From June 5-9, 22 young footballers from the three campuses of KICE and coached by Alex Laver, represented Kangaroo Island at the annual Sapsasa football state carnival.
KI were one of 41 districts from around the state who participated in the carnival, which was held at Barratt Reserve, West Beach.
Participating in division four, the KI team got off to a fantastic start, defeating Western Eyre Peninsula 9.10 to 1.1 in a disciplined effort. This gave the team confidence that they were able to beat anyone in their competition if they played their best footy.
They followed this up on Monday afternoon with a 63 point win over the APY Lands, where after a slow start, the team was able to kick the final 10 goals of the game.
The team started Tuesday in the same manner that they finished Monday, recording a 60 point win over Salisbury East.
The team was playing disciplined football, working for each other and sharing the ball around, and were being rewarded for their selfless team play.
Tuesday afternoon saw the team defeat Whyalla 12.6 to 3.1 and sitting undefeated after two days, an uncommon sensation for Kangaroo Island Sapsasa football teams.
Wednesday’s first game was against the traditionally strong Central Eyre Peninsula team, and was a real arm wrestle, with KI’s class proving to be the difference as they ran out 18 point victors.
The next game for the day was against Adelaide North East, who had only lost one game up to this point, the team really set themselves for this contest.
KI dominated the first quarter but couldn’t convert this dominance to the scoreboard, kicking five points for the team.
ANE converted their chances in the second stanza, kicking five goals straight. KI fought back to win the second half, but the damage had been done in the first quarter, KI going down 4.7 to 9.5.
Thursday’s program had KI playing three games against teams in the top half of the ladder.
The first game was against the undefeated Para Districts, who had been defeating their opponents by a minimum of eight goals each game.
KI played their best football of the week thus far, to go into half-time with a 12 point lead.
They ultimately went down by 11 points as Para District’s height and strength all over the field proved to be too much. The 11 point margin was the closest any team got to them all week.
There was no time to dwell on this defeat, as the team had to quickly back up against North Eastern.
This was a tight affair for the first three quarters, before the team’s leaders rose to the occasion and inspired a massive last quarter, with KI running out 25 point victors.
The third match of the day saw KI take on Pirie. This, too, was a tight affair for three quarters, before the team’s class shone through, and they ran out 27 point winners.
The final match of the carnival was against Murray Mallee, who were sporting an identical 7-2 win-loss ratio for the week. The winner would finish in third place in the division, the loser, fourth.
KI were the dominant team for the first three quarters, but they didn’t make the most of their opportunities to put the game out of reach.
When KI kicked the first goal of the final quarter, the fat lady was starting to warm her tonsils up.
However, after a short break for an injured player, momentum swung towards Murray Mallee, and they kicked four goals in five minutes to hit the lead by five points with two minutes remaining.
KI got the ball forward in this time and had their chances to win the game, but ultimately it wasn’t to be.
A win-loss ratio of 7-3 is the best that KI has done at the SAPSASA State Carnival for quite some time, a feat of which the whole of KI should be proud.
As the smallest district in the state, KI do exceedingly well. Over the course of the carnival, 16 different players scored a goal, with Brock O leading the way with 14 and Koby C, Jayden C and Lachie I, eight, and Riley B with six.
The player of the carnival for KI was Koby C. He took big marks, kicked goals, rucked tirelessly and worked hard all over the oval. Other players who were consistently good all week included the players who were captains during the week with Koby – Jayden C, Josiah B, Riley B and Jackson L.
A huge team effort went into making the carnival a success.
Thanks need to be given to the parents, caregivers, family and friends who supported the team during the week, but also at training leading up to the carnival, the brothers of team members who took stats, kept score, timed and acted as runner and the fathers who goal umpired, and Sealink for their continued support of KICE activities.
The photo (top left) shows: Back – Alex Laver (coach), Josiah B, Jayden C, Koby C, Henry H, Brock O. Middle – Dylan G, Rory F, Callum W, Aidan H, Charlie B, Aedan B, Caleb W (runner) Front – Dallas C, Ryan T, Aston V, Blake F, Tyson W, Jackson L, Lachie I, Korelle W, Trae L. Absent – Riley B, Adam K.