RMFL preview: Mallee faces finals elimination
River Murray Football League commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood preview round 14, 2023.
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The pointy end of the River Murray football season will get pointier still for one club this Saturday.
Here are commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood’s tips ahead of round 14.
Mypolonga v Mallee
After a frustrating inaugural season, with just one win from a dozen attempts, the Mallee Storm will face mathematical elimination if they lose to the Tigers this weekend.
They should be bolstered by the return of full forward Michael Leonard, who missed last week’s home game.
“They’ve improved,” Snell suggested hopefully.
“They bring the effort, but … it’s hard to maintain that effort deep into an almost winless season.
“The key challenge for coach Adam Klun is keeping the energy up.”
Hood predicted a Mypo win by five or six goals – “but you just never know”.
Matt’s tip: Mypolonga
Shane’s tip: Mypolonga
Watch the game: Visit www.facebook.com/rivermurrayfl from 2.15pm on Saturday.
Coorong v Jervois
The probable match of the round will be down the Dukes at Tintinara, where the Cats will aim to upset the still-undefeated Bluds.
“The Cats had a good win over Tailem Bend … and they’re getting better,” Snell said.
“They had Clinton Walker come back from injury last week – he injured his knee in a trial game – and he’s a bit rusty, but he’ll be better for the run.”
They were still missing Matt Hartman, leaving Jack Holliday and Hayden Schilling to pinch-hit in the ruck; but Alex Stidiford is among the Cats who have come into form lately.
Still, Hood suggested Charlie Fisher needed to step up.
“He should be dominating up forward,” he said.
“Holliday-Fisher just hasn’t clicked for the Cats, and they haven’t been able to dominate centre half-forward like they should.”
Ben Hansen will remain out for Jervois, probably until their round 17 clash with Imperials.
Matt’s tip: Jervois
Shane’s tip: Jervois
Ramblers v Southern Mallee
A late goal helped the Suns escape Imperials last week, but nails are likely to remain un-bitten at Le Messurier Oval this Saturday.
Josh Smithson, Rory O’Driscoll and Ben Moroney will all rejoin the side after their escapades for SA Country in Perth, and the likes of Christian Vince, Brett Pedersen, Thomas Keough and Jayden “the Fresh Prince” Barrett will continue to provide quality play across the ground.
“They’ll come to Murray Bridge and put on a clinic,” Hood predicted.
“Any club would love to have those six players in their lineup.”
One thing the Suns had going for them was their discipline, Snell said: they rarely gave away 50s or took yellow cards.
It will be tested against Ramblers, who love nothing better than to slow things down and go for another ball-up.
“Two weeks ago we called them against Mypo and they tried to shut the game down,” Hood said.
“They worked their bums off and they’ll do that again.
“We know they don’t have the raw talent, but they’ll play tight and play hard.”
Matt’s tip: Southern Mallee
Shane’s tip: Southern Mallee
Mannum v Imperials
The Mannum Football Club have chosen this Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of their 2003 and 2013 premierships – both of which came against Imperials.
Will the fond memories spur them to success against a top-three side?
“It’s an important game, and I expect Mannum to give a big effort,” Snell said.
Still, they will be missing players, as they have all season.
Imperials will have had a jolt from their loss to Southern Mallee last week, and they’ll have Jack Penfold back.
Hood suspected they would continue to improve as finals approached.
“Imps remind me of last year,” he said.
“They’re very competitive, they’re around the mark, but haven’t hit their straps yet.
“I think they’ve got fuel left in the tank.”
Matt’s tip: Imperials
Shane’s tip: Imperials