Boots and All: Dress rehearsal at Jervois

Peter Dalwood previews the River Murray Football League's round 19, 2021.

This post was contributed by Peter Dalwood, and is the author’s personal opinion.

Jervois and Mannum will play each other in the last minor-round game this Saturday, and again in a final next week. Photo: Doug Stilgoe/Jervois Football Club/Facebook.

A COVID-affected season will come to a close with the last minor-round games on Saturday.

Positions on the ladder are highly unlikely to change and it’s purely coincidence that Jervois will play Mannum again in next week’s qualifying final at Mannum.

Saturday is a only a dress rehearsal.

Taite Silverlock and Wayne Knowles are not going to show all their cards, but the fact that Mannum haven’t been kicked off the park each time they have met gives Knowles some hope.

He is just about certain to leave his key attacking players, Dylan Ribbons and Jake Keller, in cotton wool and bring them on for next week, remembering both of those players are injury prone and miss more than they play.

Silverlock is in exactly the same position but a Tailem Bend slip-up could let them snatch the Arn Vasey Shield as minor premiers.

Silverlock is a lucky kind of guy.

He won a premiership in his first season as coach, he was a Mail Medallist and if he brought a ticket in the meat tray he would win that.

Plus it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Josh Scott has a day out and jags the 14 goals necessary to get to his hundred, but he won’t get them on Mick O’Malley.

Jervois last got on a premiership roll between 2004 and 2007 - they tend to string them together - and I can’t see Mannum stopping their momentum.

They are getting games into the bull rider from Dartmoo, Josh Woodall.

Peter Zarantonello is one who misses more than he plays but they would want him up and about as he gives the Bluds another option up forward.

Both clubs would be happy to walk away without any collateral damage and prepare for next week.

Twice they have met, twice the margin has been 17 points in Jervois’ favour.

Third time lucky - Jervois by 17 points.

Tailem Bend v Ramblers

To quote Shakespeare, “now is the winter of our discontent”.

It applies to Ramblers.

It expresses the idea that they have reached the depth of unhappiness and there are better times ahead.

I should be teaching English as I don’t reckon many at Ramblers would have read Shakespeare.

They would think that he is the new gun forward coming in season 2022.

It’s okay to belt up Meningie last week, this was mate versus mate, but the rumour up Bridge Street is that many are fleeing the coop back home to the Bears next year.

Have we underestimated Tailem Bend?

One win in 2020, coming off a dismal decade where they barely fired a shot, and with one round to go they only have to beat Ramblers to retain the double chance.

They really only have two stars in the team in coach Ben Hansen and the big man Nick Westoff.

Westoff is looming as the main danger to Jervois’ Adam Diamond for the Mail Medal.

Westoff has had an outstanding season and his value comes as that extra midfielder when the ball hits the deck.

The Eagles are a pretty even lot all over the ground; they all do their jobs on game day and they are well drilled.

Still, coming from one win last year to head the ladder with one round to go is a marvelous achievement.

Half the team goes under the radar, blokes we have never heard of, but they have four players who can finish off so it gives some variety to their attack - one soldier down, anther replaces him.

Connor Smelt, Jordan Bell, Westoff and Ben Rossi have kicked 135 goals between them; no other club can come close to this.

Last week the Eagles put the cue in the rack at half time.

They crushed Imperials in the first half and it will be a privilege for Ramblers to play them this Saturday.

They just need to get the job done with a minimum of fuss and freshen up for the big games ahead.

Tailem Bend by 31 to 40 points.

Mypolonga v Imperials

Imperials got smashed in the first half against Tailem Bend last week.

They looked old, they looked slow and some of their young players who have been given every opportunity just failed to show up.

They were carved up in the ruck and I reckon they are lucky to be playing the friendliest team in the Southern Hemisphere Saturday.

The Mypolonga Tigers are very excited because it’s their last game for 2021.

The seniors go into mothballs but at least their reserves and juniors are still involved.

John the Boras doesn’t look quite right but needs only nine goals to reach his hundred and there is a fair chance that the Blues will give him silver service to get him over the line.

The demographics at Imperials suggest that they are Dad’s Army, with at least four players 35 or over.

The worry is that they are still their best players.

They apply the theory that many a good tune is played on an old fiddle.

Their young players have plateaued and have little or no impact on the game when they come on.

The Tigers will be happy just to get through the season.

They have been kicked off the park on a number of occasions as they don’t have the firepower to kick a score.

Coach Matt Lindner is a glutton for punishment but he will retain his job for next season.

So he should, but people are not exactly lining up for his job.

He is hoping they can be competitive, but in a season where there hasn’t been much joy his next job will be to cook the chops on grand final day at Mypolonga.

Imperials by 71 to 80 points.

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