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Mitch wins first flag

Tuesday, 25th September, 2018

Former Broken Hill footballer Mitch Clisby with the SANFL Premiership Cup on Sunday. PICTURE: Peter Argent Former Broken Hill footballer Mitch Clisby with the SANFL Premiership Cup on Sunday. PICTURE: Peter Argent

By Peter Argent

At his third attempt after grand final losses in a Broken Hill Football League Under 18 season decider, where he broke his wrist and an A Grade level when the Robins lost to North in 2007, Mitch Clisby has finally enjoyed the euphoria of football premiership success. 

On Sunday at Adelaide Oval, he was a part of North Adelaide ‘s initial premiership this century and the club’s first success since 1991. 

This journey to the premiership for the Roosters was dramatic and included many twists and turns. In 2017, the North Adelaide Football Club league team finished at the foot of the ladder, winning just a small handful of games. 

They finished fifth of the end of the minor round and would become just the third team in the 50 years since the “final-five” system started to win a SANFL premiership from the elimination final. 

The club also endured preliminary final “19th man-gate”, but found a way to regroup and go on to SANFL state-league’s greatest prize, lifting the Thomas Seymour Hill Cup, after a 19-point victory.

“Initially, when the final siren sounded it was a bit of disbelief and speaking now it still hasn’t really sunk in as to what really just happened,” Clisby told the Barrier Daily Truth post game. 

“There is a touch of irony that we won the grand final by 19 points. 

“I’d only felt we’d won the game when we got 18 points up deep the last quarter and that final point by Aidan Tropiano endured it was a too big a gap to close. 

“We always knew Norwood would keep coming. 

 “I felt across the finals our ability to spread the workload between the group was outstanding and being a member of the back six, which was rock solid all final series, was pretty special. 

 “I had a lot of support from many areas. 

“This started with my family - my mum and dad, Sandra and Gus, my partner, Sarah and my brothers David and Luke and their families, were all supportive, along with the West Broken Hill Football Club. 

“It is a very special day in my football life.” 

Kicking accurately especially early, North Adelaide led the 2018 SANFL Grand Final at each of the breaks. The Roosters started well and had engineered a five-point advantage at quarter time, despite having half the scoring shots of Norwood. 

North were just three points ahead at half-time and also less than a goal in front at three quarter time interval. 

Kicking five goals to two in the last term they will be etched in as SANFL premiers after winning the flag, 19.10 (124) to 15.15 (105).

Clisby was ever reliable across half back, being cool and composed all game. He finished with 12 disposals (eight kicks and four handballs), took four marks and laid three tackles. 

Now 28, and a former captain at the Roosters, Clisby, at 182cm and 77kg was playing his 112 SANFL league game on Grad Final day. 

He joins the likes of Chris Duthy (Glenelg - 1985 and ‘86), Peter Meuret (West Adelaide - 1983), Colin Casey (1974 & ‘76), and Steve Hywood (Glenelg - 1973) as noted SANFL premiership alumni from the Silver City in the past 50 years.

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