Mallee Football League (South Australia)

The Mallee Football League (MFL) is an Australian rules football competition in South Australia. The league comprises teams located in south eastern South Australia and one team (Murrayville) located in western Victoria.

Mallee Football League

General information
Founded 1994
Current clubs Border Downs Tintinara FC, Karoonda Districts FC, Lameroo FC, Murrayville FC, Peake & District FC, Pinnaroo FC
Former clubs Ngallo FC, Parilla FC
Grounds Coonalpyn Oval, Karoonda Showgrounds, Lameroo Oval, Murrayville Cricket Ground, Peake Oval, Pinnaroo Showgrounds, Tintinara Oval
2018 MFL season
Premiers Border Downs/ Tintinara 14.17 (101) def Karoonda 6.7 (43)
Minor Premiers Border Downs/ Tintinara
Wooden spoon Murrayville
Mail Medalist Alexander Stidiford (BDT)

The football season usually starts after Easter and ends in early September. The local newspaper The Border Times has extensive coverage of each week's results of the MFL. Coverage is also provided on WIN SA and Flow FM during the season. During the Queens Holiday Weekend, the MFL selects a team to represent the Mallee against the Riverland. It has become a recent tradition and draws a fair crowd every year. The league's Best & Fairest award is called the Mail Medal. Prominent players to play at a higher level include Nathan D. Brown (Melbourne FC, Australian Football League), Trent Sporn (Carlton FC), Martin Mattner (Adelaide FC) and Rodney Maynard (Adelaide FC, AFL). The league is within the West Adelaide Football Club's regional recruiting zone.

Current clubs

Jumper Club Nickname Years in comp MFL Premierships Premiership Years
Border Downs/Tintinara Crows 2001- 11 2004, 2006-7, 2010–11-12-13-14, 2016, 2018-19
Karoonda Districts Magpies 1994- none
Lameroo Hawks 1994- 10 1994-5-6, 1998-9, 2000, 2002, 2008-9, 2015
Murrayville Bulldogs 1994- 2 2003, 2005
Peake & District Lions 1994- 1 2017
Pinnaroo Supa Roos 1994- 2 1997, 2001

Former clubs

Club Colours Nickname Years in comp MFL Premierships Premiership Years
Ngallo
Demons 1994-2000 none
Parilla/Geranium
Roosters 1994-1997 none

Border Downs/Tintinara Crows

Located in Tintinara and Coonalpyn, the Crows have been in the MFL since 2001. The BDT FC was formed after the Border Downs and the Tintinara clubs merged. BDT are one of only two teams in the league to not be on the Mallee Highway, with the other being Karoonda.

Prior to their amalgamation in 1993 Border Downs had competed in the River Murray Football League since 1955, while Tintinara had been a member of the Tatiara Football League for the same length of time. Before joining the TFL Tintinara had enjoyed premiership success on three occasions in the Lakes District Football Association. The club later added a solitary TFL flag in 1977. Border Downs’ record was undistinguished as the club’s senior grade team never once made it as far as a grand final. Following the merger the Crows spent seven seasons competing in the RMFL before crossing to the South Australian version of the Mallee Football League. Since joining the MFL the club has been successful across all levels winning more premierships than any other club since the turn of the century.[1]

Border Downs Tintinara are considered to be one of the most successful teams in South Australian Country football, winning 5 premierships in a row from 2010-14. Then adding to their total again in 2016.

Karoonda Magpies

Football started in Karoonda in the year 1914, two years after the town was settled. The first team was called Karoonda Football Club. In 1977 Borrika Football club (situated 16 km east of Karoonda) merged with Karoonda Football Club to be called Karoonda Borrika Football Club. In 1994 United (situated 12 km south of Karoonda) and Wynarka (situated 15 km west of Karoonda) Football Clubs merged with Karoonda Borrika Football Club to form Karoonda Districts Football Club. On June 10, 2005 Karoonda was hit by a freak tornado which semi demolished the clubrooms. With support from the local council and many community and regional people and businesses the club rebuilt and improved the clubrooms to the excellent standard they are now, after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons in portable rooms behind the western goals.

