Boots and All: Confusion reigns at Imperials

Did Imperials lose to Tailem Bend based on the result of a coin toss? Peter Dalwood investigates.

This post was contributed by Peter Dalwood.

They are all over the shop at Imperials.

Last Saturday at the tribute game for the Leahy-Kneebone Cup, both Imperials and Tailem Bend lined up for a minute’s silence prior to the start.

Both teams released green and purple balloons at the end of the ceremony and they whooshed off into the atmosphere in a 30-knot breeze, with the balloons last seen disappearing over the top floor of the Bridgeport Hotel.

Observing this was Scott McMahon, one of the best-credentialed coaches in SA county football, the three bench coaches – or three blind mice – and the respected captain, James Clarke.

They went to the toss and Clarke chose to kick into a 30-knot breeze and, surprise surprise, it was seven goals to zip at quarter time.

It was game over, with the winning margin being six goals.

Who is calling the shots at Imperials?

This is grade four stuff.

Noel Kneebone had a quiet chortle with the toss but it had developed into loud guffaw by quarter time.

This week they head to Mannum with the same crew expecting a different result but it’s time to get the cattle prod out.

Luckily the Tokyo Olympics are less then 100 days away as Scott McMahon is red hot favourite for the 100-metre title of the world’s slowest man.

He struggles to make the contest these days and he has lost his zip.

I’m tipping John the Boras and Sam DeMichele will have a field day at Mannum this week.

Mannum stumbled over the line against Meningie and got the chocolates, but not in a convincing fashion.

It’s time for Tommy Lee Russo to put on his big boy pants and take this game by the scruff of the neck.

He and the other big boy, Blake Webster, should crush the undersized Imperial ruckman who are filling in, waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

Any failure by the Mannum big boys will impact on coach Wayne Knowles, and may cause a spill as the president of Mannum may call him in and suggest his next visit be to the taxidermist.

His record doesn’t stack up – I continually ask myself who will kick Mannum goals.

Jack Woollard fired up last week but it’s the same old story: too much is left to too few.

No O’Malley, no Mannum – Imperials by 51 to 60 points.

Jervois v Mypolonga

At 28 degrees on a balmy Saturday afternoon, Jervois’ toughest job is warding off the flies.

Jervois are just getting the job done at this stage; they know they have the grunt to tip over the Tigers, who are a mere shadow of previous years.

Jervois can play poorly and still win by 10 goals plus.

For the second week in row Adam Diamond, Zac Makins, Josh Woodall, Josh Scott and Michael Pope featured as their best five and it must concern the Jervois management that the locals barely bother the stats man.

High-quality players will only carry you so far, and as winter approaches and injuries mount they need the local talent to stand up.

I can tell you this: if you’re out of form and lacking confidence, you can guarantee Mypolonga’s players will rekindle it all for you.

The Tigers have barely troubled the scoreboard this season.

They are going through a stage of development where no-one is getting paid, their social club is ticking along nicely and their kitchen is rated five stars by Michelin for its famous lamb roast, plus they are more than happy with the direction coach Matt Lindner is heading with this group of young players.

The problem is this game is win-loss driven, people become impatient after a while and if you don’t get results on the board, heads invariably roll – that’s the nature of the business.

Again, you must ask the question: who will kick the goals for Mypolonga?

They are small in stature and even though they don’t lack effort they get pushed off the football pretty easily, so don’t ask me how they will cope against the bigger-bodied Jervois team.

It’s hard to believe that Casey Robins is still going around.

He is the only bloke I know on an aged pension, getting half price admission and still holding his own in defence.

It’s time for Ryan McKaye, “Buckets” Burkett, Luke Kluske and Mitchell Noye to wind up and go hard or go home.

My tip: Jervois by 81 to 90 points.

Ramblers v Meningie

Life deals some unfair cards at times.

Meningie’s best players in Jacob Trevorrow, Matt Hartman and Clint Walker are playing for Ramblers, but the Bears are coming off their best effort for the season and go in with a whiff of confidence as Ramblers are no world beaters.

Meningie were very competitive last week; they have stabilised and are improving but it’s still a long road back.

We are all aware that they lack player depth, but they still have few tough nuts in the team with Brody Vandenbrink, whose dad is as hard as a cat’s head; Jimmy Lawson, who loves a bit of a wrestle every Saturday; and Peter Riechelt, who has been around for a decade or more.

Meningie lack the finishing qualities of the better sides but it’s all about effort and morale at the club is pretty high considering their position on the ladder.

Ramblers are only spluttering along.

Ramblers coach Alex Button is one of the Roosters’ favourite sons and has been promised the job for life, so he is a popular bloke at the club.

I’d be very nervous if I was him, as he has the full support of the committee – a sure sign that something is bubbling below the surface.

Ramblers have a sprinkling of young players in Riley Vanson, Keynan Harradine, Jesse Paech and Cameron Schubert; a couple of very handy smalls in Aaron Pratt and Connor Baker; and a kid named after a champion racehorse, Shannon Callery.

Shannon was a champion racehorse around 1920, so let’s hope the kid can live up to his name.

Talking about champions, 1974 Mail Medallist Ron Liebelt was spotted jogging along the new linear park.

If they can coax him back, expect the Reds’ odds to plummet.

Ramblers are a bit more cohesive than Meningie but expect the Bears to put in an improved effort after last week.

It’s a big job, but I’d expect the Roosters to get a boost in confidence ahead of next week’s big reunion game.

My tip: Ramblers by 71 to 80 points.


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