State League 2013 -- SANFL vs. NEAFL NORTH Wrap Up


Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2001
My Money House Oval, Elizabeth
AFL Club
Other Teams
Central District (SANFL)
Thread starter #1
Hi Footy fans...

It has been a staple of football for a long time. For over a century, interstate footy has been common place on the calendar in several different forms. We've had carnivals involving every state, we've had national amateur teams, at one point we even had a side come across the pond from New Zealand. Then State of Origin came along and changed the landscape completely, however after the advent of the Australian Football League that concept would soon be laid to rest. Nowadays, the future of interstate football now lies with the individual state leagues. After a dismal few years in this new football era, from 1996 the SANFL has been defeated just twice against more familiar opposition. But a new age beckons as new opposition has appeared on the radar.

Welcome to this special edition of the SANFL Wrap-Up... State League 2013.

The South Australian National Football League was under serious attack from across the border in the late 1970's onwards. Players were heading across to Victoria in great numbers for the bigger money and higher level of football of the then-VFL. A player retention scheme was even introduced in the late 1980's in response to falling crowd numbers. But then after the controversial Port Adelaide AFL plan was revealed and the Adelaide Football Club was forced into existence in 1990, the lay of the land in SA football was changed forever. Representative football at state league level was introduced in 1991, giving players in the individual leagues an opportunity at the SA tri-colours. The first five outings yielded only one win against Western Australia in 1992, the other four saw losses to the WAFL and a 1995 surprise loss to Tasmania. After that, the SANFL went on a rampage for the ensuing years against the Sandgropers, the "new" Victorian Football League and even a first and to date only match against the ACTAFL. Losses in 2002 to the VFL and in 2009 against the WAFL interrupting the streaks. Woodville-West Torrens 2011 premiership coach Michael Godden's 2012 state coaching debut against WA would see him continue into this match, a job he took over from Darel Hart but almost regretted doing so as his Eagles fell into a premiership hangover. Of course he didn't regret it, a 14-point victory at Glenelg the outcome.

Organised state league football in Queensland had its beginnings in the early 20th century when the QLD Football League was created in 1903. Much like the SANFL, its gone through some identity changes over the years until the end of 1999 when the governing body of QLD football went into voluntary administration. The AFL stepped in at this point, and with the Brisbane Lions already a part of the Sunshine State's sporting landscape, its feeder competition and administration was rechristened under the AFL banner. Representative footy for the Queenslanders, compared to SA, was few and far between and encounters with first-class opposition extremely rare outside either AFL State of Origin or the Under-18 series. Their first exposure to State League footy came in 1993 when they went down to Tasmania by 10 points in Bellerive, then winning the return match the following year in Brisbane. In 1995, the Maroons hosted the WAFL in Brisbane in their first match against opposition from the traditional football states, a 33-point loss was the result. Queensland wouldn't re-emerge from state football exile until 2002, their return to state football from that year would see them take five wins from nine matches. They never did threaten WA, the wins coming against Tasmania and the ACT. More changes would follow in Queensland football in 2009 with the Northern Territory entering the competition, but two years later everything changed with the inception of the North East Australian Football League.

A quad-state competition comprising two conferences, the Queensland league became the NEAFL's Northern Conference as compared to the NSW/ACT's Eastern Conference. The Northern Territory would take out the inaugural overall NEAFL premiership in 2011, defeating the Eastern champions Ainslie in the first ever Grand Final. With the improvement of the standard of football in Queensland and the added strength of the Territorians, the Northern conference representative side ventured out into the State League wilderness and before belting their Eastern conference rivals in Southport last year, they almost pulled off a major upset in 2011. After being down by just over seven goals, the Maroons made one hell of a run at the Sandgropers in their match at Mandurah in WA's far southern metro reaches. They lost by just one goal, signalling that the new and improved footballing conditions may have carried into state football. This time around, with several familiar faces to SA footy-heads, this would be a true measure into how far the Queensland portion of the new competition has come. At the helm of the NEAFL North ship would be Jason Cotter, a former QLD rep team member himself and a three-time premiership coach with the Southport Sharks, a powerhouse club in QLD football.

This would be uncharted territory for the SANFL, as the NEAFL presented an unknown entity. Only those with a keen interest in interstate football would know about the goings on up north but while many scoffed at the challenge the "Maroon & Ochres" would present, a small crowd of onlookers fronted up keen to see this new outfit with City Mazda Stadium in Richmond playing host to the match. Queensland isn't a complete stranger to SA though, three previous clashes in early 20th century and then the 1979 & 1980 carnivals all resulting in huge Croweater victories. The day was fine for football, aside from a few clouds the rain stayed away. The SANFL would strike first on the goalfront through Rooster Mike Campbell in the fourth minute, followed by goals by Port Magpie James Meiklejohn at eight minutes and two more to former Queenslander Leigh Ryswyk at the tenth and 14th minutes. The Northerners employed some keep-away footy at times, plenty of possession football coming into play as well as upping the body pressure. Only poor marking and a strong SA defence stopped them making a scoring impact, but they eventually broke through for their first major at the 25th minute as Southport forward Haydn Kiel kicked truly. At quarter-time, the score was SANFL 4.3 to NEAFL Nth 1.1. For a while many locals thought that this was going to be totally easy, but the second term brought with it some big surprises.

