RMFL preview: Indigenous Round brings extra colour to country footy
Commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood share their tips as the River Murray Football League's clubs prepare to celebrate during round 13, 2023.
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Indigenous Round is here in the River Murray Football League, celebrating the players and volunteers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage who have made the competition stronger and more entertaining over the years.
Eight of the nine clubs will wear special guernseys for the occasion, and Jervois’ Ray Love has created both a special logo for the league and four painted footballs for the four matches.
Here are commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood’s tips for the week – and for the second week in a row, they don’t agree on every result.
Tailem Bend v Coorong
In the feature match at Tailem Bend’s Jaensch Park, the Eagles will start as underdogs against the Cats – especially after they suffered more than one painful loss last week.
Yes, there was their five-point loss to Mannum; but losing their top two players – Aidan Coakley to a broken ankle and Scott Chandler to a broken nose – will hurt for the rest of the season.
Throw in the temporary absence of Daniel Perks to SA Country representative football this week and the home side will be up against it.
“Tailem Bend must have run over a black cat last Friday – they’ve had no luck,” Snell said.
“Coakley is their number-one player, the backbone of the side, and they’ll really miss him.
The silver lining for fans is that they’ll get to hear both Coakley and Chandler call the action from the commentary box.
At any rate, Snell credited coach Nathan Stark for the effect he’d had on the club all season.
“He’s right for Tailem Bend,” he said.
“Whoever steps up will do their best for him.
“There are good signs for the future.”
Meanwhile, Coorong will still be missing ruckman Matt Hartman – “we won’t see him til the week before finals at best”, Hood predicted.
But Clint Walker is getting close to a return from a knee injury.
Matt’s tip: Coorong
Shane’s tip: Coorong
Watch the game: Visit www.facebook.com/rivermurrayfl from 2.15pm on Saturday.
Mallee v Ramblers
Could this be Mallee Districts’ best chance to get a win at home in their inaugural season?
They beat Ramblers for their only win so far, back in round four, and if they want to remember the words to their song they’ll need to try and get another one sometime.
Unfortunately, neither Hood nor Snell thought this would be their week.
“Ramblers, last week, brought the heat and the pressure,” he said.
“Even though they haven’t got a good array of weapons in the shed, they brought the effort.
“Both these clubs will be playing pressure football, neither will give up … but I think it’ll be Ramblers by about five goals.”
The Storm had got a few players back from injury, while star Rooster Alex Pfeiffer will still be away this week, but Hood still backed the Murray Bridge side: “Ramblers have shown a bit more this year”.
Matt’s tip: Ramblers
Shane’s tip: Ramblers
Jervois v Mannum
Of our two commentators, only one tipped Jervois out at Pinnaroo last week, and Snell was quick to let Hood know about it.
There was no such disagreement ahead of this one, though.
“Jervois are the real deal,” Hood said.
Ex-Essendon rookie Taite Silverlock’s willingness to play himself more this season had made a massive difference, he said.
Then there was the key man up forward.
“If Mannum hadn’t got (half-back) Michael O’Malley back, I would have put Josh Scott down for 10, but I think Mickey will keep him to seven,” Snell predicted.
“He’s in red-hot form.
“The injury he had might have been a blessing in disguise – he’s had a run but wasn’t getting knocked about in games.”
Matt’s tip: Jervois
Shane’s tip: Jervois
Southern Mallee v Imperials
Another week, another top-three showdown out at Pinnaroo, and it’s another split decision from our tipsters.
Snell predicted that the absence of three Suns in the SA Country squad – Josh Smithson, Rory O’Driscoll and Ben Moroney – would test their depth.
“They taught Imps a lesson in round four, caught Imps on the back foot, but this time Imps will be more mindful of the task at hand,” he said.
“Prior to those omissions, Southern Mallee might have had a comfortable five- or six-goal win, but (the omissions) swing the pendulum back towards Imps.”
Hood, though, backed the Suns – “I don’t believe they’ll lose two in a row”.
It’s worth noting that the Blues will also be missing a player, Jack Penfold, to that SA Country squad.
Nonetheless, a big crowd will no doubt turn up to see these two juggernauts tussle.
Whoever loses will have a much harder time of winning a top-two spot at season’s end and a double chance in September.