute mark.
With the breeze benefit, his team took a 12-point lead into the first change and then Tantanoola tied up the scores by the long break.
The Tigers piled on the pressure in the third term to take advantage of a tiring Saints line-up and turned for home with a lead of 16 points.
Adelaide traveller Andrew Hyland was the stand-out for Nangwarry and booted a game-high tally of eight goals.
It should be noted the Saints won the junior colts and B Grade curtain-raisers while the senior colts’ game was abandoned as both teams had several COVID-related absentees.
Tantanoola Football Club president Kylie Serle is pleased the MSEFL has agreed to give both clubs one premiership point while they will each receive the percentage average from the three other opening round games.
The Tigers are hosting Robe on Saturday while Nangwarry heads to Hatherleigh.
Hatherleigh v Mount Burr
Hatherleigh looks to be at good odds to maintain its powerhouse rank as it put Mount Burr to the sword by 91 points on Saturday.
Bolstered by recruits and returning players, the Eagles had come into the contest as the warmest of favourites.
This looked mis-placed at quarter time as the visitors had managed just one goal from seven scoring shots and trailed the Mozzies by nine points.
This lead was promptly surrendered by Mount Burr as Hatherleigh piled on 8.5 in the second term while conceding a mere goal.
The difference was 40 points at the long break and the blue-and-golds seldom looked challenged in the perfect playing conditions thereafter.
All eyes were on the form of Hatherleigh newcomer Mark Marriott and he did not disappoint.
Mozzie-turned-Eagle Jake Dowdy was the winning coach and booted a game high six goals.
The Mozzies never take kindly to a defeat by their cross-town rivals, but named new skipper Josh Fiebig as their best.
Hatherleigh hosts reigning wooden spooners Nangwarry in the second round while Mount Burr heads to Glencoe.
Kalangadoo v Glencoe
It will take a while to erase the pain of the 2021 grand final loss to Port MacDonnell but Kalangadoo’s 103-point home ground win over arch rivals Glencoe was a terrific tonic.
The neighbours are approaching the centenary of their first-ever meeting and the Magpies have held the upper hand over the Murphies for several seasons.
With some returning players like James Pratt and Patrick Davies back in black-and-white colours as well as talented newcomers like Josh la Rocca, the home side was warmly favoured to win.
A powerful 10-goal third term sealed the result and the victors had 12 goalkickers in all.
It was a tough introduction to the coaching caper for new Glencoe mentor Tom Edwards.
His team will have little respite in round two on Saturday as it hosts fellow round one loser Mount Burr while Kalangadoo heads to Kongorong.
Port MacDonnell v Kongorong
The Bruce Lightbody Memorial Shield has taken up almost permanent residency at the Bay as Port MacDonnell players took it home yet again after their annual journey to their nearest neighbours.
The reigning premiers took more than half of their 2021 grand final team as well as coach Simon Merrett into the game and were not able to say the match was safely in their keeping until deep into the last term.
The Hawks had a late pre-season hiccup when Will Whitty decided not to continue as A Grade coach for a third season, citing increasing business and farming commitments for his decision.
He remains on good terms with the Kongorong Football Club and his teenage sons Liam and Jake are still playing in the senior grades with the Hawks.
Port MacDonnell players now have two Saturdays off due to their scheduled bye and the break for Easter.
Their next outing is at Kalangadoo on April 23 for the replay of the 2021 season decider.