Thunderers show Wares
HE’D won SANFL flags with Central District but steering Ironbank to a drought-breaking Hills A2 grand final triumph against Brett James’ Kersbrook was sweetest for Elijah Ware.
Iron Bank, coached by Ware and Stuart Wells, won its first flag since going back to back in 1998-99. Ironbank’s efficiency kicking 14.11 (95) to Kersbrook’s 9.13 (67) prevailed in swirling, icy winds.
The Thunderers were never headed in an upset, 28-point win with Ware best afield when it mattered.
“Every flag is sweet, you work hard through the year and it is good to get a bit of reward,” said Ware, who played two AFL games for Port Adelaide in 2006.
It was all of 10 degrees as rain and cars encircled Callington Oval where the Bremer River flows nearby.
It didn’t dampen the spirits of the hardy Hills folk. This was unabridged country footy at its best.
Everyone had a hands-on role in getting their boys to the second Saturday in September, from waterboys to salt-of-theearth types manning the BBQ’s, esky bars and match commentary.
Ironbank, a community club without a pub or postbox as president Paul Langman notes, was desperate to atone for losing last year’s grand final to Nairne-Bremmer. Training under first-year coaching combination Wells and Ware on Thursday night had none of the excitement of last year, just a singular focus on the job to be done.
“Stuie and I have taken it on from last year, changed the club a little bit and put in a bit of a game plan. It took us while and all paid off in the end,” said Ware as post-match celebrations hit overdrive.
Winning with a group of kids and colourful figures sporting dodgy haircuts who came through the club’s junior grades found a special place in the heart for Ware.
“You have guys like Jarrod Tagliaferri, Chris Morgan and Levi Grigg is a bit of character. You get them at every club. These boys have been together since they were juniors and haven’t tasted success at Agrade level. It means a lot to them and good to see boys sticking around the club. It is always good to win as an underdog.”
Ware paid tribute to Norwood and Crows legend James, who cut a stoic figure in defeat.
“Kersbrook are a tough unit. Paul James still dominates and so does Beef when he plays. It is great to see guys go off to AFL, win premierships and be back at their local club doing that sort of stuff,” said Ware of super-coach James.
“It is amazing.”
HOW GOOD IT IS: Ironbank celebrates its drought-breaking grand final triumph over Kersbrook at Callington Oval.
HIGH DRAMA: Robe snapped a 34-year premiership drought by beating Mt Burr on the siren at Glencoe, 9.10 (64) to 9.7 (61). Craig Pitt kicked three goals — including the matchwinner. Jonathan Agnew was best. NO TROUBLE: West Whyalla secured the Whyalla League premiership with a comfortable win against Weerona Bay, 10.13 (73) to 2.14 (16). Captain Kode Patterson and coach Brad Smith with the cup.
THRILLER: Kingscote won the Kangaroo Island flag after beating defending premier Western Districts in a country football classic, 6.10 (46) to 6.7 (43).