by Mark Bell

The last four games of football for the Coober Pedy Saints has seen a turn around in fortunes. After winning four of the first five games and sitting on the top of the ladder, the Saints have experienced a spate of injuries, a drop in form and have consequently lost the last four games.

With the loss of major scoreboard contributors Bradley Amos and Zaaheer McKenzie through injury, the Saints struggled to match it against Andamooka in the first night match held in Woomera for a couple of seasons on the 29th May. Kicking only three goals for the match, the Saints were always behind the resurgent Roos eventually losing by 61 points. Bernard Lennon and Aaron Shakes as always, led from the front for Coober Pedy with Trevor Hannes kicking 2 goals.

The next round saw the Saints travel to Roxby Downs to take on the Roxby Miners. With Amos returning from injury and once again positioned at full forward, they thought they were in with a good chance of snatching victory. Unfortunately Roxby proved to be too strong running out comfortable 74 point winners. Captain Ben Buller, himself carrying an injury, kicked two goals with Douglas Finn from Oodnadatta and Ian Brown from Port Augusta amongst the best players for the Saints.

The scheduled game against Olympic Dam was one to forget for the Saints. A loss of a large number of personnel to injury, work and other commitments left the Saints with the only option of forfeiting the game. This was extremely unfortunate and upsetting for a number of the players.

A couple of weeks off then followed giving a number of players a chance to get over the injuries and return to the side in time for the last match the Saints played against Hornridge in Woomera. With it being the inspirational Shakes last game for the year, the Saints were determined to send him out with a win. For the first three quarters, the game was close and hard fought. With the returning Zaaheer in full flight at full forward (5 goals), the Saints were kept in the contest with the margin a manageable 19 points at three quarter time.

Coach Carmelo Crisa revved up the players at the last break reminding them that they had come from 30 points down earlier in the season against Andamooka and won and that they could do it again. However, Hornridge won the first clearance out of the centre square and promptly kicked the opening goal of the quarter and the Saints heads dropped. From then on the Magpies overran the Saints and ended up winning by 50 points. This match should be noted as the first games for both Glenn Miller and Simon McLeod. Well done to those two boys in coming out and giving it a go. Keep it up.

The rest of the season needs a big turnaround from the Saints and it starts this weekend (10th July) at home against Andamooka. It is a day game this time starting at 1pm and the Saints urges the community to come out and support them in turning around the season and recapturing that winning feeling. I hope to see you there.

The last home match will be against Olympic Dam on the 24th July starting at 6pm.