Local Footy: Loxton win through to Riverland Grand Final

By Nick Kossatch

The Loxton Tigers are through to the RFL A grade Grand Final after their fighting 14-point win against the Waikerie Magpies in the 2nd Semi-Final at Loxton North oval.

The conditions were very windy, which hampered the match but it was Loxton’s Ash Montgomery who stood tall with three second half goals.

The tall utility curtailed Waikerie gun forward Ben Venning in the first half before being moved into the forward line and with telling effect.

Tiger skipper Leigh Kruger booted two vital majors in the last quarter but it was Waikerie that made the early running in the first quarter.

Some dubious umpiring decisions frustrated the Loxton defenders, in particular 100-gamer Mark Theile, whose opponent Tom Hyde kicked two goals.

Hyde’s veteran team-mate Craig Griffiths was crunched in the first term and he took no further part in the game with a suspected rib injury.

Magpie wingman Jim Thomson was terrific all day with his typical dashes along the wings and Cameron Hawke took timely defensive marks.

Waikerie led by 15 points at quarter time but were held goalless in the second stanza with the Tigers, superbly marshalled by ruckman Liam Williams and Nick Uren, kicking two goals.

The weather was at its worst during the second term when a rain squall hit but Loxton weathered the storm with goals to Pat Portolesi that was set up by Williams and Jackson Fielke made the most of a 25-metre penalty to goal from the goal square.

Brett Wheeldon was doing the hard one-percenters across Loxton’s half forward line and the class of Nathan Tape was vital for the Magpies.

A well-constructed goal, at the start of the third quarter, from Shayne Stevens, put Waikerie nine points clear but Loxton booted the following three majors – two from the boot of Montgomery to seemingly take the momentum.

The Pies were not done with yet, with Tape accepting a handball from Matt Gibson and curling through a great goal and setting up an enthralling final quarter.

Loxton half back Chris Pampoukidis did some heroic deeds with strong attacks on the ball and player and Kruger sharked the ball off the pack to gleefully slot a goal at the start of the final term.

From that point onwards Loxton were never headed and ‘Monty’ added another to the Loxton goal tally before Waikerie’s Tim Bevan nailed one against the trend of play.

Shane Schubert’s SANFL experience was invaluable in Loxton’s back line as Waikerie via the likes of Luke Horner, Steve Leibich and ruckman Craig Miller, tried in vain to wrest back the lead.

The impressive Mitch Fazekas kicked another goal to put the game out of the Magpies reach and into their third Grand Final in four years whilst Waikerie do battle against Renmark in the Preliminary Final at Waikerie this Saturday.

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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