Boots and All: Peter Dalwood ranks the seven RMFL clubs after six rounds

Three River Murray football clubs are guaranteed top-four berths, three are stuck at the bottom and one is the in-betweener.

This post was contributed by Peter Dalwood.

After one complete round of football where every club has played every other, the picture becomes clearer about their strengths and weaknesses.

The league comprises Tailem Bend, Jervois and Imperials, who are guaranteed top-three finals berths; then there is Mr In Between, Mannum, who is capable of causing an upset; followed by Ramblers, Mypolonga and Meningie, the bottom-feeders that haven’t been able to put four quarters together.

With six games gone and 10 to go before finals, this is where I reckon they are at the moment.

1. Tailem Bend.

The Eagles fell in love with themselves after winning five straight and their first loss against Jervois last week was the loss they needed.

Winning five out of their first six is their best start in 20 years, so why wouldn’t they fall in love with themselves and give their punters something to cheer about

Unfortunately the competition in the RMFL will now offer a series of pretty easy kills in the coming weeks, and we won’t find out until they play the big boys again in late June or early July.

They are a work in progress at the minute but coach Ben Hansen is in superb form and would be leading the pack for Mail Medal favouritism.

2. Jervois

The Bluds are traveling along nicely at this stage, and coach Tate Silverlock would be pretty happy after a shaky start to the season with the opening game.

They will again feature very strongly in September.

All their power is in the midfield and their forwards, and they know how to win important games.

They are a tough, resilient club; if an atom bomb exploded above Jervois, the big survivors would be the cockroaches and the football club.

Jervois to play on grand final day is like backing Jamie Kah on race day.

3. Imperials

The Blues got stitched up by Tailem Bend because of a poor choice, and they got rolled by Mannum because they ran out of players, so they have legitimate excuses.

They are getting senior games into young players, with last week’s effort against Ramblers probably the first time they have put four quarters together all season.

John the Boras, with 48 goals after six games and with 10 to go before finals, will boot 100 goals standing on his head.

He is a showman and the reason we go to the football week in, week out is to see him perform.

If Imperials don’t finish in the top three, 100 people will attend their AGM and demand answers.

It’s that sort of club and come September they will be around the mark.

4. Mannum

Mannum are quietly going about their business and are aiming for four straight wins this week against Ramblers at headquarters.

They don’t have the depth of the top three, but when Dylan Ribbons can kick five like he has done the past couple of games, and Jake Keller in pretty good nick, they are a threat, even though a distant one.

The young players are making progress; coach Wayne Knowles wants them cherry ripe come late June-early July for the big games, which will show us how much they have improved.

5. Ramblers

Ramblers were slaughtered against Imperials.

They took a big hit and it’s probably the worst performance I’ve seen from them in the last 20 years.

They didn’t have one winner and it will be interesting to see how coach Alex Button can resurrect the Roosters in the back half of the season.

My mail says that the numbers have started to drop off on the training track and the flow-on effect of players only wanting to play reserves is a worry.

This is a proud club; since the introduction of the points system in 2008 the Roosters have won more premierships than any other.

They are in a lot of pain at the moment but will play finals because the bottom two clubs don’t have the cattle.

6. Mypolonga

The Mypolonga Tigers are at the start of a 10-year rebuild and are not even sure if that will be enough time.

Coach Matt Lindner has no choice but to play every kid over 17 years of age.

They will learn the ring craft and take some beltings along the way.

The Mypolonga committee members have to hold their nerve and their wallet for the next decade, as they are patient folk out there; I hope for Lindner’s sake they show the same compassion towards him.

7. Meningie

What were the expectations at Meningie after having the 2020 season off?

I don’t think that they would have been that high, but in 2021 we are looking for some green shoots.

They haven’t been smashed by Mannum, Ramblers and Mypolonga, so in round two we all would like to see some reduction of these losses.

There is a fair chance they will jag a win before season’s end, and that would give them a major boost.

Meningie Football Club was formed in 1898 and is the oldest club in the RMFL, and with 123 years of history it is worth fighting for.

Ramblers v Mannum

Ramblers were crushed last week with a pretty insipid display; on the other hand, Mannum are going for four wins on the trot.

Ribbons and Keller are the form players and the leaders in this young team; Mitch Heward, Jack Woollard and Isaac Hampel are young players on the way up; and they look to have a better spread over the ground than the Roosters.

The Reds are rudderless at the minute, and it’s going to take something special from Aaron Pratt, Jacob Trevorrow and Matt Hartman to drag them out of this hole.

Mannum by 31 to 40 points.

Tailem Bend v Meningie

Connor Smelt kicked 14 goals in round one and he will be looking for a repeat.

The Eagles took a hit last week but they are slowly getting their building blocks in place for an assault on the major round.

We have yet to see the best of Tom Geyer, but I understand it’s hard to step up from the pedestrian KNTFL; while Dale Finnie, who has a bit of talent, will be better off for the run.

Meningie just can’t match the firepower of the Eagles, but if you want a bloke in the trenches with you, would take Greg Saddlier any day of the week.

He is tough, he may not be the most skilful but he leaves nothing in the tank; and you know with Jimmy Lawson and Peter Reichelt you are going to get a contest each and every time; but they can’t play the mob.

Tailem Bend by 100 points plus.

Imperials v Mypolonga

As the season wears on, it takes its toll on young sides.

Mypolonga were bundled aside in round one and they run into a red-hot John the Boras, on pace for 100 goals.

Sam Martin will have the onerous task of curbing his influence.

His dad, “Tank” Martin, was a champion full back for the Tigers until Mick O’Neil got hold of him and destroyed his confidence.

Sam has the size, but has he got the footy smarts to take on Boras?

Imperials looked good last week with no passengers and also no pressure, and they will use the Tigers for a tune-up for the game against Jervois next week.

Imperials by 91 to 100 points.

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