The SGL football season is finally upon us and after a season that saw South Augusta claim their second consecutive premiership, there have been many changes around the six clubs adding to the unpredictability of the upcoming season.
This year has been shortened to 15 games, with the Under 15s kicking off every game day from Round 1.
With the redevelopment of Memorial Oval continuing throughout this season, football in Port Pirie will return to Port Oval once again.
This week, the excitement for opening round should be matched by three entertaining matches.
West Augusta vs. South Augusta
Saturday, April 21 – Central Oval, Port Augusta at 2:25pm
South begin their premiership defence against a revamped West side, who have undergone some major changes over the off-season.
West lost seven of their last eight minor round matches in a horror second half of the year, before copping a 69-point loss to Lions in the first semi final.
Over the summer the club appointed a new senior coach in Corey McKenzie, but lost some top-end talent with Hayden, Jordan and Tyron Warren, as well as Tye Treloar-Starkey all departing the club.
South, on the other hand, will be up and about and full of confidence after another successful season in 2017.
Despite losing last year’s leading goalkicker Brendon Colson, they will still have plenty of star power in their line-up with the likes of Darcy Kildea, Matt Downey and Clayton Milera playing.
I’m expecting an easy South win of over 60 points, but I’m hoping West can prove me wrong to give us a close game to kick off the year.
PropRisdon vs. Port
Saturday, April 21 – Port Oval, Port Pirie at 2:25pm
Port are looking to make some serious improvements on last year after finishing the year on the bottom of the ladder.
Meanwhile, Lions will be looking to continue their streak of five straight finals appearances after bowing out to Solomontown in the preliminary final in 2017.
Lions’ top-end talent is much better than Port’s and they have some fantastic young players, such as Daniel Fulcher, so I’m guessing Lions will pick up the win here.
Central Augusta vs. Solomontown
Sunday, April 22 – Central Oval, Port Augusta at 2:25pm
Central had a disastrous season last year, only getting three wins on the board and have also made some big changes to personnel.
The biggest piece of good news for Central supporters from last year was that Brendon Colson came over from South to join his brother Kyle.
He will join former West Whyalla on-baller Brannan Everett at the Bloods, along with new coach Cameron Redden.
Sollies will be looking to bounce back from losing the Grand Final after a dominant minor round. They lost one game all year heading into finals, where South bettered them twice in three weeks.
Expect them to be right back in the mix for a top-two position and to get off to a good start here.