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RMFL preview: Match of the season awaits at Pinnaroo
River Murray Football League commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood preview round 12, 2023, including the battle between Jervois and Southern Mallee.
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There hasn’t been a more highly anticipated match in the River Murray Football League this season.
On one side will be the Southern Mallee Suns, on top of the competition in their inaugural season; and on the other, undefeated Jervois, with a chance to erase their off-season points deficit.
Rather than trekking out to Pinnaroo for Think Road Safety Round, though, RMFL commentators Shane Snell and Tony Austin will be behind the mics at Le Messurier Oval to see Ramblers host Mypolonga – so let’s start there with our match previews.
Ramblers v Mypolonga
The main event might be out in the Mallee, but this clash will have critical importance to two sides who might wind up contending for the last available finals spot come September.
They’re fifth and sixth on the ladder, and just five points separated them the last time they met.
But both Snell and his usual accomplice, Matt Hood, who’ll have this Saturday off, predicted the Tigers would come in and get the job done.
“Mypo had a slow start to their season, but they’re a lot slicker outfit now,” Snell said.
“Ramblers lack height and they’re missing Alex Pfeiffer.”
Hood argued that Mypo had been a whole new side since the arrival of Jack Kluske – “he’s a tough midfielder who adds a lot more bite and speed”.
Matt’s tip: Mypolonga
Shane’s tip: Mypolonga
Watch the game: Visit www.facebook.com/rivermurrayfl from 2.15pm on Saturday.
Southern Mallee v Jervois
This will be a blockbuster – so why won’t it be live-streamed?
The arrangement the RMFL had made at the start of the season, Snell said, was to broadcast four matches per club.
That deal would be revisited in 2024, he suggested.
In the meantime, a drive to Pinnaroo will be the only way to see these two titans go toe to toe.
Three Suns will return to the club buoyed by a win at the SA Country Championships: Ben Moroney, Josh Smithson and Rory O’Driscoll.
Jervois’ Zane Barry and Lachlan Thomas were part of that Eastern team, too, and Snell predicted they would be chock full of confidence.
Josh Scott would probably benefit from having had a week to rest; and Hood noted that co-captain Tommy Kluske was back on deck in red and black.
Still, the two commentators were split on who would win.
“Jervois haven’t been beaten, but if they are going to be beaten in the minor rounds, it’s going to be in this game,” Hood said.
Snell wasn’t buying it.
“You can just see how hungry Jervois are,” he said.
“They’ll do anything to win, they’ll not relent, they’ll be hungrier than the Southern Mallee Suns and they’ll just get over the line.”
Matt’s tip: Southern Mallee
Shane’s tip: Jervois
Mannum v Tailem Bend
Tailem might be in the midst of a rebuild, but they’ve still got some of the best players in the competition, headlined by Aidan Coakley.
Mannum are finally starting to get some bodies back from injury, though, and could prove competitive.
You can bank on Ribbons, Keller and Heward putting up a fight.
“There’s not a lot between these two clubs,” Hood said.
“But Tailem Bend are starting to play for each other – it means a lot to them.”
He expected Scott “Twinkle Toes” Chandler to play an important role in the back line again.
Snell tipped Tailem too, based on the form of Coakley, Daniel Perks and the supporting cast, including Jacob Wilson and Nathan Stark.
But there was one player he hoped to see more from: “I so badly want Lucas Hunter to stand up and take a game by the scruff of the neck, because I know he can”.
Matt’s tip: Tailem Bend
Shane’s tip: Tailem Bend
Imperials v Mallee
Finally, let’s cast an eye over a lopsided one: a top-three club against the unfortunate souls of this year’s competition.
“Imps are all class,” Hood said.
“They’ve got too many good players.
“The Mallee Storm are trying hard, and they’ll be starting to get some match fitness – they haven’t been fit enough, in my opinion.
“But Imps have been winning with Johnny Boras not even hitting peak form.”
He predicted a 50 to 60-point margin.
Jack Penfold, Luke Harrowfield, Ben Gogel, Clint Diment and Ryan “Froggy” Farnham will be among the players to watch out for as the Blues start to build towards the finals.
Matt’s tip: Imperials
Shane’s tip: Imperials