September specialists ‘too good’

September specialists ‘too good’

Reigning premiers Kalangadoo have taken the direct route to the Mid South East Football League grand final at the Bay on September 23 following their impressive 23-point win over minor premiers Port MacDonnell in the second semi-final at Tantanoola last Saturday.

The Demons will now have to face up to a revived Hatherleigh in the cut-throat preliminary final on the Robe Oval on Saturday.

The seasiders had come into the contest as warm favourites given they had defeated Kalangadoo at their two meetings in the minor round.

However, the Magpies handled the blustery conditions well and led at every change to earn their fourth consecutive grand final appearance.

You have to go back to 2018 for the last season decider which did not feature the black-and-whites.

The match pitted first-year playing coaches Al Lyon (Kalangadoo) and Josh Woodall (Port MacDonnell) against each other with the latter securing the bragging rights and an extra week’s rest.

It was a day for upsets and the minor premiers in the three curtain-raisers also had their colours lowered.

In an ominous sign for the four vanquished MSEFL teams, all defeated second semi final teams in the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football League subsequently lost their preliminary finals at Bordertown on Saturday.

The oval surface at Tigerland was soft but well grassed and satisfactory after several days of wet weather last week.

The two teams had last faced off against each other at this venue in the 2021 grand final which was easily won by the seasiders.

By the time of the start of the A Grade at 2pm, the Tantanoola Oval was free of rain.

On a tough day for forwards, Kalangadoo won the toss and kicked to the eastern end of the ground which was favoured by a slight breeze worth about two goals.

The Demons were able to score two goals into the wind but the Magpies booted four to take a 15-point buffer into the first break.

Kalangadoo players had dictated the tone of play and this set the pattern for the remaining three terms.

The anticipated Port MacDonnell fight-back did not materialise in the second term and they were narrowly out-scored by their opponents.

Demon recruit Colby Munro made a rare error in the second term after he brought the ball back into play when Kalangadoo had registered a behind.

He was deemed to have run too far and the penalty free kick was awarded to the nearest Magpie who happened to be Lyon.

His set shot up the maximum six points.

Kalangadoo led by 20 points at the long break and then took control of the game in the third term.

With the McManus brothers revelling in the slippery conditions, the Magpies added 4.3 while conceding just 2.2.

This gave the reigning premiers a match-high lead of 33 points.

The minor premiers made slight inroads in the final term without ever looking like taking the honours.

Alex Ridding, from the Bay, was the stand-out forward with three goals

Field umpires Adam Maidment, Brett Watson and Travis Lockwood performed well and promptly penalised any rough play or the off-the-ball incidents.

Saturday’s crowd paid $12,716 at the gate and this compared to $11,464 in the first semi-final at Hatherleigh on the previous weekend.

The weekend did provide some joy for the Demons with Woodall claiming the Mail Medal just ahead of Hatherleigh vice-captain Jed Telfer.

CURTAIN RAISERS

The hopes of the Glencoe Football Club rest this major round on their junior colts.

Otherwise, the Murphies have had little to cheer about in 2023 as their Reserves collected their first-ever wooden spoon since this grade commenced after World War II in the 1940s.

The youngest Murphies took on Port MacDonnell which had three teams competing on second semi-final day and defeated the seasiders by 16 points.

As the wintry conditions proved a great leveller, Tantanoola Senior Colts were unable to make full use of the home ground advantage.

Port MacDonnell claimed a 30-point win and booked a place in the season decider at the Bay on September 23.

It was the greatest margin on the day.

The defeat means the Tigers have to make the long trip to Robe and meet Hatherleigh.

The Kalangadoo Reserves were able to repeat their upset win at Hatherleigh in round 17 and won by 14 points.

The three Mules brothers have about 900 games of senior footy experience between them and had a hand in the win.

Steady rain fell for much of the B Grade contest as reflected in their low scores.

The Eagles have won the past three flags in this competition and had looked good for a fourth until these two late season hiccups.

The loss has consigned the Eagles to the preliminary final where the Robe Roosters will have the home ground advantage.

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