The 2023 State Country Championships were held in the Barossa Valley where six zones competed for the right to be the best Football Zone in South Australia. The Zones that competed were, Central, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern, South East and Southern. Southern Districts have had a rich history with success at the Championships over many years
Gianni Petrucci, as coach, was rewarded with his exceptional efforts over the last 2 years at Association Level where he and his support staff created a great environment where the players wanted to play for the right reasons. The bond between the playing group was evident with the way that they played and gelled together.
The Women’s coach was Wade Phillips who has had success at Club Level, Association and Zone Level and was a pivotal coach to lead the Southern Women to defend their last years title.
Both the Men and Women in our first two games had the hardest draw playing the South East and Central zones. The first two games on the Saturday for both the Men and Women are 2 x 25 minute halves and in windy and slippery conditions made it hard to score and with both teams being desperate in trying to control the ball. In a short form of the game doesn’t allow you to ease yourself into the game, you have to be switched on from the start.
Southern Districts went down by 1 goal to South East but it wasn’t without the efforts of Callum Tonkin who controlled the rucks to give our onballers such as Matt Dominish, Brett Ellis, Cohan Pettitt and Cam Hutchens first use. Troy Blackwell started brilliant on the wing racking up plenty of possessions and penetrating our forward line to give our forwards plenty of opportunities.
We played Centrals, who ended up been runner-up grand finalists we struggled to put score board pressure on our opponents and ultimately went down by 11 points. Bailey Hann was rewarded best afield with Troy Blackwell playing his wing as a real traditional wingman, playing behind the ball and running, carrying and breaking lines.
On Sunday was a full hit out 4 quarters which suited our playing group better, if we had 4 quarters in the first 2 games the outcome could have been more successful. We were playing for 3rd and 4th position in the Championships, so we were playing for pride. Callum Tonkin was instrumental in the ruck, 31 hits outs in the ruck, mopping up around the ground and bringing players in top the game. Lachlan Williams down back worked hard with his other defenders in Darcy Clifford who won many contested balls. Sam Renney was crumbing everything up forward and looked at home. Riley Clamp and Michael Ross combined well up forward with Riley kicking 4, Michael and Sam kicking 2 each.
BACK ROW: Bailey Pilmore, Troy Blackwell, Jake Spinks, Jayden Scott, Danny Juckers, Bailey Hann, Bradley Patterson, Anthony Kempster, Lachlan Williams, Ryan Need, Michael Ross
MIDDLE ROW: Herman Lucas, Gilesy, Ray O’Donnell, Gary Summerton, Callum Gaspari, Codey Ellison, Callum Tonkin, Andrew Cook, Justin Richardson, Barry Pilmore, Craig Warman, Sam Tharaldsen
FRONT ROW: Darcy Clifford, Shannon Jones, Sam Renney, Cam Hutchens, Riley Clamp, Gianni Petrucci, Brett Ellis, Matt Dominish, Nathan Beenham, Cohen Pettitt, Robert Schindler-Taylor.
The women played the South East in their first hit our for the Championships and coming home with a win by 9 points. Conditions weren’t favourable for both zones but the Women worked hard to push forward to score. They would have had most of the play throughout the game and were desperate to put the score on the board. Jaimi Griffen was defending everything that came her way and showed the experience in the conditions to hit targets with either hand or foot. Ally Bailey playing through the midfield was leading from the front with her voice and leadership skills. Tamara Page was our only scorer with 1 goal. Katrice Turner was showing off her tenacious attack on the ball and winning a lot of possessions.
Southern Districts came up against Centrals who were a tough opponent, with winning the first game the women came out with a lot of confidence but were clearly out played. Aly Bailey was great again through the midfield, Mel Koster worked hard to defend, and Nari Wright was in the thick of things again. Skye Kartinyeri- Sumner was robust in her approach at the football running straight lines and putting the fear into the opponents’ minds. Southern went down by 9 points.
Southern verses South East playing for 3rd and 4th position, Georgia Weatherspoon played her heart out through the midfield but she was everywhere making great decisions when she had the ball to find a team mate which brought them into the game. Jaime Griffen across half back was stopping a lot of re-entries from the South East players. Kiahni Russell was instrumental up forward kicking 1 goal herself but with every contest if she couldnt mark it she brought the ball to ground for her team mates. Emma Fitzpatrick worked hard for 4 quarters in the ruck to give us first use. The Women showed their class and ran away winners with a decisive 23-point victory.
BACK ROW: Tamara Page, Ella Gill, Kelli Nijhuis, Emily Franklin, Tallara Power, Morgan Blackwell, Kiahni Russell, Katrice Turner, Chloe Meyers, Kelly Steele (TM)
MIDDLE ROW: Megan Sherry(WCoordinator), Jemma Ellis, Abby Woodward, Chloe Howlett, Mark Rix (Ass.Coach) Emma Fitzpatrick, Jaimi Griffen, Cleo Guilfoyle, Isabella Zito, Cam Turner (Runner)
FRONT ROW: Georgia Weatherspoon, Tegan Cross, Nari Wright, Mel Koster (VC), Wade Phillips (Coach), Ally Bailey (C), Angelique Dean, Kalesha Rewiti-Edwards, Skye Kartinyeri-Sumner
Both our Men and Women teams finished 3rd in the State Country Championships where they both can all hold their heads up high as it was played by all in the spirit of the game. Sportsmanship and Respect were totally on display and they all should be proud to represent not only their zone but their League, clubs and themselves.
To all the Coaches and Support staff I would like to congratulate and thank you all for your efforts and the professional approach you have all brought to these championships.
Regards Grant Levy
GSFL and Southern Zone Selector
State Country Championship Selector