RMFL preview: Who will join Jervois in the 2023 grand final?
Matt Hood and Shane Snell preview the preliminary final between Mypolonga and Southern Mallee after the end of Imperials’ River Murray football season.
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For the first time since 2019, Imperials and Jervois won’t contest the River Murray Football League’s grand final this season.
The Bluds held up their end of the deal by defeating Southern Mallee on Saturday, continuing their unbeaten run.
But Imps are out after losing Sunday’s elimination final, leaving room for either the Suns or the Tigers.
Where did they go wrong, and who will win this weekend’s prelim?
Here with all the answers are commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood.
Southern Mallee v Mypolonga
Jaensch Park, Tailem Bend
Head-to-head this season: Southern Mallee 2-0
They were the minor premiers, but considering how little football they’d played in the lead-up, the Suns did well to get within 10 points of undefeated Jervois last week.
That doesn’t mean they’ll make it easy for Mypolonga this weekend, though.
They finished top for a reason.
“While we’re a bit seduced by Jervois’ boisterous play, because they can just crack you open by making stuff out of nothing, the Suns weren’t far out of the game,” Snell said.
“There’s a bit of upside for them.”
Hood agreed that playing again this weekend would be good for them.
They’ll face a Mypo side that looked stronger, healthier and better coached than Imps on Sunday.
The Blues had injured players both on and off the field and missed some key shots at goal.
“They didn’t finish the season well,” Snell conceded.
“They went out in straight sets and ended up winning two of their last seven or something.
“They’ll go away, reassess and come back stronger.”
That’s not to diminish the ability of the Tigers, though – Kluske and co have had their claws out so far in these finals, and they’ll have a fighting chance against the Suns.
What ins and outs can we expect?
Christian Vince was still a question mark at the time of writing, but could be a difference-maker for the Suns if he plays – “they need him to bust packs and drive the ball forward,” Snell said.
Who else should we watch out for?
Defender Riley Robinson has shown he can go forward and kick goals, which gives Mypo coach Stevie Sumner an option to draw on if needed.
If you want versatility, though, look no further than the Suns’ Rory O’Driscoll, who took some amazing marks last week.
“He’s not that big, but – like Dylan Barry – he plays big and can go up forward,” Snell said.
Don’t sleep on Ben Moroney, either, after his 37 disposals last week: “he’s been stout for the Suns”.
Southern Mallee playing coach Nick Hyde will need to rely on his bench to know what’s needed at any given time.
Ultimately, though, both our commentators tipped the Suns to make the big dance.
“We’ve had a great finals series and this game will be another ripper,” Snell said.
Matt’s tip: Southern Mallee
Shane’s tip: Southern Mallee
Watch the game: Visit www.facebook.com/rivermurrayfl from 2.15pm on Saturday.