Picola League South East Division Premiership 2014

The Picola League in its various guises dates back to 1934. It has undergone various changes since then, as teams  came and went. There are now two divisions covering teams who are drawn from a wide area ranging from the top of the Goulburn Valley region of Victoria, across the mighty Murray to include teams from the Southern Riverina.

Bob and I caught up early Saturday morning, preparing to the drive to Tungamah, a pleasant town of around 300 people  nestled between Benalla, Shepparton, and Yarrawonga. Over the recent summer months people might have been aware of a community campaign over a pending pool closure. The Tungamah community won. The town also has a police station best identified by its large orange and lemon trees, with their large amount of fruit growing on them.

The football club in Tungamah, the Bears, date back to 1882, entering the Picola League back in 1995, subsequently  winning four, now five,  flags, including 2013.

Their opponents on grand final day, Katamatite, the Tigers,  were briefly a member of the Picola League, from 1950 until 1956,  returning in 1995. They have three flags to their credit.

As is our wont we stayed at  the Tungamah Hotel , guest of local publican Peter Chisnall, Corowa legend, and premiership wingman in North Melbournes first premiership team back in 1975.  One  highly recommends the Tungamah pub of Peter and Helen. In its heyday there were seven pubs in town, now only one remains.  The history of the Tungamah Hotel  goes back to 1881, with the current structure being in place since 1891, after a fire destroyed the original Tungamah hotel.

We arrived at the ground to see the final stages of the Reserves Grand Final. It was won by Dookie United 12-4-76, over Shepparton East 3-11-29. This being the only time in 2014 Shepparton East lost a match. Not good timing.

Thus the top two sides met in the play off for the 2014 senior flag. Tungamah, the reigning premiers, entered the match undefeated,  so far in 2014, with Katamtite a good distance behind in second spot, 8 games difference in fact. This was the first time a Grand Final was played at the Tungamah ground since 1966, with a fine, sunny day greeting us, a record crowd in attendance , reflected by record gate taking of over $40-000.00 .

Tungamah got of to a flier, with two points kicked before a Katamite player had a possesion; as we know kicks ins don’t count. Kyle Archibald had big first term up forward for Tungamah, kicking three goals; he bookended the match with four goals in the final term.

Tungamah cruised home winning 24-14 -158, to 8-4-52. Two Tungamah players shared the goal kicking honours with Kyle Archibald, and the leagues leading goal kicker,  Lee James ,  kicking 7 apiece.  Is there an Archibald prize for the leading goal scorer on Grand Final day? Katamatite coach Tyson Saunders battled on bravely, kicking half his teams tally of goals.

For the second year in a row Tungamah’s Dan Ellis was voted best on the ground.

Though we won’t be seeing any more footy at Tungamah in 2o14 I plan to return to the pub prior to Xmas, and enjoy the local hospitality.  I would urge all Almanackers to pop into the Tungamah Hotel of Peter and Helen, where a pleasant bite to eat,  cold drinks, combined with good hospitality is on offer.

Go Bears !!!

Tungamah :  5-5 -35 / 10-8-68 /  16-14-110 / 24-14-158

Katamatite: 2-1-13 /  3-2-20 /  6-4-40 / 8-4-52



  1. Nice story Glen!

    I grew up playing for Tungamah, first as the Grasshoppers and then from 1995 as the Bears. I left to go to uni in Melbourne.

    We used to be in the Tungamah Football League then the powers-that-be forced us into the Picola & District League. Quite clearly we are a powerhouse in the weaker league!

    There is quite a lot of frustration with aspects of the league changes. Despite Katamatite, Katandra, Shep East, Dookie and Tungamah all belonging to the former Tungamah League, there is little recognition of this history. The Picola league B&F is given twice with the same name attached to the medal in each division. The premiership plate is, likewise, awarded twice each year, once in the north-west (Jerilderie this year) and once in the south-east. When the split originally occurred, the north-west was ranked significantly higher in the VCFL despite quite clearly being the weaker division.

    I must admit that the Tungamah League B&F medal was the Lawless medal. My mother is a Lawless so I am biased! But I do think that as the south-east division is dominated by old Tungamah League clubs there should be more recognition of the history of this League rather than just being know as Picola & District League South-East Division.

