Boots and All: Ramblers hoping for a miracle on their 90th birthday

Peter Dalwood previews round 15, 2021 in the River Murray Football League featuring a weekend of celebrations for Ramblers.

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

In 1931 Murray Bridge was spilt in two when Ramblers and Imperials were formed and on Saturday Ramblers are summoning all the past players they can muster to witness a miracle on Ramsey Street.

Every Rambler player who has played a game for the Roosters will have their name on the guernsey that is for sale at the after match function.

Don’t forget the swingers, players who have played for both clubs.

Jack Daniels will be looking for his name: it will be right under Andrew Underwood, the coach who moved him on.

“Wombat” Mathews will be there with a schilling each way as he can drink with the winners regardless of the result and how can we forget Albert Luxton Trewen.

They called him the mailman because he always delivered.

The first thing you notice is the new goalposts at headquarters.

SANFL standard they tell me, it’s just a pity about the Roosters form.

The review is underway and depending on the outcome a committee may need to be formed to review the review committee.

No one is safe from the review including the coaches because this is just about the worst Ramblers team I’ve seen in years with their only wins being against the bottom two clubs and they will play finals by default.

Imperials aren’t traveling much better having lost four of their last five games.

I reckon they are suffering an identity crisis.

In recent weeks they have played in four different guernseys; they played in an MAC guernsey, followed by an indigenous guernsey, followed by a heritage guernsey followed up by their navy blue home and away strip.

The former greats of the club in “Nulla” Gillies and Les Stone wouldn’t know who they are watching.

Jack Laube is a young player who kicked three goals against Jervois, and showed some promise, but he needs to kick on and support John the Boras as a target up forward.

James Clarke is rumoured to have pulled up sore from last weeks country championships while Brayden Martin kept the Jervois forwards honest.

They will be coming from all over Australia for this game.

A truckload from the West Coast will be arriving giving full vocal support and there is a real chance Scott Morrison may pop in but he has to ask Jenny and the girls first.

Strange things happen in football and Ramblers will be keen to put a show and belie their position on the ladder and avoid an embarrassment.

If Ramblers get within 50 points it will be the miracle on Ramsey Street.

Jervois v Tailem Bend

Editors Note: This game has now been cancelled and will be recorded as a draw due to the Covid situation in Tailem Ben affecting both teams.

This is dress rehearsal for the Grand Final.

It’s going to tell us exactly where Tailem Bend is at and it may come down to who has been to the Shell Roadhouse in that town and who is in lockdown with tracing on the Covid restriction.

Josh Scott is the key for Jervois; he stamped his authority on the game against Imperials two weeks ago and got the Bluds home.

Coming off the rest he should be cherry ripe for this week.

He finished the game against Imperials with more tape on his knee than Hondo Gratten but he is all class.

At the other end of the ground is Connor Smelt who started the season in a blaze of glory but he has trailed right off.

His last three starts have produced just four goals and at this stage of his development he is a one trick pony.

He might be only 20 years of age but he needs to develop some other strings to his bow if he is going to have any influence in the upcoming finals.

The top end talent at Jervois just looks a bit stronger than Tailem Bend.

Zac Makins and Mathew Kemp are experienced senior players.

Add Tate Silverlock and they might as well give Adam Diamond the Mail medal now with four rounds to go.

Silverlock would be pleased with Ryan McKaye, Zane Barry and Luke Kluske’s efforts against Imperials two weeks ago, all being local boys with possibly their best game of the season.

The ruck duels between Tony Gibson and Nick Westoff will influence the result.

Westoff has been a standout this season and his mobility gives Tailem Bend an extra midfielder around the stoppages.

The Eagles have had to find new ways to score in the absence of Connor Smelt with Ben Rossi, Jordan Bell, Jacob Wilson and Westoff stepping up, kicking 90 goals between them, and taking up the slack.

Ben Hansen is the best kick in the league as he spears the ball in quick and low and hits targets but if it’s wet as forecast he will need to be at his best to hold out the stronger bodied Jervois players.

Jervois weakness is its defence.

They pack a punch ahead of centre and on a wet, cold, miserable Saturday they will play wet, cold, miserable football and should get the money by 11 to 20 pts.

Mannum v Mypolonga

It’s Meet the Coach Day for Mypolonga.

Mypolonga have one game in 41 days and so many of the Tiger players will shake hands with Matt Lindner thinking coming off a long break that’s it’s the start of preseason 2022.

Who drew this program up?

Nearly seven weeks with only one game in that period.

With only one win on the board for 2021 I can imagine the Tiger faithful would be training the house down over the break.

Neither Mannum nor Mypolonga are banging the doors down with their forward line.

You have to kick goals to win in this competition and you can’t play Michael O’Malley in every position.

As an indicator Tailem Bend have kicked nearly 100 goals more than Mannum after 12 games.

That’s eight goals per game, so you ask the question of how Mannum can bridge that gap and make an impact on the top two in the upcoming finals series.

Isaac Hampel is the club house leader with 21 goals this season but my money is on Ben Quinn, the coach in waiting as their next best.

Quinn might not have much tread left in the tyres but he is still the smartest forward in Mannum.

It was only two years ago the Tigers were revelling in premiership glory but its been a dramatic fall from grace and there is a fair chance they could grab the wooden spoon this season.

Lindner will be looking to salvage something from the wreckage as they are still in the hunt for the reserves finals so we could see a shuffling of the decks to play their best team in the reserves because at the moment there is little between them.

The Achilles heel for Wayne Knowles and Mannum is their lack of depth as their reserves are going nowhere but they have some classy U/16 players who are definitely in Mannums top 21 players.

Saturday is a chance for Mannum to cement the double chance and they shouldn’t have too much trouble putting the Tigers away by 51 to 60 points.

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