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RMFL preview: Imperials need to figure things out ahead of clash with Jervois
We’ll get a preview of two likely finals match-ups in round 17 of the River Murray Football League for 2023.
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Two tantalising match-ups are on the cards in the River Murray Football League this weekend.
The way the ladder stands at the moment, Imps’ match against Jervois, and the Cats’ against the Tigers, will be previews of round one of the finals in a fortnight’s time.
It’s worth keeping an eye on the percentages, too – Jervois could yet tip Southern Mallee out of top spot.
Here to provide their expert commentary and tips are RMFL commentators Matt Hood and Shane Snell.
Imperials v Jervois
Only two clubs stand between Jervois and an undefeated season, and Imps are by far the best of them.
But even club stalwart Snell hesitated to tip the Blues in this one.
“I think Imps are going to be up against it,” he said.
“I’m just concerned about how they’re putting their game together.
“Jervois … have had a week off, they’ll be primed and ready on Saturday.
“I’m not sure Imps’ preparation is where it should be.
“My heart says Imps, but my head says Jervois.”
The Bluds had an important inclusion last week in Ben Hansen, who returned from eight weeks off to kick four goals and be named in the bests.
Josh Scott was not 100 per cent, but that still left him better than most.
Imps would be dangerous come finals time, Hood expected, especially if they could find a way to move Johnny Boras back to his natural position.
But he didn’t reckon this would be their week.
Matt’s tip: Jervois
Shane’s tip: Imperials
Mannum v Mallee
Pride will be on the line at Mannum Showground this weekend as two teams who’ve had miserable seasons go head to head.
Both Hood and Snell figured this could be the Mallee Storm’s chance to pick up a second win for 2023.
“Mannum are really struggling,” Snell said.
“They’ve been decimated by injury, they’ve had key players not available, they were trounced last week by Mypo.”
The Roos had started the year with potential, Hood said, “but it’s all fallen apart”.
The Storm, meanwhile, played a surprisingly close one against the league-leading Suns last week, going down by only four goals.
Mack Pederick, Campbell Ballard, ruck Michael Leonard and returnee Andy Vines were all handy in the loss.
“Their eyes are going to light up this week,” Snell predicted.
“They’ll see the opportunity and they’re going to take it.”
Matt’s tip: Mallee
Shane’s tip: Mallee
Ramblers v Tailem Bend
While Ramblers are still mathematically capable of playing finals football, realistically they will focus on beating the Eagles at Le Messurier this week.
They should start favourites.
“Against the Cats (last week) there were times when their endeavour was matching it; it was just their execution – their transition play, their linking-up, their disposal – that wasn’t quite up to it,” Snell said.
“I think they’ll get the job done against Tailem Bend.”
They didn’t have any superstars, Hood said, but captain Aaron Pratt put his head over the ball and got the job done, and Alex Pfeiffer’s versatility would come in handy.
Tailem Bend will give plenty of playing time to their kids at this late stage of the season.
Matt’s tip: Ramblers
Shane’s tip: Ramblers
Coorong v Mypolonga
This match will be the other cracker for the weekend, and a likely preview of the elimination final in a fortnight’s time.
It’ll be sponsors day at Meningie, too, so expect a vocal crowd from up and down the Dukes and the Coorong.
They’ll have a bit to cheer about even before the bounce: Matt Hartman is expected back after a six-week layoff due to a knee injury, and Patrick Barrett and Liam Thompson should play, too.
“The Cats will be too strong,” Hood reckoned.
“Sanders to kick 10.”
A more measured Snell argued that Mypo were the X factor team ahead of finals – “they could take a scalp on their way through”.
“Jack Kluske kicked six goals from the centre last week, he’s a jet,” he said.
“With Jack Wilkins in, Riley Robinson, Patty Davies, Stephen Mills, plus down the back Mitchell Bowley and Jake Altmann, from end to end they’ve got quality footballers.
“Mypo will take this game right up to them.”
Both sides had been in good form for five or six weeks, but only one would be victorious on Saturday.
Matt’s tip: Coorong
Shane’s tip: Coorong