    Nevertheless, I am glad you enjoyed Tungamah and the pub! It is a great place that will always have a special place in my heart! And I have vivid memories of Peter Chisnall ripping his top off after training one night, trying to inspire us with his amazingly sculpted physique! One of a kind.


  2. Ta Liam, yes Peter is still in good nick.

    I do get a tad confused with how the South East and Norh West boundaries are struck; it doesn’t appear as purely geographical. How can Rennie be in one Division, Jerilderie in anothe?. Similarily Strathmerton in a different division than Katamtite who aren’t far away. Does some one have an explanation for the Picola League structure?

    Liam, Tumgamah remain a powerhouse in this competiiton. Consecutive flags, undefeated for 2014, you can’t ask for more than that.


  3. When the league was first divided Jerilderie and Rennie weren’t in it. Both have subsequently joined.

    Geographically the north-west clubs of Deni Rovers and Mathoura Timbercutters (cracking moniker!) were furthest from south-east like Tungamah and Katamatite. But the dividing boundary was not clear! I think negotiations meant that there are some strange results. Perhaps the strangest is Yarroweyah are in the north-west and Strathmerton are south-east. Yarroweyah drive west and have to travel through Strathy to get to many of their away games and vice versa. I think this came down to relative strength of the clubs – Strathy wanted to play in the more competitive south-east while Yarroweyah thought their interests were better served north-west.

    I’m very happy with the mighty Bears. The coach Nick Doyle grew up on the next farm over in Burramine South, and I’m pleased for my ex-Burramine South Primary School alumnus!

  4. Always good to see Shepp teams beaten!
    Even Shepp East – have had their fair share of the spoils over the years.

    Glen – did you catch up with why the Picola league won’t let two of the old Benalla and District league clubs that have combined – Tatong and Swanpool – join?
    Got a new name, can’t recall what it is…

  5. Dr Rocket, we arrived at the ground half way through the third term wit Dookie United leading 3-3 to 1-8. We found a score like this on a fine, sunny day, strange. Dookie United from this point pulled away, to motor to a crushing victory

    Sorry Dr Rocket, i’m none the wiser on the latter point.


  6. On ya Glen!

    VCFL playing bully again – as they have done many times – not always acting in the best interests of the game.

  7. Liam, Strathmerton is in the North-west group of Picola League teams with Yarroweyah etc. The powers that be should change it back to the original PFL with the old Benalla-Tungamah league taking Tungamah,Dookie, Katandra,Shepp. east and Rennie and have a seperate league over the river in NSW for Blighty, Mathoura,Deniliquin Rovers Jerilderie, Berrigan and Tocumwal.Also did you ask how much money Tungamah spent to win this and last years flag?

  8. DrRocket, the team to be called the “Samaria Suns”? was voted not to join the Picola League, Sth East division mainly because of the extra travelling involved.As in my previous comment, if the powers that be restart the old Benalla Tungamah league they would be a perfect fit.

  9. Dear Josh’s Dad,

    Seems like a good idea! It’d be great to see the names Benalla and Tungamah revived! The Tungamah league was very vibrant in the 1970s and into the 80s.

    Looking at the composition of the Picola South East division: Tungamah, Katamatite, Rennie, Shepp East, Katandra, Katunga, Waaia and Dookie United it is the old Tungamah League.

    Rennie from the Coreen league is the odd one out geographically as it is in NSW but it has more in common size wise with the other clubs rather than the town teams in the North West comp.

    Would you consider Longwood coming in from the Kyabram District – along with the Samaria Suns? How do you get that name from Swanpool and Tatong???

    And the Picola league could live on with the NW comp – it actually includes Picola. Although it has essentially become the 2nd division of the Murray League with Toc, Strathie, Berrigan, and Jerilderie also housed in it.
    Now there’s an idea! It could have promotion and relegation with the Murray League???!
    One day Nathalia would end up back in the Picola league…….

  10. Dr Rocket, yes all those teams with the exception of Waaia, Katunga and Rennie were all in the old B&T league.
    Samaria is the supposed to be the name of the area that encompasses Tatong & Swanpool. Longwood would be a good fit if that happened.
    Waaia has always had a great rivalry with Picola untill the league was split.

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