South African Lions in International Cup Buildup in Jamestown

South Africa Lions at Auskick


The South African Lions have enjoyed what has been labelled the “Jamestown Tour”, having been made a welcome part of the local community over the past week.

It was a cool welcome for the South African Lions, arriving late Friday evening in Jamestown with the night proving to be one of the coldest the town has felt for nearly a decade. A far cry from the township of Durban, home to several players, which has been experiencing more Brisbane style weather as opposed to the frosty mornings of South Australia’s Mid North.

A full tour party of thirty five, including players, umpires and match officials made the journey approximately two hundred kilometres North of Adelaide to the town of Jamestown. Situated on the footsteps of the Southern Flinders Ranges, Jamestown has a colourful history, being the birthplace of RM Williams, home town of former actor turned Brisbane Bears President Paul Cronin, aswell as the home town to some of the many South Australians who were part of the Australian Light Horse, during World War I.

Saturday saw the team venture North to Orroroo, to watch the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies take on the Orroroo Roos in the Northern Areas Football Association. As part of the day the Lions players joined in with the Magpies, doing exactly what makes country footy so strong, volunteering. South African Lions players were honorary Magpies for the day, running water, helping the Junior grades from the bench and even singing some traditional African songs from the crowd, creating an amazing atmosphere for the local crowd.

It was even a special moment for young Burgoyne Motuba. He is lucky enough to be on the trip with his parents, his Dad Benji the current Assistant Coach of the side. Burgoyne, named after the famous Port Adelaide Premiership playing brothers, even donned a Magpies Guernsey, playing alongside the locals in the Sub Minis (Under 10’s) match. At the final siren of the A Grade match, with the Magpies victorious the full Lions squad formed a guard of honour for their adopted side before joining in the circle and helped the team sing the victory song.


Internation Cup jumper presentation

That evening the Jamestown community welcomed the squad back at the Jamestown Football Complex, with Lions Coach Wayne Miller interviewing players and providing an insight in to the expansion of the game in the Rainbow Nation and the difficulties involved. Lions players then interviewed Magpies coach, SANFL hall of famer and 1980’s State of Origin Star Mick Redden. Asking him about his 378 game career, the days of State Football pre AFL, what is was like to play alongside Roosters greats such as the Jarman brothers and the infamous 1991 SANFL Grand Final. Players were then presented their training jumpers by Redden, before they celebrated in African song with many the locals thoroughly enjoying the entertainment. It was something the regional community will never forget.

Sunday saw the players work with local juniors through the Auskick program first up in the morning. After a swift training session the squad were split in two for an internal trial. Coach Wayne Miller took charge of one side and Mick Redden the other. A good crowd was in attendance, with Redden’s Roosters proving to be no match for Miller’s side, conceding four early goals before going down in the end by six. What the match did show however, was the exciting brand of running football the Lions play. It was even interesting to see how the skills have progressed, with several players looking to follow the path of Mike Pyke and convert from Rugby across to Australian Rules Football.

After spending a couple of days training at the local sporting grounds, sightseeing and even spending some time at a local shearing shed, Wednesday saw a stop to Port Adelaide headquarters, Alberton Oval. The Lions took on a local indigenous side, winning in a thriller by a single point. Following the match the squad flew out to Melbourne, with a focus on Sunday’s big match against newcomers, Pakistan. Several families from Jamestown ventured down to Alberton to show their support, with a few taking the next step and following them across to Melbourne.

It has been an amazing time for the Jamestown community to be hosting an International squad, with the lessons from the tourists about their culture and background an enriching experience for the locals. Likewise the sense of community, the love of footy and the many new supporters for the South African side will no doubt prove to be a godsend as they challenge for the 2014 title.

About James Lang

A committed volunteer who loves Australia's game. Based in Jamestown in South Australia's Mid North, the birthplace of RM Williams, I work closely with the local Football, Netball and Cricket clubs. A rewarding involvement has been in establishing the social interaction group Backyard Football League Australia.

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