Boots and All: Mannum are the walking wounded

Peter Dalwood previews round 11, 2021 in the River Murray Football League.

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

Mannum coach Wayne Knowles faces a tough decision at selection on Thursday night.

Should he have gravy on his chips as his team, Mannum, collapsed like a pricked balloon against Tailem Bend last week?

They had the Eagles on toast at quarter time but they just ran out of players.

Shane Cooke was off in the ambulance early, Jack Woollard was on crutches by half time and Jake Keller and Dylan Ribbons were the walking wounded and couldn’t raise a gallop in the finish.

Knowles will rank with Mother Teresa if he can rustle up a side against Jervois on Saturday.

He is trying to change the culture at Mannum by quaffing down a Crown Lager.

He is the only RMFL coach in history I have ever known to drink this top-of-the-range brew – next it will be 1974 Penfolds Grange Hermitage and crayfish at the president’s lunch.

Mannum got exposed after quarter time, scoring only three goals, and they don’t have the cattle to challenge Jervois at the minute.

Taite Silverlock has got the Bluds ticking over nicely at this stage of the season.

Their poster boy, Adam Diamond, continues to surge to favouritism for the Mail Medal but the whisper around the traps is that Jervois will rest Josh Woodall due to a shoulder injury.

Woodall is one of the toughest players I’ve seen in the last decade.

In real life he rides Brahman bulls for recreation so I can’t see a crook shoulder holding him out.

Peter Zarantonello is smarter than the average forward and let’s hope he can get a bit of continuity before the business end of the season.

Josh Scott is a high-quality forward averaging nearly seven goals a game, and Mannum will need Michael O’Malley at his very best to curb his influence.

The Jervois defence is their Achilles heel but Mannum won’t test it.

Jervois by 61 to 70 points.

Mypolonga v Tailem Bend

Rumour has it Tailem Bend coach Corey Smelt, who is a resident of Mypolonga, will jog with his family – big forward Connor, half forward Riley and wife Karen – from his house to the ground.

It’s an uphill climb but I’m backing Karen to reach the entrance first.

The big fella could be a tad late as he will be trying to climb through the fence.

No matter what Mypolonga throw at them, Tailem Bend will have them covered.

Coach Ben Hansen will play this week and that’s direct from his mum, Denise, but for once in your life, Ben, listen to your mother.

Take this time off, plus the inter-league game next week, and you will be cherry ripe the week after against Imperials in a crunch game.

The Eagles finished off well last week but the coaches would be concerned with their starts.

They couldn’t get hold of the ball in the first quarter last week before Mannum let them off the hook.

A lot of players look good when the game goes your way but it was terrific to see an old war horse in Jarryd Linde, who has given his guts to this club, enjoy the win, one of the few he has had this century.

The Eagles have got the Tigers covered in all areas: Connor Smelt, Jacob Wilson and Jordan Bell up forward, Nick Westoff in the ruck, and they ran Tom Geyer into form last week.

The Tigers are doing the best that they can with what they have but the statistics tell the story.

No one player has kicked more than 10 goals this season, so maybe it’s time to coax the veteran Brad Martin back to fill the spot.

I think they still make jumpers his size but the time is right for coach Matt Lindner to have a quiet word with him.

The Tigers can go with most clubs for a quarter but they just get overwhelmed in the finish.

They have a go each week but Lindner is building a good culture out there.

They have adopted the NDHA policy but you have to kick goals to win in this humble league.

On a fine day, Tailem Bend will carve them up by 81 to 90 points.

Meningie v Imperials

There is huge incentive this week for Meningie.

It was 20 years ago, in 2001, that the Meningie Bears defeated Imperials in the grand final by 27 points to record their first win in a grand final in 103 years.

This week it’s the reunion of this famous victory.

There is a lot at stake for the Bears, as they will be trying hard to redeem their first-round showing against Imperials, a loss by 114 points. 

Meningie have steadily improved as the season has progressed but recent history has shown that clubs that failed to play in the COVID-19-hit 2020 season have struggled in SA country leagues.

You have to give coach Adam Moller credit; they were almost a lost cause at one stage, but to go down to the reigning premier Jervois was an honorable loss.

Darcy Spinks, after a slow start, has hit a bit of form with a couple of nice bags.

Rumour has it up here in the hub of the world that Darcy was on the GWS list at some stage.

I think he walked past the ground once but it’s terrific to see him provide a target for this young team.

Those good old Meningie boys in Sam Sanders, Willy Angas, Peter Reichelt, Tyler Robinson and Brody Vandenbrink are all doing their bit but I’m a bit concerned about the big boy “Choongs” Morris.

He rocked up last week thinking it was the over-45s and ended up with number 53 on his back – I’m not sure if that’s his age or his heart rate.

It’s alleged he was best on ground, but that’s his story.

Remember this: he played in the 2001 grand final and was named one of Meningie’s best.

What an achievement from the big man.

Imperials are coming off the bye but they are a well drilled outfit and they have the finisher, John the Boras, sitting on 61 goals.

John the Boras has been around for a long time, he knows he can sell himself, he will get a pay rise if he can kick 100 goals and he is well on target.

I don’t reckon Imperial coach Scott McMahon would have gained a yard of pace over the break but he wouldn’t have lost his football smarts in marshalling the defence.

His big challenge is with the punters.

There are three key players to come in for Imperials and they are at very short odds for the premiership.

Their young players are getting games and beginning to look very comfortable with each game, so they have too much depth for Meningie.

Imperials by 91 to 100 points.

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