MYPOLONGA are the 2017 River Murray Football League premiers, defeating Meningie by 58 points at Tailem Bend on Saturday with a clinical performance in tricky conditions.
The Tigers broke the league’s longest premiership drought, winning their first flag since 1994.
Mypolonga went into the match after a week off; the Tigers beat Meningie in the semi final a fortnight before to qualify first. That final was decided by just four points so most expected a tight contest between two quality sides.
Meningie won the toss and elected to kick to the end the breeze had favored most of the day, however by the early stages of the first quarter, the breeze did not favour either end, pushing across the oval.
The Bears had no answers for the Tigers in the first quarter; Mypolonga were outstanding as they went about constructing a big lead early.
There was a lot of heat in the game early, with a bit of a scuffle and a few spot fires before Mypolonga’s Jack Kluske made no mistake to kick the first goal of the match and captain James Moss kicked the second goal.
Soon after, Moss had the crowd on their feet with a big hanger, and quickly kicked it to Lochlan Gotch who made no mistake to kick the Tigers’ third.
Clint Diment scored soon after and then Lockie Dodds-Wilson got on the scoreboard with another major to put the Bears on the back foot and Mypolonga went in with a big lead at quarter-time, 5.3 (33) to 0.4 (4).
The Bears needed to respond in the second quarter but that response did not come – the Tigers had eight goals on the board before Meninige could get a major, which came just before half-time through Jed Durdin.
The Tigers’ midfielders in Ben Gogel, Clint Diment, Jack Kluske and Seamus McDonnell were all busy early while Corey Jones was instrumental in the first half.
Meningie were well-served by Sam Sanders in their back half while Brian Fenton and Brodie Martin were working hard. However, at half-time, the Tigers had complete control of the match, leading 8.4 (52) to 1.4 (10).
The third-quarter saw the match tighten up and each side was only able to add one goal each. A rare highlight for Meninige came when Brodie Martin took three bounces and evaded a handful of Tigers to kick an impressive goal.
However, the sting had gone out of the contest a bit with a challenge from Meningie looking more and more unlikely; the Bears were trying hard but nothing was working and the Tigers were too tough and led at three-quarter-time, 9.7 to 2.8.
At the final break, the roar from the Tiger huddle was deafening; the Mypolonga players, coaches, officials and fans knew they were as good as home but they were urging the players to keep it up and make sure of the result.
And the Tiger players didn’t let the Mypolonga faithful down. They came home hard with a four goal to one final term and the Tigers were home.
Mypo were without passengers in a complete team performance; Clint Diment was a worthy winner of the Cybulka Medal as best on the ground, Seamus McDonnell was all class, Jones stood tall and Jake Altmann was good in defence.
Kluske was lively; he took a screamer in the second half to rival Moss’ early claim for mark of the day.
For Meningie, James Lawson was solid in the back half, together with Sam Sanders and midfielders Martin and Fenton never stopped trying.
MYPOLONGA 5.3-33 8.4-52 9.7-61 13.7-85
MENINGIE 0.4-4 1.4-10 2.8-20 3.9-27
Mypolonga: Goals: J. Moss 2, S. McDonnell 2, C. Diment 2, S. Norris, B. Gogel, L. Butler, L. Gotch, J. Kluske, L. Dodds-Watson, B. Martin. Best players: C. Diment, C. Jones, S. McDonnell, J. Altmann, N. Wright
Meningie: Goals: J. Niven, B. Martin, J. Durdin; Best players: J. Lawson, B. Martin, B. Fenton, P. Nelson, S. Sanders