Boots and All: No O'Malley, no Mannum

Peter Dalwood previews round 10, 2021 in the River Murray Football League.

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

One club has a busload of injuries, one club has had a freshen-up.

Which one will benefit?

The last time they met Tailem Bend crushed Mannum by 71 points and made them look very second-hand.

A lot of water has trickled downstream since then, and the Eagles go in a bit vulnerable with coach Ben Hansen out and doubts over a number of others.

It will be a very nervous Corey Smelt who heads to Mannum with a few down on form and the team doing enough to win.

He knows that Tailem Bend have to grind away and beat teams they are expected to beat to retain top spot, but he regains the heir to the family conglomerate, Connor Smelt, from injury.

Connor once mentioned in his grade seven diary that his favourite team to play against was Mannum because he was always guaranteed at least six goals.

Tom Geyer, this is your moment.

It’s time to stop gazing at the distant pastures of that pedestrian league, the KNTFL.

You have acclimatised and now it’s time to deliver.

When you get to Mannum, take a look at the ground size – it’s bigger than most of Sidney Kidman’s top paddock.

If you have got any pace, this is the place to use it.

Nathan and McKenzie Hansen, part of the Hansen Empire which stretches from Tailem Bend to Coomandook, are in pretty good nick but I reckon Tailem Bend have a few more weapons in their arsenal: Jordan Bell, Nick Westoff, Tommy Starkey and I like the skill shown by a young guy in Jacob Wilson who has modelled his game on that clever goal-kicker from Mannum in Ben Quinn.

Jacob, I will introduce you to Ben on Saturday but we will need to get him early as he is in demand on the speaking circuit.

Mannum have won their last four games and coach Wayne Knowles has them flying, but Mannum after a bye can take a week or two to get going again.

Dylan Ribbons has hit a purple patch and is dangerous drifting forward, Josh Keller is a high-class player and if their young players – Daniel Laubsh, Mitch Heward, Jack Woollard and Isaac Hampel – get a run on they will be hard to stop.

If FIFO Michael O’Malley plays I’m putting the rent on Mannum as Tailem Bend are cherry ripe to get knocked over, but no O’Malley, no Mannum.

Tailem Bend by 21 to 30 points.

Meningie v Jervois

The green shoots appeared two weeks ago and they grew an extra foot last week but they run into the form side in Jervois.

The Bears were so jubilant after last week’s victory that they wanted to melt down the bronze statue in the main street of Mick O’Hara and replace it with rookie coach Adam Moller, but Mick said “enough is enough, burn the rest but leave mine as it stands”.

They would have erected one of Darcy Spinks, the village butcher, but they ran out of bronze as he kicked five goals, 42 per cent of their score, and didn’t even make the top five best players.

Moller is a hard taskmaster.

This win will give the club a massive boost, as they now find themselves one win off fifth spot and challenging for finals.

It brings a tear to your glass eye when you see Tyler Robinson, Jimmy Lawson, Ben Halliday, Jiye Hoad and Willy Angas, all good old boys of Meningie, firing up and they will stretch Jervois for a good portion of the game.

Jervois are not going full throttle at the moment; they are doing enough to win and really only open up against the other two contenders.

Josh Scott is an absolute gun up forward.

He works his way to the front of packs, he can kick a long goal and rarely misses – and if he does, the umpires give him another kick.

The members at Meningie all gather at “Frog” Mason’s bar, where the smell of freshly cooked mullet sandwiches wafts across the forward line, and that could upset his judgment.

Adam Diamond has only played a handful of games for the Bluds but he is zooming into medal calculations, plus he has raised the IQ at Jervois by a considerable margin.

He is a top three contender but he has a running mate in Josh Woodall who doesn’t take a backward step.

Even though he had seven goals kicked on him last week, the enforcer, Tom Kluske, provided the run and carry out of defence and never once lost his composure.

I reckon Tom has seen the light, and he didn’t have to bend over to see it.

He looks confident as the key defender.

It’s top versus bottom; at this moment in time Meningie is not the bottom side in the RMFL, but Jervois will wear them down and overwhelm them in the finish.

Jervois by 61 to 70 points.

Ramblers v Mypolonga

The Mypolonga Tigers are in year one of a 20-year rebuild.

It started when they blooded a young man in Ryan Lewis against Meningie.

He wore the front half of the jumper in Meningie colours, the back half in Mypolonga colours.

Give us a rest, Ryan, you will be close to 80 when the rebuild comes to fruition.

Last week the Tigers started slowly but after quarter time they completely slackened off.

Coach Matt Linder asked the good Lord for some advice on how to score a goal and he said “send Sam Elliott to full forward”.

Sammy could ride in the first at Morphettvile for SA Country’s number-one trainer, John Hickmott, at 50 kilograms and he had to do the bulk of the scoring.

Weight for age, he is one of the most courageous players in the competition.

He was once 6’3” but has shrunk to 5’6” as he has carried the Tigers on his shoulders.

They copped a kick in the backside last week, but so did Ramblers.

The Reds are in chaos on and off the field as they have a few problems that need to be addressed.

Their two wins have come at the expense of the bottom two teams.

At the minute they are the flat track bullies of the RMFL and they will intimidate the young Tigers but they have a few more avenues of attack.

They have still got some quality players in Aaron Pratt, Riley Vanson and Michael Wegener, who comes from good Ramblers stock; and they are playing a number of young kids who would have had their eyes opened in the past few weeks.

It’s tough going coaching at Ramblers, with Alex Button apologising after games, but the buck stops with him.

Matt Hartman, possibly the best ruckman in the competition, will be up against a young gun in Kobe Wilson but the Reds have got Clint Walker and Jacob Trevorrow to set up the forwards in Shannon Callery and Lual Kelei; and just maybe Brad Hartman, the former Geelong player, could make another guest appearance as he did last week.

Ramblers by 51 to 60 points.

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