Boots and All: No excuses football

Peter Dalwood previews round 17, 2021 in the River Murray Football League.

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

Some clubs benefited more from the big hiatus than others.

Mannum and Imperials would be two of those clubs, as both have struggled to get their best on the park and the time out came at an appropriate time for them.

Mannum got the job done against Mypolonga last start but that’s all you have to do in July: get the points and go home.

With that win, they sealed the double chance.

Mannum desperately need Dylan Ribbons up and about; he gave them a target with a five-goal return against the Tigers, and the Ribbons/Isaac Hampel combination bagging nine goals against an average opposition. 

There are no excuses for injured players now, as we approach the major round, but the world is concerned about Jake Keller.

The Pope, in his weekly sermon from the Vatican, would have asked about the health and welfare of Mannum’s Keller and given George Pell a week off; and Mannum coach Wayne Knowles would have doubled down, as his future depends on Keller’s availability.

Knowles has had Scott McMahon’s measure, but the break would have done Imperials a lot of good, as they are starting to round up the troops and get their gun players returning, though they will be a bit rusty.

Both times they have met, Imperials have had genuine excuses.

Not this time.

Those punters that follow Imperials want to see excuse-free football.

The Blues had their pants pulled down against Ramblers, their lack of pace was exposed and they were spanked in the ruck.

They couldn’t get hold of the football and in the blink of an eye the game was gone and they left headquarters with their tail between their legs

Imperials’ last win was on June 5 against Meningie; since then they’ve had losses to Tailem Bend, Mannum, Jervois and Ramblers, byes and stoppages over a period of 63 days.

This would just about be the longest drought in the club’s recent history.

Could McMahon be coaching for his future?

Knowles dreams about coaching against McMahon, but come Saturday night it will be a nightmare.

The Knowles/Ben Quinn combination up against the McMahon/“Bluey” Roberts/Tony McNicol/Gareth Williams combination is a classic case of to many cooks spoiling the broth.

Whoever gains control of the centre square will go a long way towards winning this game, with John the Boras being the big forward to make the difference.

It’s time to put Mannum back in the box.

That’s why the rent’s going on Imperials.

Imperials by 11 to 20 points.

Jervois v Ramblers

One swallow doesn’t make a summer and if I was a Rambler supporter I wouldn’t get carried away with that win over Imperials.

That was the best that Ramblers have played over the last two seasons and it must have coach Alex Button asking where this came from.

Was it the 90th reunion, or did it come from within?

My guess is they didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of past champions in Mick and Patrick O’Neil, Bruce Kuchel and Ron Liebelt; and they played sparkling football in the opening quarter and reminded those past players of how they used to be.

The review committee has been sent to the back bench temporarily but they will be back this week.

Jervois haven’t played a game in five weeks and they will be rusty.

They can match Matt Hartman in the ruck with Tony Gibson, and have all their power in the midfield and going forward with the gun forward Josh Scott, who has crushed them in previous encounters.

Scott is partial to a piece of Kentucky Fried Rooster and lists it as one of his favourite gourmet delights.

Jervois coach Taite Silverlock is in the box seat at the moment and just needs to get game time into them.

You have to hand it to the Reds; they have that ability to drag out a performance that can turn a game and that’s what makes them dangerous, especially in finals.

What an effort from that grand old warrior Jarred Weyland in playing his 300th game against Imperials.

I ask: where are they going to get their goals from?

Shannon Callery shows promise but he is lightly built and he doesn’t have the physicality to impose himself on the game as Scott does.

The Jervois defence is suspect but at home Jervois have the game-changers to put the Roosters to away by 41 to 50 points.

Mypolonga v Meningie

In nine weeks, 63 days, the Mypolonga Tigers have played twice.

We live in interesting times is all I can say.

With no form to go on and with three Saturdays to go, coaches Matt Lindner and Adam Moller would be counting down the days.

Why would you go on holiday in September when you’ve already had them?

Both clubs should be fresh and both would be keen to finish off with a win, with the loser taking home the wooden spoon.

On paper there is not a lot between the teams, with Meningie having a more generous defence.

Kobe Wilson gives the Tigers a bit of mobility around the ground while Connor Oxton is a big boy with potential who is leaning a few valuable lessons along the way.

Sam Elliott always seems to find a goal and for a bloke his size he is as courageous as they come but he needs some help and maybe on Saturday it could be Brady Wrigley.

The Meningie Bears have done a remarkable job to get back up and going again.

They came off a low base and Moller didn’t expect an easy ride but Saturday is their grand final.

They are in with a silly chance with their only win for the season being against the Mypolonga Tigers.

Two goals against Tailem Bend at their last outing didn’t exactly inspire confidence, but while there is life there is hope. 

I written the script for Adam Moller and it goes like this.

“Boys, how about we give one for the club today.”

“Remember, our club is 123 years old; we have had some great players in our rich history, and today represents your last chance this season to jag a win against a club which doesn’t really want to play us.

“Mypolonga are concentrating on their lower grades to jag finals wins.

“It’s time for you – Brody Vandenbrink, Jimmy Lawson, Hughie Greenwood, Peter Reichelt, and big ‘Choongs’ Morris – to strike a blow for the Bears.

“Sam Sanders, your history goes back nearly to the formation of this great institution and if we don’t win today I may well be in an institution myself next week.

“Let’s have a crack, call in at the new Bridgeport on the way home to have a celebration drink and go home with smiles on our faces.”

Sorry, it was then that I woke up … Mypolonga by 21 to 30 points.

You can help keep local stories like this one free for everyone to read. Subscribe to Murray Bridge News today and support your independent, locally owned news service, plus get access to exclusive stories you won’t find anywhere else, for just $5.50 a month.