MSE season to launch with ‘blockbuster’

MSE season to launch with ‘blockbuster’

Port MacDonnell v Kalangadoo

The Mid South Eastern Football League has scheduled a block-buster to commence the home and away season on Saturday with reigning minor premiers Port MacDonnell hosting reigning premiers Kalangadoo.

With the re-badged Western Border competition not starting for a further week, all that is needed is some sunshine to bring the crowds out.

With its tricky breezes the seaside venue delivers the Demons the greatest home ground advantage of any of the nine clubs in the MSEFL.

However, the ground holds no fear for the Magpies as they have won grand finals there in 2014 and last season.

The match had to be switched to the Bay as repairs are under way at the Kalangadoo netball courts.

Kalangadoo is set to play most of its flag-winning team as it begins its premiership defence.

On the other hand, all Port MacDonnell players will have to lift at least 10% to cover the loss of Wade Chant, Kevin Thomson and Mark Smith.

Until a few seasons ago, the Demons could blame any slow start to their season due to the disruption of those involved in the professional lobster fishery.

No such factors exist nowadays but the seasiders will still lose the opening round of 2024 due to a superior Kalangadoo team.

Glencoe v Hatherleigh

The Murphies last hosted the Eagles in round two of 2023 and it produced the boilover of the season.

Glencoe had begun the home and away competition with only three goals at the Bay as Port MacDonnell cantered away to a 71-point win.

Hatherleigh had the bye in the opening round but its selected team to begin 2023 was well below full-strength owing to a player’s wedding and a long guest list of footballers.

Nevertheless, the defeat by the Murphies of the Eagles by a whopping 97 points was predicted by few of the pundits.

The star for the victors with nine majors was Tory Weaver as he accounted for almost a third of their 25 goals.

For the remainder of the year, Hatherleigh never played so badly and nor Glencoe so well.

The blue-and-golds appear to have retained most of the players that went within a whisker of the 2023 premiership while quality players Sam Waring and Mitch Pulmer have returned.

Reece Duncan has taken charge of the Murphies over summer and not much is known about their recruits other than Penola champion Dylan Pfitzner.

The visitors will start as favourites but that was also the case around a year ago.

Tantanoola v Robe

It is rare nowadays for opposing coaches to line up on each other but that is certain to be the case at Tigerland in round one.

Not only that, they will be on the edge of the centre circle as both are on-ballers.

Tantanoola’s Jack Dawe is in his second season in the “hot seat” and so is Robe’s Nathan Brown.

Both lead by example and it is telling the fortunes of the Roosters nose-dived in the second half of the season when Brown was forced to the sidelines with injury.

Robe was unbeaten at the half-way mark of 2023 but then struggled and was knocked out in the first semi-final.

The home ground advantage is worth a few goals to the Tigers and recruits James McDonald and Dylan Howard will add some much-needed experience.

However, the seasiders will still have the edge.

Kongorong v Mount Burr

The long-awaited return of Clint Gallio to his home club and home league is the obvious drawcard when his Mount Burr Mozzies venture to Kongorong.

Gallio’s record with the Millicent Saints over the past seven seasons is second-to-none with multiple premierships and personal best and fairest trophies.

His previous club had deep pockets and could afford players of the calibre of ace forward Gene Robinson.

Mount Burr does not have the financial wherewithal to recruit such players and will chiefly rely on local talent to win flags.

It is a similar story at most of the other clubs in the MSEFL.

After finishing at the foot of the table in 2023, Kongorong under reappointed coach Cam Sandercock can only go up.

The Hawks have a stronger list than a year ago but perhaps not enough to defeat the Mozzies.

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