GLENCOE 17.14 (160) d HATEHRLEIGH 10.7 (67)
THERE was a blockbuster conclusion to the home-and-away season in the Mid South East Football League on Saturday with the Murphies now assuming the mantle of flag favourite after trouncing the ladder-leading Eagles by 49 points.
Hatherleigh had come into the game as being unassailable in top spot, but Glencoe needed a win to cement second place.
The result was a surprise given that Hatherleigh had defeated Glencoe by 20 points at their prior meeting in round nine on June 15.
The top two sides now meet again in the double-chance second semi-final at Port MacDonnell on September 7 with the odds now heavily in favour of the maroon-and-golds.
Played before a large crowd and in variable weather the home side had the first use of a slight breeze which favoured the eastern end.
The Murphies took an eight-point buffer into the first change.
Hatherleigh’s turn with the breeze proved beneficial to the side and it took a three-point lead into the long break.
After half-time, Glencoe showed pure class as it slammed on 8.3 to a mere 3.2 to take a stranglehold on the contest.
The quality of the play was first-class with Glencoe players invariably first to the ball, making good position and backing up their teammates.
On the other hand, Hatherleigh lacked method in going into attack and the defence provided too much latitude.
The margin blew out to 29 points at the final change with Hatherleigh in rare territory for 2019.
Any hope of a comeback for the visitors was snuffed out in the opening minutes of the fourth term when a Clay Von Duve snapped goal put the result beyond doubt.
The Eagles had lost some players to injury during the game including inspirational and in-form coach Gerard McGrath.
He spent the final term on the bench nursing a wounded eye which had been accidentally poked by a team mate in the play.
After an absence of a few seasons from any major round action, the maroon-and-golds are cherry ripe to end a premiership drought stretching 12 seasons back to 2007.
The only longer period without a flag heading to Glencoe was the 17 year stretch between 1968 and 1985.
After a season with a troublesome knee, Glencoe coach Zacc Cocks was back to his best form and in as good a touch as 2017 when he won the Mail Medal.
Yet again, ace recruit Brodie Foster proved his worth in attack with a game-high return of six goals.
Hatherleigh tried two key backmen on Foster but he possesses the football smarts in spades.
It was somewhat baffling that Foster was not included in the list of Glencoe best players for the 10th time this season.
Foster finished the minor round with 113 goals and many behinds.
Without this firepower, mathematicians will say Glencoe would not have had the percentage to dislodge reigning premier Robe from second spot.
ROBE 28.26 (194) d NANGWARRY 0.4 (4)
THERE was no chance the Roosters were going to give anything less than 100pc when they hosted the winless Saints and this was reflected in their winning margin of 190 points.
A loss to Nangwarry would have ensured Robe would have been competing in the first semi-final at Kongorong on Saturday no matter the outcome of the clash between Glencoe and Hatherleigh.
The victory did produce a huge boost in percentage, but not enough to leap-frog the Murphies and return to second place.
Although the seasiders had to win this match, it did not take a risk on playing several key players who were not fully fit.
Permit player Joel Docking made his final appearance for the Roosters in round 17.
The MSEFL laws had allowed him to play when he was on a teaching assignment at Kingston Community School.
The seasiders recalled key defender Riley Dickinson after almost two months on the sidelines with injury.
Robe also re-called ex-coach Dylan Coxon to A Grade and he has now qualified for finals.
The recall brought him face-to-face with Nangwarry ruckman George McWaters and they had last been opponents during the 2013 season when they were playing in the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Football League.
Nangwarry took to the field with a depleted line-up as a number of selected players opted not to make the 240km round trip to the seaside.
As a result, five players who had played a full game of B Grade had to suit up again for A Grade.
It certainly tested their fitness levels on one of the largest ovals in the MSEFL.
Robe Football Club vice-president Roger Sweetman said the match was marred by the blustery cold southerly wind and intermittent rain showers that swept the ground.
Sweetman said the match was played in good spirits which is a credit to the Saints who again have had a season to forget.
He said the Roosters will be trying to at least regain half of the side which is currently struggling with injury.
“Robe’s performance was dominant, but its inability to kick straight, a problem which has been evident all year, continued to be a issue,” Sweetman said.
“Finals matches will not allow the Roosters the luxury of a less than 50pc conversion rate.
“Nangwarry’s players tried hard all day and at time showed clean skills and there is definitely some talent within the club to build upon next year.
“Better players for Robe were co-captain Jake Wehl, Jordan Pettit, Zack Deane, Todd Lockwood and Terrence Wilfred.”
The seasiders now prepare for their cut-throat clash against fourth-placed Kalangadoo in the first semi-final at Kongorong on Saturday,
The Roosters have defeated the Magpies in both of their minor round meetings.
MOUNT BURR 15.12 (102) d TANTANOOLA 6.5 (41)
The Mozzies acquired some percentage and the premiership points after defeating the Tigers by 61 points at Tigerland.
These cross-town derbies are keenly contested as many players of the competing players were at school together or now work together.
Mount Burr took to the field with 14 players with A Grade premiership experience.
The season ended on a high note for Mozzie skipper Jack Gregory as he booted a round 18 high tally of nine goals against his home club.
This took his season’s tally to 53 and third place on the MSEFL list of goalkickers,
Only Glencoe pair Brodie Foster (113) and Alex Hentschke (56) booted more than Gregory.
It has been a momentous 2019 for Gregory as he was appointed Mount Burr captain in April and was married in Fiji in July.
Due to Saturday’s result, the Mozzies finished three wins and four percentage points behind fourth-placed Kalangadoo.
The club has busy month ahead as it is staging the MSEFL senior and junior medal counts at the Millicent War Memorial Civic and Arts Centre on September 8.
Furthermore, the Mid SE grand final will definitely be staged at “Mick” and Jean Walker Oval on September 21 and possibly the preliminary final as well on September 7.
Tom Renzi completed a club record fourth consecutive season as Mount Burr coach on Saturday and he told The Border Watch he was uncertain of his plans for 2020.
On the other hand, Tantanoola only accounted for winless Nangwarry on two occasions during 2019.
The club faces a major re-building task over summer under new playing coach Jak Ryan.
PORT MACDONNELL 13.13 91 d KONGORONG 10.3 63
ONLY pride and the Bruce Lightbody Memorial Shield were at stake when the neighbours and the visiting Demons accounted for the Hawks by 28 points.
The visitors had the upper hand for much of the opening half, but the home side mounted a determined comeback in the third term.
Kongorong added 3.2 and conceded just 2.1 to Port MacDonnell and whittled the margin back to a mere six points at the last change.
“Cometh the hour and cometh the man” applied to Hawk-turned-Demon Daron McElroy and he played a pearler in the final stanza.
His efforts enabled the seasiders to regain the momentum and be ahead by almost five goals at the close of play.
Injury has restricted the reigning Mail Medallist to just 11 games in 2019 but he has been best-on-ground in five of them.
In a probable low-scoring count without a clear favourite, McElroy must be considered to be in the running for consecutive Mail Medals.
The result gave Port MacDonnell its seventh win for 2019 and it remained in sixth place.
Kongorong has hovered around seventh place for a number of seasons and its four wins were not enough to alter this ranking in 2019.
Both clubs still have duties to fulfil; before this season draws to a close.
Kongorong is hosting the MSEFL first semi-final on Saturday while “The Bay” will be the venue for the second semi-final on September 7.