Local Footy: Brilliant Renmark smash Loxton in Riverland Grand Final

By Nick Kossatch in Barmera

Renmark produced their best football when it counted by obliterating Loxton by 83 points in the Riverland Football League Grand Final at a hot, dusty and windswept Barmera Oval on Saturday.

Matt and Aaron Camplin shared nine goals between them in Aaron’s and Brett Exelby’s last game.

What a way for them to bow out.

The Rovers broke through for their first flag since 1995 in magnificent and clinical fashion despite the horrid conditions and without ruckman Nathan Farr, who was a late withdrawal with a back injury.

Loxton took the risk in playing star forward Peter Smith but it backfired with Smith failing to complete the match.

From early in the first quarter Renmark were much more composed with excellent foot-skills, in particular, from Adam Bryant, Matt and Paul Stelzer and Brodie O’Dea.

Ben Wagnitz and Peter Dempsey were dangerous forwards for Renmark but it was Matthew Camplin who slotted through the only three goals for the quarter.

He was the beneficiary of a free kick for his first goal – a neat kick from an acute angle to get the Rovers rolling.

Craig Seekamp used his ample body superbly in the ruck contests and was handy around the ground for Renmark.

When a shanked kick by Tiger captain Leigh Kruger went well wide from goal – it was an early indication that Loxton were in for a terrible day.

The influential skipper had Matty Martinson tagging him every step of the way.

38-year-old Mick Townsend was another sensational player for the Rovers often repelling Loxton from their forward 50.

The shaven-headed veteran combined wonderfully with Whillas Medallist Simon Callahan and Trevor Thorpe.

The game was all but over as a contest by half-time.

Renmark slammed home another six goals – all from individual goal-kickers started by Exelby.

Loxton were indecisive, chose the wrong option and did not handle the difficult conditions at all well.

Only youngster Braden Kurtzer and Pat Portolesi showed any composure against the rampant Rover onslaught.

When Paul Burne attacked the ball, marked it, then fed a handpass to a running Thorpe whose goal put Renmark 44 points clear – it was party time amongst the Rover faithful in the stands.

Callahan was having another big game and he chopped off a Loxton kick-out to boot another major for Renmark.

The third quarter was Loxton’s best with three goals to Renmark’s two but Scott Jenkins was another player having a ‘big day out’ for the blue and whites.

The Tigers’ Ash Montgomery finally kicked their first goal of the game at the 18-minute mark soon followed by another major to Lindsay Mitchell.

Bronte Manual did excite the Tiger supporters after a pulled down a high mark in defence.

Seekamp marked strongly then helped Matthew Camplin nonchalantly boot his fourth goal.

Loxton’s ‘min-revival’ was quashed after Harrison Beavis gleefully accepted a pass from Aaron Camplin, after a terrific contested mark, to put another nail in Loxton’s coffin.

The Rovers rattled another seven majors – three of which were kicked by red-hot Aaron Camplin.

When Ryan Bennett laced a bullet-like pass onto the chest of the dominant Wagnitz that ended with his second goal – it was exhilarating football from the Rovers.

Loxton had a rare highlight when Rhys Mitchell escaped the lunges from two Renmark defenders to nail his second major of the game.

Jenkins again ran hard from defence and involved Beavis in the lead-up to Aaron Camplin marking between two Tiger defenders.

He soon spun out of a pack and put through his third major and then brother Matthew, the ‘showman’ of the Renmark side, added another for his fifth goal.

The Rovers had many players who would have deserved ‘BOG’ honours – the Stelzer brothers with their precision disposals, Craig Seekamp who was huge in the ruck, Bryant never wasted a possession nor stopped running, defender Townsend was a flawless defender and Callahan was supreme across half back.

Wagnitz was awarded best afield with a masterful performance at centre half forward but for the hapless Tigers, it was probably Portolesi, Nick Uren and Kurtzer who were playing to their weight division and Montgomery had his moments in this lop-sided Grand Final.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: Renmark had so many. Paul Burne’s diving mark and then handballing to a running Trevor Thorpe. The Rover skipper split the uprights to put his side 44-points up in the second term and Loxton were gone.

TURNING POINT: Renmark’s relentless pressure from the very beginning unsettled the Tigers and of course Matthew Camplin’s terrific hat-trick of majors helped seal Loxton’s fate very early in the game. In contrast the game became easier for Renmark and they did what they pleased from start to finish.

BEST ON GROUND: As already mentioned Renmark had a number of stars deserving of best-on-ground status but for the complete centre half forward’s game – one can not go past Ben Wagnitz’ performance in the key forward post. He was the avenue to goal in which the Camplin brothers relished.

About Nicholas Kossatch

Tall and intelligent and athletically built who calls a spade a spade. Love sports writing and sending letters and texts to the editor about AFL and the Port Adelaide Power - win, lose or draw. I do not sit on the fence. Soon to be 40! I play basketball and over 35's supers football. Have played amateur footy and a bit of cricket and basketball when living in Adelaide. Do some writing for the Murray Pioneer,

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