NEFL, Northern Areas, Adelaide Plains and Yorke Peninsula Football Leagues meet each year on the Saturday of the June long weekend to contest for the Landmark Cup and the football is fast and furious.
It’s not like your normal Saturday football, the games are played over two 18-minute halves, plus time-on, making for frenetic movement of the footy with early goals a necessity, if you get left behind it’s near on impossible to bridge the gap.
NEFL aiming for consecutive Cups
By Terry Bevan
NORTH Eastern will be going all out to retain the 2016 Landmark Cup when the association team crosses the white line of the Balaklava Oval this Saturday.
The North Eastern Football League won the inaugural Landmark Cup played at Snowtown in 2007, they backed up in 2008 winning at Balaklava, NEFL had a few lean years before taking home the cup from Jamestown in 2013 and last year they won again at Snowtown.
Run and quick movement of the footy is essential in this format of the game and North Eastern is enriched with quality midfielders that can rotate through the engine room to provide the clearances and set-up quick goals.
Ryan Darling, Josh Vater, Clinton Voigt, Travis Lane, Marcus Hall, Bill Sandow, Lachy Michael and Chris Puiatti are just a few onballers who come to mind, but one player that will have his first taste of Landmark Cup action on Saturday is Blyth/Snowtown’s Caleb Lloyd.
Lloyd has been a revelation to the competition since returning to the Cats after a decent stint at the WWT Eagles, he’s just the player that can have a major impact for North Eastern with his work-rate both ways, and his ability to rack up the stats either on the inside or the outside.
2014 Eudunda/Robertstown coach Troy Bonner has taken over the reigns from Daniel Schell following a two-year assistant role with the successful mentor and the incoming NEFL coach said there’s no time to get warmed up in this format.
“I’m looking forward to the lads coming together and enjoying the experience, the better players enjoying the opportunity of playing with better players, the ones that want to take their footy further to try and give them every opportunity to achieve that, obviously it would be good to win but it’s about rocking up and be competitive really,” Bonner said.
“It’s a different format which is always tough for a lot of players to get their head around, there’s no chance of warming into a game or anything like that, from the first bounce you’re on, you’ve got to make the most of any opportunity you get, other wise one goal here or there or a missed tackle can cost you a game.”
Holes in defence only concern for APFL
By Les Pearson
ADELAIDE Plains Football League will need to assemble a makeshift defence ahead of this Saturday’s Landmark Cup at Balaklava, with several injuries to key talls likely to weaken the APFL backline.
The APFL has finished bottom and winless twice in the past two years, with coach, Steve Lubcke, keen to turn those fortunes around at Ralli Park this weekend.
The forward line, led by Angus Bruggemann, should present quite well, while the midfield depth looks solid.
Nigel Osborn and Jordan Clements (Mallala) have plenty of experience at this level, while Travis McCallum (Balaklava) has been in sensational form.
Ned Seccafien (Two Wells) should go in as captain again.
“He led the side last year and will lead it again,” Lubcke said.
Ben Russell, Nik Seccafien and Brad Robertson are all capable midfielders likely to feature in the rotations.
“The back half may be our only question mark to a degree,” Lubcke said.
Injuries to Anthony Pontt and Andrew Hardiman (Two Wells) reduces options for key defensive positions.
Tom Forrest has been in good form for HWE and should get a defensive role, while Brandon Daly has shown his capabilities as a tall defender with Two Wells.
Lubcke and selectors will have some selection headaches to deal with, as the APFL rule allowing players aged over 28 the option not to play has reduced their options substantially.
Only one player aged over 28 in the initial squad has put their hand up to play.
“With players like Joel Montgomerie and Matt Higgs, they’ve represented the league many times and are looking for the break, so you don’t begrudge them that,” Lubcke said.
“However, guys such as Steven Pollock and Andrew Ross, it would be nice to see them pull on the guernsey and give a little back to the league too but the over 28 rule precludes that.”
Lubcke also felt the removal of the bye contributed to older players opting not to play.
“I know from our perspective, the guys aren’t used to not having the bye, to it’s certainly been a factor there, looking for that weekend off to give the body a break,” he said.
“After 10 matches in a row if you include trials, without a break, their bodies aren’t used to that.”
NAFA by how far?
It’s Northern’s year according to the soft spread himself. Read on…
Trevor Lemon-Butter on the Landmark Cup:
THIS occasion is slowly but surely becoming one of the premium inter-association carnivals in regional South Australia.
Saturday’s event might mark the ninth anniversary since it began in 2007, but up for grabs is the tenth cup.
North Eastern has won it four times and is the current champion.
Adelaide Plains and Yorke Peninsula have won it twice each and Northern Areas’ one and only success came in 2009.
That will change on Saturday at Balaklava’s magnificent Ralli Park ground.
I’m straight up here and calling a NAFA win.
They lost by six points last year, to the NEFL on its home track at Snowtown and that will not happen again with this much improved NAFA squad under the guidance of brilliant Crystal Brook premiership coach Shane Arbon.
Dan Hill is the key for the NAFA and if he can kick three or four goals a match it will prove the difference in these shortened low-scoring games.
Northern will get great service from its very damaging midfield.
The rotations will include current Sunday Mail medallist Luke Kapitola, a choice of Combe’s, Tommy Reid from Roo Park and Eagle Tom Button.
Big game players Luke Slattery, Ben O’Donohue and the Bowley brothers will not let this opportunity slip.
Good luck to all the teams, my money is on Northern to win the final by 26 points.
YPFL association team chosen
Courtesy of Nick Perry, Yorke Peninsula Country Times
YORKE Peninsula Football League’s Landmark Cup squad looks to be one of its strongest in recent memory.
Captain Tyson Wait and vice-captain Dylan Mansell are lining up on the half-back flanks alongside Wait’s cousin Josh Ramsey.
Although Ramsey usually plays up forward or on a wing, this is a formidable line and will be tough to pass.
The midfield should be another area of strength as Jono Lee and Jacob Stoll share ruck duties. On-ballers include James Watt, fresh from playing SANFL last year, state representative Joel Palmer, and Alek Kangur who is considered a Mail Medal favourite so far this season.
Up forward reigning premiership duo Nick Madden, another former SANFL player still in his prime, and the speedy Ashley Bruce are joined by crumbers Freddy Agius and Tyler Andrews.
Strong-marking Daniel Toole and Josh Bollmeyer will provide targets in the air across half forward, likely to receive silky delivery from wingers Riley Westlake and Scott Bentley.
The full-back line features young guns Michael Hobbs, Lachlan Slack and Abraham Helfand.
Expect the YPFL side to make quick rotations as it boasts impressive depth.
Its bench includes Stoll, who will spell Lee in the ruck, and key forward Alex Greenslade.
Jack Bollmeyer, who last year won the McCallum Tomkins Medal for the SANFL’s best under 18 player, should make an impact off the bench as should fellow under-21 player Harry Litster.