Local Footy: Riverland FL special centenary match

by Nick Kossatch


The Riverland FL Centenary game produced a remarkable and controversial draw between North-Of-The-River and South-Of-The-River after North’s Ryan Bennett booted a 55-metre goal after the final siren.


 There was confusion when the Renmark Oval scoreboard showed North being five-point victors and they celebrated accordingly.


 The goal and field umpires conferred and scores were corrected as 84 points apiece.


South’s Leigh Kruger kicked a goal late in the third term and was missed by the scoreboard attendants.


Nevertheless this was a game for the ages.


 Both sides put in a 100 percent effort.


North began the better in the first quarter into a slight wind and Renmark player Paul Stelzer slotted through the game’s first from an acute angle.


Perhaps North should have been further ahead due to Trevor Thorpe missing two chances while Ryan Proud made the most of his for South.


His recovery and ability to keep his feet was telling.


The Loxton North forward crumbed three times to convert truly.


Defender Raphael Liddle was superb for South reading the play and creating rebound for the South-Of-The-River side.


They got on top in the second stanza holding North goalless.


South’s conversion was perfect.


They kicked five straight in the second and their midfield runners Kruger, Damian Stevens and Luke Horner got on top.


Rhys Mitchell nailed two goals and when a late contest from North’s Les Pearson on Mitchell was dubbed illegal – South had a 17-point lead.


South had an imposing avenue to goal in the form of Ben Venning.


The blond centre half forward had two majors in the first half and at the opposite end Michael Arnold had the better of Bennett holding him goalless.


Bennett had a couple chances in the first quarter and he missed another early in the third quarter.


Dillon Millard and Chris Scholefield were outstanding for the North side continually carrying the ball out of defence.


His side had plenty of work to do when Venning took a superb mark.


His third goal saw North in complete control with a commanding 21-point lead at three-quarter time.


Pearson, well beaten early, lifted in the last quarter and so too did North.


Bennett’s first goal trimmed the margin to 16 points and it could have been less if not for Anton Cook’s touch on the goal line that stopped a Scholefield major.


Both sides played desperate football in the remaining minutes.


North got on top in the clearances but when Venning’s handball found Lindsay Mitchell, who kicked South’s only goal for the term – it seemed South were to hold on.


Venning made amends for giving away a 25-metre penalty and goal to Brodie O’Dea.


North kicked back-to-back goals from difficult angles from Paul Stelzer and Jake Smith and the margin was just six points.


Another quick forward foray was marked, in a juggling fashion by Bennett moments before the final siren sounded.


It was a befitting finale in front of a huge, appreciative and initially confused crowd.










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,


  1. Rod Gillett says

    Thanks Nick.

    A hundred years of matches between North & South is a milestone.
    Loxton to the north & Renmark to the south – is that right?
    What is the history between them? When were both formed?
    Who has won the most games? Premierships?
    Is there a social divide? Or a religious one?
    What colours or guernsey designs do they wear?
    It seems like a great story behind it – it’d be great to learn more about it
    as it seems a rich history.

  2. Nick Kossatch says

    Gday Rod.

    I’ll reply to your query very soon. Having only moved to the Riverland 4 years ago from Adelaide I’ve yet not to know the history of the RFL teams. Berri Demons (most flags but struggling now), Barmera-Monash Roos (on the rise), Renmark Rovers (time for a flag), Waikerie Magpies (going for a hatrick), Loxton Tigers (sleeping giant) and Loxton North Panthers (may surprise).

    This years RFL season promises to be as close as it gets and probably other than Berri the other five can win the big one. I’ll give you the rundown of all six side’s history soon mate..

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