South East the best of SA country footy
The South East country region won their fourth South Australian Men's Country Championships with a nail-biting one-point win against Central in the Grand Final at Bennett Oval in Whyalla on Sunday.
Todd Reid, Mark Marriott, James Paprotny, Tom Gaden, Frazer Bradley were named best for South East while Giles Ellis, Ryley Maitland, Todd Miles, Flynn Pisani, Angus Judd were adjudged best in Central's heartbreaking loss. South Gambier's Brayden Kain kicked a crucial 3 goals for the winning side.
The win was all the more significant after losing River Murray Football League in the South East zone, which was shifted into Eastern after last year's carnival.
Earlier in the day, Eyre Peninsula won bragging rights over Eastern in third place by 56 points while Northern took out fifth place, winning by 4 goals over Southern.
South East's gripping win gives the Limestone Coast boys a 2022 victory to add to their 2014, 2016 and 2017 titles won as Murray South East.
The win was not looking on the cards when South East lost by 7 points to Eastern in their opening match, but a strong 33 point win over Northern put the Limestone Coast boys through to the top-two playoff. Central's wins over Eastern and Eyre Peninsula in the Saturday matches not only put them through but opened the door for South East's triumph, as Eyre Peninsula beat Southern by 20 points in their opening match.
South East had as many as six players selected in the Team of the Championships, including former South Adelaide and Eagles forward Tom Whittlesea and captain Matt Willson, who also earned the Don McSweeny Medal as Player of the Championships.
South East coach Jack Kelly won the Bill Murdoch Medal as Coach of the Championships.
Ex-Port Magpies defender Sid Masters proved he can play at either end after winning the Leading Goal Kicker trophy with nine majors for Eyre Peninsula.
Hudson Noack won his second successive Umpire of the Championships award.
Final Standings –
Men’s Team of the Championships
F: Sam DeMichele (E), Sid Masters (EP), Leigh Ryswyk (C)
HF: Steve Burton (C), Shane Ballantyne (N), Tom Whittlesea (SE)
C: Jack Kenny (EP), Troy Parker-Boers (E), Matt Willson (SE)
HB: Sam Tharaldsen (SD), Aseri Raikiwasa (EP), Giles Ellis (C)
B: Zane Montgomerie (EP), Ben Edwards (C), Brad Byant (SE)
R: Mark Marriott (SE), Tim Woolford (E), Pat Davies (SE)
INT: Luke Mitton (SD), Jed Woolford (EP), Jacob Eats (SE), Steve Jackson (N), Patrick White (C), Murphy Short (C)