RMFL preview: Imperials look to bounce back against Mannum
River Murray Football League commentator Shane Snell previews round five of the 2023 season.
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Four weeks into the new-look River Murray football season, it’s clear that none of the former Mallee clubs will be pushovers after all.
The Cats, Storm and Suns all had wins against more established RMFL sides last week, and commentator Shane Snell said that was good for the competition.
“We want those clubs to get off to a good start so they can embed themselves in the competition and make themselves attractive for players to want to come in,” he said.
So far, so good.
Here’s the expert’s tips ahead of round five this Saturday.
Imperials v Mannum
Imps might be the ladder-leaders, but they got done last week, plain and simple.
“I think they were shell-shocked,” Snell said of the Blues’ 45-point loss to the Suns.
“They were blitzed from start to finish, by all reports: shown up for speed and ball movement.”
He didn’t think that would happen again this week – not with veteran Luke Harrowfield leading from the front, Nathan Daish providing support in a lock-down role and Clint Diment in good form.
“I think they’ll go to work, they’ll bounce back,” he said.
“(Last week) will sting them a little bit.”
Mannum, meanwhile, sit in fifth on the ladder after failing to keep pace with Jervois last week.
“Mitchell Smith, he’s the one I’ll be looking out for,” Snell said.
“He might be a job for Daish.”
Mitch Heward was in good form too, and Dylan Ribbons knew where the goals were, but Snell predicted Imps would get up by 20-30 points.
Shane’s tip: Imperials
Watch the game: Visit www.facebook.com/rivermurrayfl from 2pm on Saturday.
Mallee v Mypolonga
This match, out at Peake, will be an interesting one between two sides who have struggled in the early going.
The Mallee Storm enjoyed their first RMFL win last week, anchored by Adam Klun’s coaching and a strong performance from Campbell Bellaney.
“He’s a real in-and-under workhorse,” Snell said.
“He rolls his sleeves up, gets his hands dirty, wins the ball all day and works hard in every contest.”
Lachlan Paddick, who went on the ball last weekend and got some important touches, as did ruckman Riley Bowles.
But the Tigers had been better than their 0-3 record indicated, Snell said.
On-baller Jack Zadow was back in a big way after recovering from a knee injury last season, Regan Gotch was becoming an impact player, and Jack Wilkins had good goal sense.
Snell rated defender Riley Robinson, too, and looked forward to seeing how he and Todd Howson matched up against Paddick and Michael Leonard.
“I think Stevie Sumner will be doing his homework,” he said.
“The result might be that Mypo get their first win.
“They might be more desperate.”
Shane’s tip: Mypolonga
Jervois v Coorong
The match of the round will pit the Jervois juggernaut against a new club whose shine has started to come off a little bit by comparison to their cousins from the Southern Mallee.
“I think Jervois will be way too strong,” Snell said.
“They’re more advanced.
“They haven’t put a foot wrong.”
Between them, Josh Scott, Ben Hansen and Taite Silverlock brought about 300 games worth of SANFL experience into the Bluds’ side, and the likes of Peter Zarantonello and Mackenzie Hansen were in good form.
However, the Cats could be competitive if they could win the ball through ruck Matt Hartman.
“He’s the key, winning taps and getting first use to their midfield,” Snell said.
“That’s the area in which they’re a lot stronger than Jervois, a big positive for the Coorong Cats.
“His influence will stop any sort of massive domination by Jervois.”
The end result might be a six- or seven-goal win by the home side, but the match was sure to be competitive, our tipster suggested.
“Don’t look at the game, just watch the football,” he said.
“You’ll enjoy a good contest.”
Shane’s tip: Jervois
Southern Mallee v Ramblers
The Suns are playing like contenders so far, with a 3-1 record and their only loss coming against undefeated Jervois.
Snell predicted that the Suns’ brand of footy would stand up in the finals.
In the meantime, they’ll expect a strong performance against Ramblers at Lameroo, buoyed by red-hot Josh Smithson, goal-scorer Thomas Keough and talented locals Rory O’Driscoll and Billy McNeilly.
For Ramblers, Alex Pfeiffer had been the stand-out so far this season, Snell said.
Young Cameron Schubert had grown and grown since coming out of the juniors, Riley Vanson had been consistent in the midfield, and Keynan Harradine was making a difference in an unfamiliar role at half back.
Even so, Snell expected a one-sided match with a margin of around 10 goals.
“The Southern Mallee Suns will be way too strong,” he said.
“Everyone thought it was going to be the Coorong Cats, but no, the Southern Mallee Suns are the one.”
Shane’s tip: Southern Mallee