Southern Districts struggles at SA Country Football Championships held at Port Pirie

REPUTATION INTACT: Tarik Illingworth featured in the best players in the loss to eventual country champions Central on the weekend at Port Pirie. Photo: Peter Argent.

REPUTATION INTACT: Tarik Illingworth featured in the best players in the loss to eventual country champions Central on the weekend at Port Pirie. Photo: Peter Argent.

Central Zone claimed its first SA Country Championship since 2013 with a comprehensive win against Northern Zone in the Grand Final on Sunday, July 14.

The SA Country Championships was played at Port Pirie on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, where the best country footballers in the state played off to see which region can claim to be the best in country SA.

Southern Districts consists of players from the Great Southern, Southern and Kangaroo Island football leagues and competed against Central, Northern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray-South East and Eastern.

Southern Districts had a disappointing carnival, finishing fourth overall.

Southern Districts started the championships well defeating Eyre Peninsula by four points. Southern Districts kicked 5-4 to Eyre Peninsula 5-0. Mount Compass star Tom Pinyon booted three goals for Southern Districts and Ziggy Vitkunas snared one goal.

Best for Southern Districts were Brett Ellis (McLaren), Tyson Hoffmann (Willunga), Jake Veide (former Mount Compass) and Sam Alexopoulos (Willunga).

However in round two, Southern Districts were beaten badly by Central, the eventual winners of the championships, losing by 41 points.

The final score was Central 7-8 to Southern Districts 1-3. Tom Pinyon kicked Southern Districts' only goal.

PASSING OFF: Victor Harbor's Jack McKay did his best on the weekend playing for Southern Districts at the SA Football Country Championships in Port Pirie. Photo: Peter Argent.

PASSING OFF: Victor Harbor's Jack McKay did his best on the weekend playing for Southern Districts at the SA Football Country Championships in Port Pirie. Photo: Peter Argent.

Best for Southern Districts were Tyson Hoffmann, Jack McKay (Victor Harbor), Riley Clamp (Strathalbyn) and Tarik Illingworth (Encounter Bay).

The loss put an abrupt halt to any chance of Southern Districts making the final.

The performance of Tyson Hoffmann was the shining light for Southern Districts during the championships and was rewarded with selection in the team of the championships.

Hoffmann was the only Great Southern player selected and was named in the back pocket.

Winning their third title since the championship's inception in 1994, Central won by a comfortable margin of 60 points, as former North Adelaide star Leigh Ryswyk played his way toward a three-way tie for the Don McSweeny Medal as Player of the Championships.

Ryswyk was joined by Eyre Peninsula pair Xavier Watson and Sidney Masters, with the former captaining his side to victory last year and the latter winning the Goalkicking Award with seven for the tournament.

Central Zone coach and former SA Country mentor Steve Lubcke was a fitting recipient of the Bill Murdoch Medal as coach of the carnival, while Eastern's Troy Parker-Boers was recognised as the Best Under-21 Player.

However, Southern Districts avenged its loss in last year's Women's title decider, to win the championship in 2019.

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