President Matt Cook's Grand Final Week Thoughts

4 September 2018

The most important day of the year is upon Mid-West again. The Finals have been hard fought, very entertaining and all sides competitive. The Preliminary Final saw the hosts, Elliston field three grades, with success in both the A grade and B Grade. This reflects their efforts in recruiting and gave them good player depth. Wirrulla, hosting this week’s Grand Final, were successful in the Colts. This gives three sides, West Coast Hawks, Elliston and Wirrulla their turn to contest this year’s Grand Final. The other three clubs, Western Districts, Wudinna United and Central Eyre have had their turn in recent years but won’t feature in 2018. That is the nature of a successful competition. Every side tries their best and not all sides in 2018 can have their day in the sun.

Mid-West has had some good results this year. A vast improvement in the Mortlock side was one highlight, with a far more determined and professional approach. All players and officials should be proud of what they achieved. It should bode well for 2019. As a result, Mid-West had a significantly larger contingent selected for the EP squad, including Jesse Stringer, Joseph Burgoyne, Mitchell Gum, Dylan Kelsh, Remi North, Cameron Montgomerie, Jake McEvoy, Liam Newton, Kingsley Ware and Darryl Dudley. It is not only an honour to represent Mid-West Football, but to be given an opportunity to represent EP is impressive. Football at this next level, not only provides players with an opportunity to prove their abilities in a high skill competition, but also provides players with an opportunity to see where they can improve their own game. Players are often aspire to lift to a new level in their local competition after playing for Mid-West and EP.

Wudinna United and Wirrulla Football Clubs celebrated their Centenaries and Elliston their half-century. All clubs have a rich football history and have produced many great players. The Mail Medal this year was a ‘cliff-hanger’, being deservedly won by Mitchell Gum, along with best U21 and Jesse Stringer a close second. Congratulations go to all other medal winners. During the season, there were very few problems with umpire abuse or bad behaviour, and if there were, things settled down very quickly. Also, this year the League executive have implemented some simple changes in the running of the League, improving club communications and stream-lining Mid-West events. They continue work to improve these areas.

As will always be the case, Mid-West is not without it’s issues. All clubs in the Mid-West Football League, as with most Leagues in the state are affected by the ongoing loss of population. All sides were able to field teams, but a couple of clubs had some difficulties. One club had some difficulties fielding a competitive Colts side and another experienced a small increase in B grade forfeits. Both the Colts and B Grade competitions will require relatively minor changes to enable greater viability and to maintain competitiveness. Umpires continue to do a great job and the value of having a well organised Umpire’s Coordinator, Wade Shepperd, has been evident. Also, an umpiring session with Paul Cavanagh prior to the start of the season was very valuable for both seasoned umpires and new club recruits. Even so, umpire numbers remain relatively static and future recruits are going to be required to enable umpire flexibility and succession.

Not to dismiss future concerns, but Mid-West and it’s clubs having good communication, continuing to put in a bit of effort and determination, nurturing a healthy family club culture and getting the right people in recruiting positions will go a long way towards Mid-West maintaining an enjoyable and successful competition.

All in all, Mid-West has had a very successful year of football in 2018, and there is the anticipation of better things to come in 2019.

Once again, thank-you to everyone for the help that the Mid-West Football League has received this year, and we all look forward to next year.

Matthew Cook


Mid West Football League


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