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Who are the RMFL’s premiership, Mail Medal and goalkicking favourites for 2023?
With seven rounds to go, commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood sort out the contenders and the pretenders for end-of-season honours.
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Thirteen players from the River Murray Football League will compete at the SA Country Championships in the Barossa Valley this weekend.
After a final training and selection session at Murray Bridge’s Le Messurier Oval on Wednesday night, making the cut for the eastern zone squad were:
Coorong: Sam Sanders (captain), Brad Thompson
Imperials: Jack Penfold
Jervois: Zane Barry, Lachlan Thomas (emergency)
Mannum: Bailey Boughen, Aiden Holland
Southern Mallee: Ben Moroney, Rory O’Driscoll, Josh Smithson
Tailem Bend: Aidan Coakley (vice captain), Brodie Edwards (emergency), Daniel Perks
In the meantime, though, there are prizes to be won closer to home.
With seven rounds to go, Murray Bridge News asked RMFL commentators Shane Snell and Matt Hood for their predictions about a premiership winner, leading goal kicker and Mail Medallist.
Three teams have been clear on top of the RMFL ladder all season: the grand finalists for the last two years, Imps and Jervois, and the successors to last year’s Mallee premiers, the Southern Mallee Suns.
Who would Snell and Hood pick to win it all?
“The Suns are on top, they’ve lost one match and they’re looking pretty great,” Hood said.
“There won’t be too many beat them if they play like (they did last week) every week.”
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Unlike at the start of the season, Snell agreed, the Suns weren’t surprising anyone any more.
“They’ve got Thomas Keough, Ben Moroney, Rory O’Driscoll, they’ve got quality players all through their side we didn’t know about (in March),” he said.
“Christian Vince and Brett Pedersen are emerging … and Lewis Young can take an overhead mark.”
Southern Mallee will face undefeated Jervois at Pinnaroo in a week’s time in what will surely be one of the games of the season.
Imps, meanwhile, had lost two games “but they’re around the mark”, Hood said.
The Cats had underachieved and would miss ruck Matt Hartman over the next few weeks at least; Mypo were inconsistent; Ramblers were okay but unlikely to sneak into the top five.
Leading goal kickers
After 11 rounds, Coorong’s Sanders is on top with 37 sausage rolls.
Imps’ Johnny Boras is next with 32, then it’s Josh Scott from Jervois, his teammate Ben Hansen, and Keough.
“Josh Scott is ready to pounce,” Snell predicted.
But Hood reckoned Sanders would keep top spot now that he was permanently playing up forward.
By contrast, he said, Scott’s goal total would suffer if he played in the midfield more often.
“I don’t like it,” Hood said.
“He’s a hundred-goal full forward.
“But he wanted to get up the ground, so they’re trying to please him.”
Mail Medal candidates
Snell kept his mouth shut for this part – as a league official, he had seen the votes.
Hood tipped Penfold, O’Driscoll and Barry as the top three contenders.
Were there any dark horse candidates worth keeping an eye on?
“From the lower sides, Aidan Coakley from Tailem Bend, in a not-so-good side he got 40 possessions on the weekend,” he said.
Mannum’s Jake Keller and Ramblers’ Keynan Harradine were outside chances, too.
The medal, and the RMFL’s other end-of-season awards, will be given out on September 18 at the Bridges Event Centre.