While not mentioned in the best players, smooth-moving North Eastern Eagle Steve Rusca still played a significant role in the South Australian Country side’s thrilling five-point win over Western Australia at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.
In the contest, SA led by 13 points at three quarter time, but the Sandgropers gobbled up that lead in the opening couple minutes of the last quarter and looked to run away with the game.
Rusca was moved into the midfield after half time and won a number of significant possessions.
SA country coach Luke Duncan said the game showed a lot of skills from all players.
“It was a great game of football, highlighting the talent in both teams,” Duncan said.
“The game had many ebbs and flows and there would have been up to 10 lead changes across the match.
“Steve was solid early and just got more comfortable as the game went on.
“He was a pivotal component to us in the third quarter when we started to control the game through the middle of the ground.
“Steve’s strengths include his composure with ball in hand, ability to find targets and skill execution.
Rusca was a SANFL state under 18 player back in 2012, after originally coming from the Northern Territory.
Before playing at Mintaro-Manoora, Rusca had a couple of seasons with the Angaston Panthers in the Barossa, Light and Gawler competition and was a junior at Central District.
Coached by indigenous champion and icon Sonny Morey back in 1978, the Eudunda Football Club won both the A grade and B grade Barossa and Light football premierships.
Many of the players from that era returned to Eudunda Oval on Saturday for a special 40-year reunion.
Morey would become the first aboriginal person to coach at A grade premiership side in Barossa and Light football history and this was the start of a golden era for the Roosters where they won the ‘78 and ‘81 A grade flags and four B grade premierships in a row.
The current Southern Saints players wore commemorative Eudunda Football Club jumpers which were auctions later in the night.
Sonny Morey addressed the Saints A graders before the match.
LOCALs IN SA SCHOOL GIRLS side
Two girls from the greater Mid North district, Cherylee Waters, from the Burra Community School, and Kate Cate, from Orroroo Area School, both played for the South Australian side in the National School girls Football Championships held across suburban Adelaide from Sunday, July 22 to Saturday, July 28.
The young Croweaters finished in third position after losing the semi-final game on Thursday to Victoria and beating Western Australia in the playoff game.
Case played four games while Waters was among the best players against New South Wales in round two on Monday, July 23 and the Northern Territory in round three where she kicked two goals.
SAPSASA STATE SELECTION
Two Mid North boys have made the SAPSASA (under 12) state football team for the national titles in Canberra starting on August 13.
They are William Hawker from St Joseph's School and North Clare Football Club and Charlie Nicholls from Riverton Primary and the Min-Man Eagles.
William is son of Tom and Anna Hawker from Anama, while Charlie is Jake and Annie Nicholls lad, from Ryelands, Tarlee.
Chris Slattery, a school teacher from St Joseph's and the SAPSASA coach, is the State team manager, taking over from Gus Wenzel.