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RMFL preview: Will a ‘bloody good’ midfield get Tailem past the Suns?
Shane Snell and Matt Hood preview round 11 of the 2023 River Murray Football League season.
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Three clubs are pretty well locked in as the class of the River Murray Football League this season, but which others will grab finals spots with both hands in the second half of the season?
As we enter round 11 this weekend, no-one’s out of it yet.
Here’s what RMFL TV commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood make of things ahead of Saturday’s matches.
Tailem Bend v Southern Mallee
The Suns are in top spot with an 8-1 record, including a seven-goal win over the Eagles back in April.
Local product Rory O’Driscoll had remained consistent for them, Snell said.
“He’s playing with names like (Josh) Smithson, (Thomas) Keough and (Ben) Moroney and still featuring in their best players each week,” he said.
“I think he’s one of the keys to their success.”
In blue and gold, he said, one player to watch was high-flying Lucas Hunter.
“He’s starting to present, and I think they’re looking to him to grab a game by the scruff of the neck,” he said.
“If he can do stuff in the air, guys like (Ben) Rossi and (Jacob) Wilson can clean up on the ground and they’ll do alright.”
It would be interesting to see how Scott Chandler’s move into the back line, where he racked up a few touches last week, would play out.
However, Snell and Hood both agreed that Tailem Bend would have their work cut out for them this Saturday.
“They looked okay down back and going up the ground, but inside 50 the Storm were all over them,” Snell said.
“I’m struggling to see how Tailem are going to kick goals against the Southern Mallee Suns.”
Their on-ball brigade – Rossi, Daniel Perks and Aidan Coakley, with Dylan Hogarth on a wing – was “actually bloody good”, Hood said.
But they weren’t quite there yet.
“Tailem Bend were fitter than the Storm last week and they’re coming home, so I think they’ll get a bit of confidence out of that, but I think the Suns will be too strong – probably by 30 or 40 points.”
Shane’s tip: Southern Mallee
Matt’s tip: Southern Mallee
Coorong v Mannum
Coorong ruckman Matt Hartman’s status is the big question mark going into this match – at the time of publication he was awaiting the result of a scan for a possible ACL injury sustained last Saturday, according to Hood.
If he’s fit, who will go against him – Jacob Stagg, Aiden Holland?
Given how much Mannum’s lineup has had to change to accommodate injuries, it’s hard to know.
“This will be an interesting game,” Snell said.
“Both sides are probably not where they wanted to be.”
The Cats were tipped to be hot stuff but are 4-5 and fourth on the ladder.
“The Cats are a very good side on paper but haven’t clicked,” Hood said.
“They’re going to be a good side come finals, but this is a danger game for them.”
Forward-turned-half-back Brodie Martin will be another question mark for Coorong after a fortnight away for work, but Charlie Fisher is in form – “he has loads of potential”.
The Roos, meanwhile, are struggling back in seventh spot.
Holland, Jake Keller, Dylan Ribbons and Josh Boylan are in form, but will they be enough?
Shane’s tip: Coorong
Matt’s tip: Coorong
Mypolonga v Imperials
Here’s a challenge for the Tigers, who’ll know where they stand in the pecking order after this one.
They lost badly to Imps in round two, and to Jervois last week, but Riley Robinson, Stephen Mills, Todd Howson, Brady Wrigley and co will get another chance to impress at Mypo Memorial Oval this weekend.
“They’ve got good players in the middle with Patty Davies, Jack Zadow, the Gotch brothers and Nick Hombsch at half forward,” Snell said.
Jack Kluske had been a massive in since getting back from Glenelg, Hood said, and would find more consistency week by week.
But Imps were starting to build some momentum too.
“They’re going to be dangerous come September,” Hood said.
“Jack Penfold would be one of the favourites for the Mail Medal – he’s got some best on grounds under his belt.”
Watch out for 185-centimetre Carter Norman, too, Snell suggested – the opportunistic forward kicked four in his debut for the club last week.
Shane’s tip: Imperials
Matt’s tip: Imperials
Jervois v Mallee
Jervois are undefeated, while the Mallee Storm are on the bottom with one win from nine attempts.
The margin was 50 points last time they met, and could be bigger this time around.
“Jervois, at the moment, have got the angry pills in ‘em,” Hood said.
“They’re going to be ruthless.
“I think they’re the best side in the competition at the minute.”
Another player in Mail Medal form was the Bluds’ Zane Barry, Snell said.
Still, Mallee fans can keep an eye out for James Deegan, who’s come into the side to play second fiddle to Riley Bowles in the ruck, or possibly in a key role up forward.
Joe Pratt will get plenty of work in defence, Chris Rudiger should have a good battle against Josh Scott, and Andy Vines and Henry Olsson will no doubt continue their good form.
“They just need another four or five players to be really competitive,” Hood said.
“I know they’ll work on it in the off-season.”
Shane’s tip: Jervois
Matt’s tip: Jervois