Lameroo Hawks

Based in Lameroo, 200 kilometres east of Adelaide. Lameroo football club is the home of former Adelaide Crows player Rodney Maynard, who still plays an active part in the club.

Murrayville Bulldogs

Based in Murrayville in Victoria, the Bulldogs are the only Victorian team in an otherwise South Australian league. The club's colours are red, white and blue.

Prior to 1994 the club competed in various different competitions, with its most notable achievements coming during its stint in the Lameroo and Districts Football League. Between 1979 and 1993 the Bulldogs qualified for the ultimate match of the season on no fewer than nine occasions, emerging victorious against Ngallo in 1980, and Lameroo North the following year as well as three seasons straight between 1984 and 1986.[2] Since joining the MFL in 1994 Murrayville have generally been a mid-table team, however they had a great run of results between 2001–07, winning two of the five Grand Finals they played in.

Sadly in recent years junior numbers have dwindled with some of its under age teams not being able to compete due to low numbers in some years. This has seen a number of former Murrayville juniors move to neighbouring football clubs in Pinnaroo and Ouyen United (formerly Underbool-Walpeup).

Peake Lions

The Peake & District Football club is based in Peake and include the surrounding towns of Geranium, Jabuk, Parrakie and Peake. The Club's colours are red, blue and yellow. The Peake Oval is most famous for being on a gradual downhill slant, which has created many mixed strategies to play effective football.

Pinnaroo Supa Roos

Based in Pinnaroo, South Australia, the Pinnaroo Football Club plays its home games at the Pinnaroo Showgrounds. The Club has four teams in the Mallee Football League: "A" Grade, Reserves ("B" Grade), Senior Colts (Under 16's), and the Junior Colts (Under 13's). The colours of the Pinnaroo Supa Roos are red, white and black.

The original Pinnaroo Football Club was established in 1908 and had won a total of half a dozen premierships by the time it split into two separate teams, North Pinnaroo and South Pinnaroo, in 1925. In 1944 these two teams amalgamated and the resultant club, known as Pinnaroo, won premierships both that year and in 1946 before splitting in two again in 1947. This is how things remained until 1974 when North and South joined forces once more, giving birth to today’s Pinnaroo Supa Roos. Between 1974 and 1993 Pinnaroo was affiliated with the Lameroo and Districts Football League. The seniors won a premiership in their very first season, but thereafter the closest they got was runners-up in 1975, 1990 and 1993.[3] Since commencing in the Mallee Football League in 1994 the Supa Roos have had mixed results across all levels, being one of the few teams in the league relying almost entirely on local players rather buying in players from other regions and Adelaide.

The Pinnaroo Football Club shared the Pinnaroo Showgrounds with the Ngallo Demons Football Club in its final years until it went into recess in 2000. Ngallo's presence is still seen with the visitors rooms and interchanges bench in the navy and blue of the Demons. In 2007 the Pinnaroo Showgrounds suffered great damage after a mini-tornado hit the historic show pavilion and grandstand, fortunately after its demolition a smaller pavilion was built in its place at the same time the clubrooms received a significant upgrade.

Brief history

The Mallee Football League was formed in 1994 when the Lameroo & Districts Football League and the Murraylands Football League amalgamated.

There were 7 clubs involved with Karoonda Districts, Lameroo, Murrayville, Ngallo, Parilla / Geranium, Peake & District and Pinnaroo.

Parilla / Geranium went into recess in 1998 and Ngallo followed in 2001. Border Downs Tintinara joined the Mallee League in 2002 and there have been 6 clubs since that time.

