Boots and All: Jervois start back-to-back favourites

Peter Dalwood previews the 2021 River Murray Football League grand final.

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

The premiership cup has been gift wrapped in red and black and it only requires Imperials to tie the bow.

Jervois will wheel out their greatest living coach, Tim Richards, their four-time winner who has always preached the mantra of “if you want to win a grand final, you play Imperials”.

His record stacks up as history shows that this has stretched over 50 years. 

Imperials have done a terrific job coming from an elimination final, where every game is cutthroat.

There are a lot of similarities with the Western Bulldogs coming from the same position.

The Western Bulldogs have Marcus Bontempelli, known as “the Bont”.

Imperials have the equivalent with “the Mont”, Harley Montgomery.

The Mont has had a slow build, peaking at the right time, and looms as a serious player come Saturday.

They had an even contribution across the board last week; they never gave up and kept chipping away and in the finish ran over the top of Tailem Bend, who spent most of Sunday pondering of how they lost that preliminary final.

Both clubs have gun forwards.

In the blue corner is John the Boras, perched on 123 goals, and in the red corner Josh Scott, sitting on 98 goals.

Both are match-winners, with Boras a clever ball-winner who is quick on his feet and kicks some impossible goals; Scott is the hunter, strong in the air, who can crash the packs and possesses a monster kick.

Each club has their role players, with Imperials’ Keelan White getting the job done last week and Seth Catford the unsung hero of the second semi final two weeks ago.

These two players would not be first pick but they are disciplined, they negate their opponents and would walk off satisfied with their efforts to get their clubs into the grand final.

Jervois suffered their only defeat all season at the hands of Imperials, but football in the RMFL is won by teams that have all their power in the midfield and going forward.

Jervois fits that DNA with big Tony Gibson in ruck, Adam Diamond, Josh Woodall, “Sugar Ray” Love, Peter Zarantonello and Scott all game-breakers; but they won’t want to take Imperials lightly.

Lui DeMichele won’t let the Blues down and add the RMFL equivalent of the late Steve Irwin, the only man I know who ate a dead sparrow and still survived, Luke Harrowfield, and they are in this game up to their ears.

The Mont, Sean Samblich, the double-pronged attack of Sam DeMichele and John the Boras; add a couple of tough veterans in Daniel Girdham and James Clarke and they will make a great sight.

Mystery surrounds Imperial coach Scott McMahon, who didn’t front last week, but my guess is he will play and he will look forward to engaging the Jervois punters in robust discussion at some stage of the day.

His counterpart in Jervois, Taite Silverlock, has an arm injury but a rub down with a 100-pound note has done the trick out at Jervois for many a year.

The rumour down Bridge Street is that he will have a jab and he won’t be able to tackle, with limited use of his left arm.

Will Jervois take the risk and play him, and will he have a significant impact, or are they better off with him in the off-field coaching role?

Jervois’ perceived weak link, their defence, has held up thus far.

They have a bit of grit and determination in them – it’s a blue-collar defence, they work over their opponents and they make every tackle count.

The result may well come down to John the Boras versus Josh Scott.

While Imperials have done well to get there, I reckon the top-end talent at Jervois will get them home.

Jervois by 11 to 20 points.

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