Bragging rights for Limestone Coast

ON TOP: The Limestone Coast Football Netball League won Saturday's senior interleague match against the Mid South East Football League. Picture: JAMES MURPHY

James Murphy

THE Limestone Coast Football Netball League is the toast of the region after accounting for the Mid South East Football League in Saturday’s senior interleague clash.

The two leagues went head-to-head in the feature game of the 2024 South East Zone Regional Football Carnival, which was hosted at Blue Lake Sports Park for its 10 th edition.

It was a historic moment for the newly formed league, with the LCFNL gearing up for its first representative match in its debut season.

However, following a slow start which produced an arm wrestle of an opening half, the LCFNL turned on the jets after the main break to cruise to an eventual 55-point victory.

Aside from some wayward kicking, which had the LCFNL 2.7 at half time, coach Tom Renzi said it was more about finding the right flow down the ground.

“It wasn’t necessarily just the kicking, it was where we were moving the footy,” he said.

“I thought we played not too badly, but when you turn the ball over across half forward, you are in a bit of trouble.

“We changed our system and put a few different players in different spots.

“To the boys’ credit, they moved the footy a lot better after half time.

“The scoreboard took care of its self when you do that.”

Pulling players together into a group who are not familiar with each other as teammates is sometimes a challenge, but Renzi said they all had a common goal and focussed on the simple objective.

“As long as they understand the common goal is to go out and win the game of footy and it is not about yourself,” Renzi said.

“No footy game is going to be about one individual player, otherwise I told them at training you might as well go play golf.”

He said some players had to play different roles to what they might be used to, but at the end of the day it was all about contributing to the team.

The Mid South East opened proceedings with two behinds, before Frazer Bradley put his first of four goals through the big sticks.

A couple of LCFNL behinds put it out to a six-point lead, before an impressive specky and goal from Patrick Chay tied things up at eight-all.

LCFNL held a slim one-point lead at the first change, while goals remained elusive in the second term.

It was not until late in the piece Bradley converted again to hand LCFNL a 19-9 point lead at half time.

The game freed up in the second half and it was not long before LCFNL had managed to take hold of the contest.

From there goals came more willingly and the improved ball movement had the new league in a strong position heading into the final stanza.

A five-goal quarter pushed the lead out to 31, before continuing to impress in the last.

Another four unanswered majors put the icing on the cake, with the final siren sounding on a nine-goal victory.

“It was pleasing to come away with it in the end,” Renzi said.

Harry Tunkin was named best on ground for LCFNL and took home the best player medal for the league.

His gutsy performance through the midfield held keep the ball moving forward on many an occasion, with his efforts standing out to coaches on the day.

“It was hard to do best players, especially after I thought our first half was relatively poor,” Renzi said.

“The spread was pretty good and the contested stuff in the middle (Tunkin) was a big part of.

“It was hard (to select) – we had 10-15 blokes who played really well in the second half.”

Also impressing were Andrew Stone, who had plenty of possession, as well as Bradley, Kalan Shanks and Nick McInerney.

Shanks received the best Under 21 award for LCFNL, while Bradley was joined by Hamish McCrae and Tunkin as multiple goal scorers – the latter pair scoring two each.

However, Renzi said in the end it was about more than the individual standouts.

“I just think as a whole it was a good day for the league and the community, just to showcase the talent we have down here,” he said.

“It was a good outcome for the league and moving forward hopefully it continues to grow and get better.”

The team spirit was high on the day and with the new playing strips of the league it seems some have dubbed the LCFNL representative side as the “Green Goblins”.

Renzi said those spirits continued into the night, which presented a good opportunity to strengthen relations in the group.

“Everyone hung out together and everyone looked after each other,” he said.

“(At this level) people know you, but don’t really know you.

“When you do these sorts of things you start to realise everyone is pretty similar and footy is footy.”

Players will now eagerly await the squad selection for the South Australian Country Football Championships, with the best performers across all three South East football leagues to represent the region in Victor Harbour next month.