Premiers

SeasonPremierRunner UpScoreMail Medal (Season's Best & Fairest)
1994LamerooKaroonda Districts27.16 (178) – 12.9 (81)
1995LamerooMurrayville16.13 (109) - 12.13 (85)
1996LamerooPinnaroo23.14(152) – 13.9 (87)
1997PinnarooLameroo17.16 (118) – 16.7 (103)
1998LamerooKaroonda Districts13.16 (94) – 8.11 (59)
1999LamerooNgallo23.15 (153) – 11.8 (74)
2000LamerooPinnaroo11.13 (79) - 8.12 (60)
2001PinnarooMurrayville7.10 (52) – 4.7 (31)
2002LamerooBorder Downs/Tintinara15.15 (105) – 8.10 (58)
2003MurrayvillePinnaroo15.9 (99) – 6.5 (41)
2004Border Downs/TintinaraMurrayville23.15 (153) – 5.3 (33)
2005MurrayvilleKaroonda Districts18.10 (118) – 14.10 (94)
2006Border Downs/TintinaraLameroo14.9 (93) – 8.10 (58)Sunyl Vogt (Pinn) & Josh Richardson (BDT)
2007Border Downs/TintinaraMurrayville16.17 (113) – 15.14 (104)Shaun Walker (Lame) & Josh Richardson (BDT)
2008LamerooBorder Downs/Tintinara17.17 (119) - 13.9 (87)Josh Richardson (BDT)
2009LamerooBorder Downs/Tintinara14.8 (92) - 8.7 (55)Ben Greiger (Lame)
2010Border Downs/TintinaraKaroonda Districts20.20 (140) - 7.4 (46)Josh Keller (BDT)
2011Border Downs/TintinaraMurrayville14.11 (95) - 12.6 (78)Corey Knight (Kar)
2012Border Downs/TintinaraKaroonda Districts16.14 (110) - 4.7 (31)Michael Worsman (M/ville)
2013Border Downs/TintinaraLameroo14.16 (100) - 8.5 (53)Patrick Barrett (BDT)
2014Border Downs/TintinaraPeake & District17.9 (111) - 12.7 (79)Hayden Thorpe (Lame)
2015LamerooBorder Downs/Tintinara15.11 (101) - 12.7 (79)Patrick Barrett (BDT)
2016Border Downs/TintinaraPeake & District12.17 (89) - 10.9 (69)Gabe Phillips (Pke)
2017Peake & DistrictPinnaroo7.11 (53) - 7.6 (48)Tyson Jenner (Pinn)
2018Border Downs/TintinaraKaroonda Districts14.17 (101) - 6.7 (43)Alex Stidiford (BDT)
2019Border Downs/TintinaraPinnaroo10.10 (70) - 8.13 (61)Nathan Brown (Kar)

Season format

The Mallee Football League's season usually starts shortly after Easter. The season usually consists of 15 Rounds of three games, always on Saturdays (each team plays every other team three times) and two breaks during the season for the Queens Birthday weekend and the other for the SA Country Carnival. Recently the MFL introduced one night game a year, usually at Murrayville. The finals series is based on a top four system: The top two play each other and the winner goes through to the Grand Final, the loser plays the winner of the match between the 3rd and 4th placed team. then the winner of that game goes through to the grand final. the winner of the Grand Final is declared the premiers.

Notable Former Players

AFL Players

  • Rodney Maynard, Lameroo FC. Played for Norwood and the Adelaide Crows.
  • Nathan Brown, Pinnaroo FC. Played for West Adelaide and the Melbourne Demons
  • Trent Sporn, Murrayville FC. Played for North Adelaide and the Carlton Blues.
  • Martin Mattner, Peake & District FC. Played for Sturt, the Adelaide Crows, and the Sydney Swans.
  • Tom Keough, Pinnaroo FC. Premiership player with West Adelaide, and a rookie with the Gold Coast Suns in 2016.

References

Books

  • Encyclopedia of South Australian country football clubs / compiled by Peter Lines. ISBN 9780980447293
  • South Australian country football digest / by Peter Lines ISBN 9780987159199
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