The Mallee Football League (MFL) is an Australian rules football competition in South Australia. The league comprises teams located in south eastern South Australia and one team (Murrayville) located in western Victoria.
The football season usually starts after Easter and ends in early September. The local newspaper The Border Times has extensive coverage of each week's results of the MFL. Coverage is also provided on WIN SA and Flow FM during the season. During the Queens Holiday Weekend, the MFL selects a team to represent the Mallee against the Riverland. It has become a recent tradition and draws a fair crowd every year. The league's Best & Fairest award is called the Mail Medal. Prominent players to play at a higher level include Nathan D. Brown (Melbourne FC, Australian Football League), Trent Sporn (Carlton FC), Martin Mattner (Adelaide FC) and Rodney Maynard (Adelaide FC, AFL). The league is within the West Adelaide Football Club's regional recruiting zone.
From left to right: BDT Crows, Karoonda District FC, Lameroo FC, Murrayville FC, Peake & Districts FC, and Pinnaroo FC.
Located in Tintinara and Coonalpyn, the Crows have been in the MFL since 2001. The BDT FC was formed after the Border Downs and the Tintinara clubs merged. BDT are one of only two teams in the league to not be on the Mallee Highway, with the other being Karoonda.
Prior to their amalgamation in 1993 Border Downs had competed in the River Murray Football League since 1955, while Tintinara had been a member of the Tatiara Football League for the same length of time. Before joining the TFL Tintinara had enjoyed premiership success on three occasions in the Lakes District Football Association. The club later added a solitary TFL flag in 1977. Border Downs’ record was undistinguished as the club’s senior grade team never once made it as far as a grand final. Following the merger the Crows spent seven seasons competing in the RMFL before crossing to the South Australian version of the Mallee Football League. Since joining the MFL the club has been successful across all levels winning more premierships than another other club since the turn of the century.
Football started in Karoonda in the year 1914, two years after the town was settled. The first team was called Karoonda Football Club. In 1977 Borrika Football club (situated 16 km east of Karoonda) merged with Karoonda Football Club to be called Karoonda Borrika Football Club. In 1994 United (situated 12 km south of Karoonda) and Wynarka (situated 15 km west of Karoonda) Football Clubs merged with Karoonda Borrika Football Club to form Karoonda Districts Football Club. On June 10, 2005 Karoonda was hit by a freak tornado which semi demolished the clubrooms. With support from the local council and many community and regional people and businesses the club rebuilt and improved the clubrooms to the excellent standard they are now, after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons in portable rooms behind the western goals.
Based in Lameroo, 200 kilometres east of Adelaide. They currently field A and B Grade, Under 16's, Under 13's and Auskick. Lameroo football club is most famous for being the home to former Adelaide Crows star Rodney 'Rocket' Maynard, who still plays an active part in the club. The most successful code as of late is the Senior Colts, which have won the last three premierships back to back with all of the victories coming against the Peake Lions Senior Colts.
Based in Murrayville in Victoria, the Bulldogs are the only Victorian team in an otherwise South Australian league. The club's colours are red, white and blue.
Prior to 1994 the club competed in various different competitions, with its most notable achievements coming during its stint in the Lameroo and Districts Football League. Between 1979 and 1993 the Bulldogs qualified for the ultimate match of the season on no fewer than nine occasions, emerging victorious against Ngallo in 1980, and Lameroo North the following year as well as three seasons straight between 1984 and 1986. Since joining the MFL in 1994 Murrayville have generally been a mid-table team, however they had a great run of results between 2001–07, winning two of the five Grand Finals they played in.
Sadly in recent years junior numbers have dwindled with some of its under age teams not being able to compete due to low numbers in some years. This has seen a number of former Murrayville juniors move to neighbouring football clubs in Pinnaroo and Underbool.
The Peake & Districts Football club is based in Peake and include the surrounding towns of Geranium, Jabuk, Parrakie and Peake. The Club's colours are red, blue and yellow. The Peake Oval is most famous for being on a gradual downhill slant, which has created many mixed strategies to play effective football. The Sporting Club is known throughout the league as arguably the best social club in terms of functions and events that are put on at the end of a Saturday's homegame play.
Based in Pinnaroo, South Australia, the Pinnaroo Football Club plays its home games at the Pinnaroo Showgrounds. The Club has four teams in the Mallee Football League: "A" Grade, Reserves ("B" Grade), Senior Colts (Under 16's), and the Junior Colts (Under 13's). The colours of the Pinnaroo Supa Roos are red, white and black.
The original Pinnaroo Football Club was established in 1908 and had won a total of half a dozen premierships by the time it split into two separate teams, North Pinnaroo and South Pinnaroo, in 1925. In 1944 these two teams amalgamated and the resultant club, known as Pinnaroo, won premierships both that year and in 1946 before splitting in two again in 1947. This is how things remained until 1974 when North and South joined forces once more, giving birth to today’s Pinnaroo Supa Roos. Between 1974 and 1993 Pinnaroo was affiliated with the Lameroo and Districts Football League.The seniors won a premiership in their very first season, but thereafter the closest they got was runners-up in 1975, 1990 and 1993. Since commencing in the Mallee Football League in 1994 the Supa Roos have had mixed results across all levels, being one of the few teams in the league relying almost entirely on local players rather buying in players from other regions and Adelaide.
The Pinnaroo Football Club shared the Pinnaroo Showgrounds with the Ngallo Demons Football Club in its final years until it went into recess in 2000. Ngallo's presence is still seen with the visitors rooms and interchanges bench in the navy and blue of the Demons. In 2007 the Pinnaroo Showgrounds suffered great damage after a mini-tornado hit the historic show pavilion and grandstand, fortunately after its demolition a smaller pavilion was built in its place at the same time the clubrooms received a significant upgrade.
The Mallee Football League was formed in 1994 when the Lameroo & Districts Football League and the Murraylands Football League amalgamated.
There were 7 clubs involved with Karoonda Districts, Lameroo, Murrayville, Ngallo, Parilla / Geranium, Peake & Districts and Pinnaroo.
Parilla / Geranium went into recess in 1998 and Ngallo followed in 2001. Border Downs Tintinara joined the Mallee League in 2002 and there have been 6 clubs since that time.
The Mallee Football League's season usually starts shortly after Easter. The season usually consists of 15 Rounds of three games, always on Saturdays (each team plays every other team three times) and two breaks during the season for the Queens Birthday weekend and the other for the SA Country Carnival. Recently the MFL introduced one night game a year, usually at Murrayville. The finals series is based on a top four system: The top two play each other and the winner goes through to the Grand Final, the loser plays the winner of the match between the 3rd and 4th placed team. then the winner of that game goes through to the grand final. the winner of the Grand Final is declared the premiers.
AFL PlayersRodney Maynard, Lameroo FC. Played for Norwood and the Adelaide Crows.
Nathan Brown, Pinnaroo FC. Played for West Adelaide and the Melbourne Demons
Trent Sporn, Murrayville FC. Played for North Adelaide and the Carlton Blues.
Martin Mattner, Peake & Districts FC. Played for Sturt, the Adelaide Crows, and the Sydney Swans.
Tom Keough, Pinnaroo FC. Premiership player with West Adelaide, and a rookie with the Gold Coast Suns in 2016.