Boots and All: Eagles are at a gallop
Peter Dalwood previews round four, 2021 in the River Murray Football League.
This post was contributed by Peter Dalwood.
The top three are set after round three.
What sets Tailem Bend, Jervois and Imperials apart from the rest is that all have one big forward capable of possibly kicking 100 goals or more this season, but they wouldn’t want any of them to go down injured or suspended as they will then come back to the pack very quickly.
The four other clubs are battling to kick a double-figure score and you ask who is going to kick their goals.
Connor Smelt, Josh Scott and John the Boras are the big dogs in the RMFL and they are diamonds.
Being the best form analyst in the RMFL – and, let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a Cox Plate field – both Mannum and Tailem Bend are coming off last-start wins over Ramblers.
Mannum fell over the line by five points; Tailem Bend flogged the Roosters by 20 goals just before Easter.
He won the 1936 Melbourne Cup at 100/1 and that’s about the odds the Mannum punters can expect this week.
Who will kick the Mannum goals is the big question, when their best and still their smartest forward in Ben Quinn is closer to 40 than 30 and is waiting to gain admittance to the Aminya aged care facility.
Mannum coach Wayne Knowles is a coach under pressure; it’s his third year in charge and his win-loss ratio is well below requirements, especially after last year’s finals series, when they caved in.
A loss on Saturday will have Knowles going home to look at the fine print on his contract.
The toy ground at Tailem Bend is a hard ground to win on – just ask the home team, who have hardly fired a shot over the last 15 years – but the Eagles are on a winning streak of two.
I’m not sure if they have improved or the competition has slipped, however I suspect the latter.
The big forward Connor Smelt has to exert his authority, he is a mark and kick forward; and who exactly is Jordan Bell, who bobbed up with seven goals last start?
The sublime skills of coach Ben Hansen will set them up.
It’s no coincidence the rise of Tailem Bend has coincided with the arrival of Shane Peach.
Peach has inherited his father’s tactical skill, and his ability to move the magnets with amazing dexterity makes bench coach Corey Smelt break into a cold sweat.
Some say God Save the Queen, nothing will save Mannum from a drubbing.
My tip: Tailem Bend by 61 to 70 points.
Mypolonga v Ramblers
This may hinge on two local doctors in town, one a staunch Rambler supporter, the other a stanch Mypolonga supporter.
I have just finished my research, which tells me they are developing a flu vaccine from dog’s kidneys.
If the vaccine has been rolled out when both captains get to toss the coin they may call “woof woof” instead of heads or tails.
Last start Ramblers had no Weyland, no Walker and no Trevorrow and therefore no hope; then they lost Hartman, their key ruckman, early and finished with a 20-goal smacking.
They were in state of shock, none more so than club president Travis Schubert, who was speechless.
Never fear – their champion ruckman of the 70s, Bruce Kuchel, is prepared to unpack the old Blue Star boots with aluminum sprigs if required this week.
Once a champion, always a champion they say.
Is Aaron Pratt Ramblers’ most valuable player?
He has a go, he leaves nothing out there and very rarely gets his colours lowered.
Ramblers have a bit of a pop-gun attack and they are being hunted by clubs seeking redemption from years gone by, but this week they strike Australia’s friendliest club, Mypolonga, who will come into Saturday with a nice little win over Meningie to boost their morale.
Coach Matt Lindner can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel but the tunnel is about 20 miles long at the minute.
A young kid, Kyal McDonald, picked up four goals against Meningie and Lindner will give him every chance to develop.
Ramblers’ performance against Tailem Bend would rank as one of the poorest I’ve seen in my time of 39 years, but I’m putting the rent on them this week to bounce back.
The return of Walker, Trevorrow, Weyland and Hartman – and add Pratt to the mix – should give them centre-square dominance.
It’s disturbing that the world-famous lamb roast after match tea is back and gaining popularity; the smell wafting over the ground at the last change upsets the locals and they lose concentration.
Some people are born Ramblers, some people wish they were Ramblers and there is a group at Mypolonga who are a dollar each way.
My tip: Ramblers by 21 to 30 points.
Jervois v Meningie
This is the season of miracles.
It was more than 2000 years ago a big guy was nailed to the cross and he came back; well, Meningie are hoping for a similar result.
Unfortunately Josh Scott plays the role of Pontius Pilate and Meningie Bears better hope he bulked up on hot cross buns over Easter because he is a gun forward.
He had a poor day against Imperials, only kicking 70 per cent of the Jervois score.
Tony Gibson got stitched up by Louie DeMichele, but he is a big boy and just his sheer size will give him clear supply to Josh Woodall; from there on it’s goodnight, sweetheart.
I hope for the sake of the game “the greatest”, Tim Richards, a life member of both clubs, turns up in a Meningie shirt and jumps in, helps his mate Adam Moller move the magnets and at least gives them a silly chance.
Jervois just ran out of gas before Easter and there is a perceived weakness in their defence, but Meningie are not strong enough to exploit it.
What a stalwart Sam Sanders is; it warms the cockles of your heart to see him run out in the Meningie jumper, just like his dad and grandfather did.
It will be the first time Darcy Spinks has ventured out of Meningie after being delisted by GWS; he might get a rude shock when the flies settle on his steak sandwich.
We all love the Bears, we all love the punters down there and there is no finer place on this Earth to scoff down a mullet sandwich followed by a cleansing ale, but Jervois don’t care about that.
A tip for Meningie coach Adam Moller: google up King Canute and find out how he turned the tide.
My tip: Josh Scott to kick 15 goals plus Jervois by 91 to 100 points, and I’m being a tad conservative.
You can help keep local features like this one free for everyone to read. Subscribe to Murray Bridge News today and support your locally owned news outlet, plus get access to exclusive stories you won’t find anywhere else, for just $5.50 a month.