South's road to premiership glory

EXPECTATIONS: Joint captains Caleb Ritter and Darcy Kildea form a well balanced duo as they look to lead the A Grade to a third straight SGL Premiership flag.
EXPECTATIONS: Joint captains Caleb Ritter and Darcy Kildea form a well balanced duo as they look to lead the A Grade to a third straight SGL Premiership flag.

As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

And that’s the mentality of head coach James Boles as he leads South Augusta to a third straight Spencer Gulf League Premiership.

“We have gone down the tried and true method based on what we achieved last year and we are just going to carry on the same,” Boles said confidently.

“The focus is on transition of the ball from forward to back lines, working on our pace and skills, and our ruck set up.”

The formidable combination of ruckman Matt Downey and ruck-rover Darcy Kildea returns as Madigan Medallist, Kildea, transitions into a new role at the club. 

He steps into joint captaincy with last year’s ‘Most Dedicated’ player, Caleb Ritter.

“I lead by voice and he leads by action,” Ritter said of his newly appointed counterpart. 

Returning to the SGL in a red and white guernsey is 2016 premiership player Lionel Brown.

After spending a year in the Broken Hill Football League, Brown will fill the void left by leading goal kicker, Brendan Colson.

Averaging six goals per game, Kildea – like others around the club – has labelled him a “smooth operator”.

With an impressive and experienced list, the Bulldogs are once again a serious contender for the flag in September.

But Boles said responsibility won’t just fall in the laps of the most experienced, looking to his younger players to have an impact.

After a break out season in 2017, all eyes fall on 19-year-old Harry Holland.

Holland made the Port Augusta team of the year in the back pocket, but Boles is hoping to play him through the midfield. 

“Harry will be a standout this year,” Boles said.

“He is only a young lad but his football last year was really excellent and he will carry on to bigger and better things.”

“If Will Bolitho can get some solid training under his belt he will be really good,” Ritter added.

“He was injured last year with a broken collar bone, but this year he will definitely be up there.”

The Bulldogs are also joined by a new assistant coach in Kriston Thompson.

An ex League footballer at North Adelaide with 83 games under his belt, Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.

The Bulldogs will face West Augusta in round one and Boles is expecting one thing – to win.

“We expect to win every game to tell you the truth,” the back-to-back premiership coach said.

“We most probably know we are not going to win every game, but we always go in there with that attitude.”

That winning attitude will come in handy in round two when the Bulldogs face Solomontown in a Grand Final rematch.