Fresh faces lead Burras
After twice standing on the cusp of a first premiership since the late 1990s, Minyip-murtoa’s football side took a step back last season.
The Burras were an agonising two points short of hoisting the premiership cup against Horsham Saints in the 2016 grand final, and a year later fell to Horsham on the same stage.
Some observers thought the pain of consecutive grand final defeats would galvanise the Burras in 2018 and spur them on to cross the final hurdle, but instead they crashed to a 7-9 record and missed finals altogether.
The disappointing result is something new coach John Delahunty attributes to a lack of cohesion from last season’s senior players.
“I think the buy-in of the players wasn’t quite there, and the standard of the competition lifted again,” he said.
“We played some great games but didn’t get over the line, and that was the first time we’d missed finals in seven or eight years.
“It was a real shame, but I’m starting to feel optimistic with the way we’ve been training during the past few weeks.
“People are buying in and enjoying themselves, and that’s all I can ask for from them.
“If we’ve got the talent and the right game plan, then that will take us as far as we can go.” Just how far can the Burras go?
Delahunty said his side was capable of playing for a premiership again in 2019.
“I do think we can contend for a flag,” he said.
“Last year was a bit of a lull. This year we’ve got fresh faces, a fresh coach and a few players have moved on, so we’re starting afresh and everyone is really appreciating that.”
Among the fresh faces is former local Tim Mackenzie, who returns as Delahunty’s assistant coach after winning Glenelg’s best and fairest in the SANFL reserves last season.
In another recruiting coup the Burras have signed star brothers Tim and Ben Mcintyre. Both have won the Kowreenaracoorte-tatiara Football League’s Virgo Medal as league best and fairest – Ben as a member of Penola in 2014 and Tim with Mundulla last year.
Other recruits include Jack Boschen from Lucindale in KNTFL and Vincent White from Learmonth in Central Highlands league.
While the Burras have recruited strongly, they have also lost plenty of firepower.
Last season’s coach Damian Cameron has departed for Donald in North Central league, taking star midfielder Pat Purcell and ruckman Matt Coleman along with him.
Minyip-murtoa will also lose the ser- vices of Callum Hobbs, Kieran Delahunty and Warwick Stone.
Purcell, Cameron and Delahunty finished first, second and third respectively in last season’s best and fairest count.
John Delahunty said while the loss of several key players had left large holes in the side, the Burras were in a good position to cover them.
“Matt was our ruckman last year, but we’ve got Fergus Schier who has been rucking for us in the reserves and is a great tap ruckman who is a student of the game,” he said.
“He takes everything in and is willing to learn.”
Delahunty said it was emerging players like Schier, as well as the Burras’ recruits, that would help the team challenge for a finals berth again this season.
“We’ve picked up a few and there’s probably three or four others who will hopefully put pen to paper soon,” he said.
“We’ve got quite a few players looking extremely good on the track.
“Fergus is one, Nick Kelson has hardly missed a training session, Corey Morgan and Logan Petering have been going really well and I think will play a lot of senior football this year.
“The message that I’m trying to send this year is that it’s all about team football and playing for the team and enjoying each other’s company. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together.”
Departure: Kieran Delahunty