PREMIERS: The team finishing in first place after the regular season
CHAMPIONS: The team that wins the Grand Final after a Finals Series
* Denotes Senior Competitions
Reserve Grade's 2017 Triumph
After securing the Premieriship in the regular season, Kempsey Saints Reserve Grade went on to become Champions by defeating the Tuncurry-Forster Tigers in the Grand Final at Port Macquarie
This was how the finals series progressed:
Kempsey Saints reserve grade tasted redemption after they thrashed the Forster-Tuncurry Tigers 6-0 in the Premier League decider on Saturday 23rd September, two years after suffering defeat in the club’s first senior grand final.
Saints coach Kevin Sinclair believes experiencing heartbreak in 2015 worked in their favour.
“Everyone was calm and relaxed heading into the game,” Sinclair told the Argus.
“No one in the team had played in a senior grand final prior to the one in 2015 and it proved costly.”
Saturday’s triumph helped mend the scars which were formed after the 2015 defeat.
"The loss two years ago doesn’t hurt as much, that defeat helped us earn the win on Saturday so now we will just look at it as a stepping stone to success.”
Saints controlled the contest for the majority of the match, as a wealth of possession and territory paid dividends in the second half.
The scores were tight at half-time, with a Liam King strike giving Saints a 1-0 lead.
Saints extended their lead six minutes after the break with man of the match Mitch Clarke scoring arguably the goal of the season.
Captain Alex Breckell made a run with the ball through the middle of the field and laid the ball off to Clarke, who gave the goalkeeper no chance, rocketing the ball into the back of the net from 25m out.
The Saints ensured history wouldn’t repeat itself when Clarke converted from the penalty spot after Adam Stutz was brought down inside the box.
“The third goal broke the Tigers’ backs, from then on we controlled the whole game but we definitely weren’t celebrating early,” Sinclair said.
Saints substitute Kurtis Smith was tripped out of frustration from a Tigers player and he was shown his second yellow card and sent from the field.
Smith crossed the resulting freekick and King grabbed a double.
Smith added the fifth goal from a similar dead ball position, curling the ball around the wall and into the top left corner.
The icing was put onto the cake by substitute Griffin Ryan, who knocked the ball into the back of the net after a scramble in the box.
Sinclair admitted he was surprised with the final scoreline and said he had prepared his side for a tight game.
“We were all expecting another nailbiter, similar to the 1-0 match in the grand final qualifier,” Sinclair said.
“But everyone did their job and played the game we had been working towards all year, it was the perfect game at the perfect time.”
Sinclair’s emotions ran wild after the game as he reflected on the work put into the club to make their first senior men’s title possible.
“It was a tremendous effort from club members, players, coaches and the committee over the past eight years,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair acknowledged the youth in the side, who gave the team energy, but mentioned the older players lead the way throughout the season.
"We had a great mix of senior and youth players,” Sinclair said.
“It helped shape a premiership winning team.”
Sinclair expressed the team’s thoughts are with Jesse Kerfoot, who was forced from the field in the second half after consecutive head knocks, and was dazed and confused.
Fortunately, Sinclair said Kerfoot’s memory is improving.
The Saints are hopeful of earning back-to-back reserve grade premierships.
- Article courtesy of The Macleay Argus
Nambucca Challenge Cup 2014
The first peice of silverware for the Kempsey Saints Football Club's seniors came in the form of the Nambucca Challenge Cup in March 2014
JASON Fisher’s reign as Kempsey Saints’ first grade coach has got off to a flying start, with his squad bringing home the Nambucca Challenge Cup last weekend. It is the first time a Kempsey side has won the pre-season tournament since 1993.
Fisher himself had a hand in winning that as a player with the Macleay Valley Rangers.
He explained how the feeling of winning it as a player compared with doing so as a coach.
“As a player, I was pretty ecstatic, as I had the opportunity to play with some outstanding footballers at that time,” Fisher said.
“To win the competition as a coach, I was overwhelmingly proud of these boys, as they have put so much time into this club and have been through the ups and downs over the past five years of the Premier League.
“To see them finally believe in themselves was pretty special and rewarding.”
Saints won the final against Sydneysiders West Pymble, who have dominated the tournament in recent years.
A 0-0 full-time score set up a penalty shoot-out, which the Kempsey men won 4-2.
Goalkeeper Jacob Lyttle was the hero of the spot-kick decider.
Reserve grade coach Kevin Sinclair said the outcome was never in doubt once the referee blew for full-time.
“You’d always put your money on Jacob in that situation,” he said.
“We were confident of getting the win and we never felt we didn’t deserve the win.
“West Pymble couldn’t have come away thinking they had been hard done by.”
Fisher said his side had got better with every game.
The shortened match format – 20 minute-halves – had made for quick action and there were encouraging signs for the season proper, he said.
“Last year, I don’t think we won a game and were under-strength,” Fisher said.
“This year, we went up for match fitness and were pretty much at full strength.
“The team effort was great and the boys are starting to play for each other.”
Saturday’s action entailed a round-robin phase, with Saints beating Fairfield Hotspurs and Coffs Tigers (both 3-0), drawing 0-0 with familiar opponents Port United and earning a forfeit. Saints finished on top of their pool.
The knockout phase on Sunday saw the Saints win their first penalty shoot-out against Nambucca Old Boys, after a scoreless 40 minutes in the quarter-final.
Logan Mitchell scored the only goal in the semi-final against one of the host sides, Nambucca Blue.
Dylan Whalen, Jarrod Witheridge and Toby O’Brien each scored a brace in the round-robin matches.
Fisher was particularly pleased too with the defence, which did not concede a solitary goal in Saints’ six matches.
The coach said it was nearly impossible to single out individuals as key players over the weekend, as everyone had contributed well.
He did admit Blake Webster’s move to defensive midfield alongside Sam Mahony for Sunday’s matches had seen both players flourish.
“The players have been keen to work on their fitness,” Sinclair said.
“Last weekend showed they’re not far off the pace.”
Prior to their Premier League opening fixture at home to Wallis Lakes, on April 12, Saints will play trial matches against Wauchope and Port United.
- Article courtesy of The Macleay Argus