Murray Football League
The first of the local football leagues to resume this year, Moama was honored to kick off with a free-standing Twilight game on March 27 against Deniliquin.
Made possible by a reshuffle of the eighth round game, Moama blessed its new state-of-the-art facilities with a healthy crowd.
But the Magpies couldn’t maintain their strong start to the Rams, ultimately losing by 34 points as Deniliquin’s Ash Morris scored five goals.
A week later, he was back at Moama Recreation Reserve for a Good Friday clash and the first Three Jacks Cup staging since 2019 between cross-border foes Moama and Echuca United.
Led by a 52-point victory over their seniors, it was a clean sweep across all classes for Moama as he collected the cup.
Fifty-seven kilometers away, Tongala started their season on a high note, beating their 2019 Grand Final nemesis Nathalia by a whopping 65 points on the Purples’ field.
A remarkable seven-goal performance from Northern Territory import Darren Ewing was the highlight.
But Ewing didn’t settle for his first-round sack, coming back in the second round with an even better offer – 11 goals in his team’s 111-point concealment against Barooga.
In what was Tongala’s first home game of the season, the day was lined with a tribute to Jayden Vick who died in 2020, as well as the chance to fly the club’s 2019 reserve flag.
The Blues’ perfect start to the season continued in the third round against Cobram, but at Echuca South Recreation Reserve things didn’t look so good.
The Eagles suffered their third straight loss by Deniliquin, the Eagles’ worst 75-point margin to date.
Moama also had an average start to the season, although that was rectified in the fourth round with Luke Eldridge having a day in his 200th game.
The playful coach finished with six goals to help his team secure an 84-point victory over Finley.
Even without his Top End talent, Tongala continued to show he is a real candidate for Prime Minister by giving United another heavy blow, led by five-goal efforts from Makenzie Ryan and Jack Hammond.
United and Moama both suffered heavy losses in the fifth round, to Numurkah and Cobram respectively, while Tongala escaped a close appeal with a five-point victory over the Rams.
Ewing was back in action in the sixth round, scoring six goals in another victory for Tonny, as United’s season continued to go from bad to worse, his 104-point loss to Barooga compounded by several injuries, including a broken hand. for Kyle Armstrong.
The bad news continued to come in, with the news that Hamish Cohen was retiring with multiple concussions resulting in another difficult loss to Rumbalara.
Elsewhere, Tongala continued to hold onto the top of the table with a massive 83-point victory over Moama, with coach Jordan Souter leading the charge with six goals.
The contest also saw the two clubs relaunch the Jones Cup, named after brothers Tony and John Jones.
With the season on the ice for three weeks, another A three-Jacks Cup clash between Moama and Echuca United kicked off the season, with all games of the round being held in NSW.
Moama made the sweep again, with Tongala and Rumbalara then facing Moama the next day with the Blues scoring 10 goals.
A 116-point loss to Congupna a week later was the catalyst for the separation of United and their head coach Adam Sutherland, with Francis Lias stepping in as interim coach.
This breaker was the new start needed to see the Eagles claim their first win of the season the following week, although success was brief as the Eagles were subject to large losses for the remainder of the season.
In Moama however, the hunt for the finals was alive and well as the league announced a top-eight game instead of the top six to account for the interrupted season.
A The 28-point win over Numurkah kept the Magpies’ hopes alive, while Tongala teenagers Mackenzie Cowley (six goals) and Harley Reid led the standings with a 55-point victory over Barooga.
Further postponements took place, with the clubs only being able to play one more home and away leg before the season passed under continued lockdowns.
With the cancellation of the final series, Tongala lost the chance to end his 37-year drought as prime minister, with the club being named minor prime minister instead.