How Eastern Eyre began

As Eastern Eyre netball and football celebrates 30 years of great sport, it is important to look back at where our league/association started and what has changed since 1989.

In 1988, there were two football leagues and netball associations, County Jervois, which consisted of six teams: Cowell, Cleve, Rudall, Arno Bay, Port Neill and Darke Peak, and Kimba, which consisted of four: Kimba, Kelly, Buckleboo and Waddikee.

However, the Kimba Football Association was structured slightly different, as they only had A grade sides and struggled to fill their junior sides.

Eastern Eyre Football League life member Bert Woolford said in the last years all games were played in Kimba on Saturdays.

"All the juniors would show up on Saturday morning and would split into two even teams and play each other," Mr Woolford said.

"Then we would have one of the A grade matches played at B grade time, followed by the next last A grade match."

Waddikee had made the decision to merge with Darke Peak, to become Darke Peak-Waddikee and would play in the County Jervois league.

The departure left the Kimba league with only three teams, so a 'rushed' decision was made for the remaining Kimba teams to combine and become the Kimba Districts Football and Netball Club and then joined the County Jervois league.

The league changed its name to Eastern Eyre Football League and so followed the Eastern Eyre Netball Association.

The league started with six teams, Cleve, Cowell, Darke Peak-Waddikee, Kimba Districts, Ports (who merged in 1989) and Rudall.

The Eastern Eyre Football League, had a great foundation year, remaining undefeated during the 1989 Mortlock Shield against Woomera and Districts and Lincoln Districts.

Kimba Districts started out strong, winning the 1989 and 1990 A grade premierships, before going onto win a total of 12 A grade premierships in the past 30 years.

Darke Peak-Waddikee folded after seven years and one A grade premiership, leaving the Eastern Eyre with only five teams until 2012, when Cleve and Rudall merged to become Eastern Ranges.

The Eastern Eyre Football League has produced some notable AFL players, including Kimba Districts' Shane and Darryl Wakelin and Corey Enright, Ports' Shaun Rehn and Levi Greenwood and Rudall's Brett Chalmers, Darren Smith and Sam Gray.

Darren Smith was inducted into the SANFL Hall of Fame in 2018 while Andrew 'Spud' Jenner was presented with an SANFL Merit Award at the 2018 Community Football Awards.