The Maroon and Ochres suddenly made the Croweaters sit up and take some real notice in the second quarter, they almost took one within the first 30 seconds after a great leap by Brisbane junior Sam Michael, highlighting the AFL-talent in the side. He spilled the mark, but he bobbed up again only 30 seconds later with a contested mark against Meiklejohn in the square to take an easy goal. They would bag another just after the fourth minute, former Redleg and current NT Thunder player Brad Vassal bringing the gap back to eight points. With SA fluffing a couple of chances, the NEAFL maintained their attack with some smart chipping. It would be back to three points by the eighth minute after a long range goal from Broadbeach midfielder Rory Walton, but a poorly-applied tackle by Labrador big-man Rick White on Centrals' Brayden O'Hara just prior to 14 minutes allowed SA to take their first goal of the term, followed by a goal a minute later to South's Michael Wundke to steady the ship a little. But the Maroon & Ochres would continue to nag, Port's Sam Gray goaled at 22 minutes but that goal was bracketed by a 17th minute goal to Tiger Ryan Davey and the final goal of the term to Chris Dunne of the Territory. At the long break, the gap was just 10 points with SA on 7.5 to NEAFL North's 6.2. Sam Michael could have made it three points, but his shot went wide. This near flawless quarter in goals should have held them in good stead to seriously challenge the SANFL boys whose second term was error ridden, perhaps thinking of an inevitable walkover.

But once the break was over, it was going to be all South Australia, the NEAFL Northern team started to fall away as the Croweaters went on the attack. The dismantling job began in earnest in the third quarter, with SA taking first goal for the second half through Leigh Ryswyk prior to the third minute, followed by a giveaway free kick to Westies' Jon Beech at the fifth minute after a clumsy tackle ended up as a push in the back. From this point, the Northerners had very little answers after such a promising second quarter. They managed to take a goal just before the 12th through Dunne, but a couple of minutes later Beech took his second goal and Wundke scored his second goal a minute after to take the gap to five goals. A couple of high contact charges later and SA would have another goal with Leigh Ryswyk taking his fourth for the day. The NEAFL should have had a free kick on goal after the 18th, but the infringement was ignored and along with a Wundke goal at the 20th that probably shouldn't have happened, replays showing ground impact before a low-to-ground mark could be taken. This no doubt would have really deflated the spirits of the NEAFL men. Michael's mark and goal for the NEAFL at the 24th would be answered with a goal to SA in the final minutes, what began before hand as a fluffed shot on goal by Vassal would end up straight down the other end as the Bloods' Daniel Caire scored to finish the quarter. At the final change, the scoreboard would see the Croweaters up by 44 points, 14.10 to 8.2.

The final term was a cakewalk for the SANFL, the lights were switched as the skies darkened around Adelaide, perhaps the bad omen for the Northerners. Ryswyk bagged a fifth goal at the third minute to begin the final term punishment, then a rather stiff free against Shark Wayde Mills saw Wundke score to take the gap to 56 points. Ryswyk took his sixth after some scrambling in the goal front after the 12th minute, then Eagles forward Andrew Ainger booted SA's 18 goal for the afternoon at the 18th minute. The Maroon & Ochres finally scored a major at the 20th minute from Morningside's Paul Shelton, a swift reply coming from a goal-front error with Nick Liddle taking advantage two minutes later. Goals to Caire and Ainger would end the afternoon, the Croweaters taking an 82-point win over an otherwise gallant NEAFL North opposition. The Northerners second term was an eye-opener for the locals, that is what probably set the Croweaters off in the end. A disappointing second half broke their backs despite the efforts of Sam Michael, Redland's Daniel Dzufer (26 disposals), NT's Cam Ilett (25 disposals) and Panther Scott Clarke (22 disposals), being too patient at times hurt them as well when within scoring distance. SA had high possession and disposal winners across the board, James Boyd (33) was a pain, captain and fellow Bulldog Paul Thomas (32) leading by example and North's George Thring (26) having a big day out in his first state match. The Fos Williams Medal ended up going to West Adelaide's Ryan Ferguson, he was responsible for several counter attacks and marked well under pressure, while the Zane Taylor Medal went to Sam Michael who never really stopped trying.

Saturday May 11
SANFL 21.14 (140)
NEAFL North 9.4 (58)
1,498 @ City Mazda Stadium, Richmond

None known at time of post

None known at time of post

While all this was going on, the Western Australians took down the Victorians in country WA, the SANFL is next in line to take on the Big V in Melbourne next year. The NEAFL Northern Conference is likely to take on Tasmania, while the Eastern Conference will probably face the Sandgropers but they take on the Apple Isle in a few weeks.

Next weekend in your neck of the woods...

Friday May 17 @ 7:10pm
West Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide; City Mazda Stadium, Richmond

Saturday May 18
North Adelaide vs. Woodville-West Torrens; Prospect Oval @ 2:10pm
Central District vs. Sturt; Playford Alive Oval, Elizabeth @ 2:10pm
South Adelaide vs. Norwood; Hickinbotham Oval, Noarlunga @ 6:30pm

Glenelg has the bye.

Saturday May 18
Aspley vs. Tuggeranong; Graham Road Oval, Aspley @ 11:30am
UWS Giants vs. Brisbane; Blacktown International Sports Park @ 12pm
Morningside vs. Gold Coast; Esplen Oval @ 12pm
Broadbeach vs. NT Thunder; H&A Oval, Broadbeach @ 1:30pm
Mt. Gravatt vs. Southport; Dittmer Park @ 1:30pm

Sunday May 19 @ 1:30pm
Labrador vs. Redland; Cooke-Murphy Oval

So until next weekend... see you at the Footy!

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