Final five almost set

Control: Imperials player Bradley Oats takes control of the football during the league match at Johnstone Park on Saturday.

Control: Imperials player Bradley Oats takes control of the football during the league match at Johnstone Park on Saturday.

Jervois v Tailem Bend

Pressure: Ramblers' Jack Woods takes the ball while Imperials' Sam DeMichele tackles during their league clash on Saturday.

Pressure: Ramblers' Jack Woods takes the ball while Imperials' Sam DeMichele tackles during their league clash on Saturday.

Jervois hosts Tailem Bend for their round 18 River Murray clash, which is looming as the Eagles’ last game for 2017.

Tailem Bend have the bye in next week’s final round and sit in sixth position and they are relying on unlikely results to squeeze into the top five.

Never-the-less, the opportunity still presents for Tailem Bend to play finals and the Eagles will be keen to win this weekend and give themselves a chance.

Standing in their way are the Jervois Bluds who sit a game clear above the Eagles in fifth position.

The sides have clashed two times in 2017 and Jervois won on both occasions.

The Bluds won the Lokan Cup match by 27 points at Tailem Bend earlier in the year and more recently Jervois held on to beat the Eagles by 16 points.

Tailem Bend’s star forward Scott Welsh is doubtful with a back injury after coming from the field before half time last week while Dylan Hogarth is doubtful with a hand injury.

Welsh is Tailem Bend’s leading goal kicker with 46 goals and if he doesn’t get up, it will be a huge out for the Eagles.

Tailem Bend’s Mackenzie Hansen stood up last weekend kicking seven goals and Steven Clay is a regular goal-scorer who has a bag of eight to his name this season so these are two players who the Eagles will need on song to help fill the void.

Jervois head into this match coming off the bye and having lost their previous two matches to Mannum and Mypolonga so the Bluds will be eager to get back on the winner’s list heading into the finals.

Justin Hardy has been a stand out for Jervois in 2017, kicking 54 goals and regularly featuring in his side’s best players.

Jervois’ Peter Zarantonello is coming home hard having recovered from an early injury and he is getting better the longer the season goes on while Bradley Gabell has been  consistent.

Playing coach Ryan Willits an experienced campaigner and performs well in tandem with local star Tony Gibson, Owen Love is a class act and Dylan Barry, Casey Robins and Matthew Kemp are all quality footballers.

Tailem Bend’s Westhoff duo in Nick and Harry have been solid the year, Michael Sumner is enjoying a career revival, Daniel Bartlett is a ball winner and Jack Marino is showing his flare.

However, Jervois have been better than Tailem Bend in 2017 and should win this match at home.

The Standard’s tip: Jervois, 21-30 points.

Contest: Mypolonga's Simon Norris is wrapped up by Tailem Bend's Nathan Hansen in their league clash at Tailem Bend on Saturday.

Contest: Mypolonga's Simon Norris is wrapped up by Tailem Bend's Nathan Hansen in their league clash at Tailem Bend on Saturday.

Mannum v Imperials

The Roos go head-to-head with the Blues at the Mannum Showgrounds on Saturday in a battle between second and bottom on the River Murray table.

Mannum sits just one win off top spot while Imperials, with only two wins for the year, will not be playing finals in 2017 and will be playing for pride.

After a shock loss in round one, the Roos went on a nine-game winning streak, which included knocking off premiership favourites Meningie.

However, since then the Roos have had injury woes to star players.

With big names like Levi Krause, Michael O’Malley, Jye De Zylva and Jacob Bowen missing multiple matches in 2017, it’s a credit to Mannum’s depth that the Roos have been able to hold on to second spot.

In fact, they’ve won three games out of their past five with some star players missing and both those losses were to Meninige.

It will be interesting to see how the Roos go come finals time with returning players.

For Imperials, the 2017 has been forgettable in terms of games won but coach Shane Collins has invested in the future and has been able to get some game time into the younger, up-coming Blues players.

Recruit Matthew Williams would be a firm favourite for the Blues’ best and fairest award, familiar names Phil Smith and Daniel Girdham have been solid contributors while Dylan Hollitt is enjoying a breakout season of senior football.

Mannum star forward Gene Robinson sits on 88 goals with two minor rounds to go and he’ll be eager to edge his way closer to the 100-goal milestone.

Robinson is supported by Korey Loechel and James Smith who are solid targets and combine well to kick winning scores.

Mannum have beaten Imperials twice in 2017 and the Roos are favourites to win again on Saturday.

The Standard’s tip: Mannum, 31-40 points

Meningie v Ramblers

The premiership favoruites Meningie hosts last year’s flag winners Ramblers in the last match of round 18.

The Roosters head to Meningie with a record of six wins and eight losses and sit in fourth position while the top-placed Bears have only dropped two games this season and have recorded 35 and 22-point wins over Ramblers this year.

The Roosters have won their last two matches and before that lost two games by just one and two points, proving Ramblers are around the mark.

Last week, the Roosters came home strongly to beat Imperials and they have been buoyed by the form of some returning players and some of their emerging young prospects who have cracked the senior side.

Ben Dougall has made a successful return to the Roosters having recovered from a serious injury, Kheenan Miller and Keynan Harradine have made a big impact in a small amount of time in the senior side and all of a sudden the Roosters have a bit more pace and look more dangerous.

Consistent performers Jarrad Weyland, Patrick O'Neil, Brandon Thiele and Alex Pfeiffer have been joined by Mervyn Kartinyeri in recent weeks and the three-time Mail Medalist could be huge come finals time.

Meningie is a side full of household names and Brian Fenton, Karl Lodhe, Myles Warmington and Peter Nelson will be gearing up for a big end to the year and together with Harrison Slee, Tyson Schmit and Jed Durdin, form what is the best team in the league.

The competition’s most polished unit will not drop this match at home.

The Standard’s tip: Meningie, 21-30 points.