RMFL round three preview: Jervois, Mannum clash in Anzac Day match

Jervois will host Mannum for the designated Anzac Day game in what is set to be an exciting match.

Jervois are two losses from their first two starts while Mannum are 1-1. The Bluds lost their opening home game against Mypolonga in a tight match and then went down by 40 points at Meningie while Mannum copped a 10-goal drubbing by Ramblers and responded with a three-goal win over Imperials.

Jervois seems to be adjusting to new coach Ryan Willits while the jury is still out on Mannum after the shock round one defeat. You get the feeling the best is still to come for both of these sides and what better stage to make a stand and deliver their best than the Anzac clash.

The best afield will be presented with the Colin Wakefield Medal after the game. Mannum playing coach Michael O’Malley is a previous winner of the medal and, with the way he goes about his football, it would not be surprising to see him become the first two-time winner of the award.

Last year’s Standard Medal runner-up Levi Krause is in good form and Gene Robinson leads the goal-kicking tally with nine after two rounds. Jervois will need to curb the influence of both players to have a chance of winning.

Mannum’s Jake Bowen and Jervois’ Tony Gibson are set for another enthralling battle in the ruck Jervois’ Dylan Barry played his best game in Bluds’ colours last round while Owen Love is enjoying a solid start to the 2017 season. Ty Burkett is back to be best footy and the Jervois will be hoping the experienced campaigner’s form holds up.

Thomas Dunne is a fly-in, fly-out player and the Bluds’ forward line looks more potent when he is available while the River Murray is yet to see the best of recruits Justin Hardy and Matthew Kemp, so there is plenty of upside ahead.

Mannum’s forward line is looking dangerous with Robinson and proven goal-scorer Korey Loechel providing solid targets while the reintroduction of James Smith into the Mannum side is a big win.

The Standard’s tip: Mannum, 11-20 points.

Tailem Bend v Meningie

What a relief it must have been for Tailem Bend a fortnight ago when they opened their season with a win. The Eagles broke a long win-less run but are they set for a reality check this week when they host favourites Meningie?

The powerful Bears side has proved too much for the Eagles in recent times. Meningie met Tailem Bend three times last season and won the first clash at Tailem by 37 points and then buried them by 64 and 129 points at Meninige as the Eagles ran out of steam and limped to the line during their win-less 2016 season.

The 2017 version of the Eagles is much improved, but just how much can they bridge the gap? Tailem Bend’s struggle has been scoring and while their 11-goal effort in their round two win wasn’t must to write home about, their 26 scoring shots in the match was more than they had in any game in 2016.

The Eagles’ big recruit in Scott Welsh is central in fixing the scoring problems. The experienced forward has proved a match winner for sides in the Great Southern and KNT football leagues since retiring from AFL but will he get the supply he needs? Tailem Bend’s Mackenzie Hansen is set to return from injury to bolster the Eagles forward line and swingman Nick Westhoff could hit the scoreboard this season.

Meningie’s playing coach Brian Fenton was at his best last round and the reigning Standard medalist has his side at two wins from two starts. Tailem Bend will struggle to negate the influence of the Bears’ powerful midfield with the household names of Fenton, Myles Warmington, Brodie Martin and Karl Lohde looming as a tough challenge.

“Two-metre Peter” Nelson gives them first use so Luke Williams will have to be at his best and the Eagles’ mids Ben Franks, Travis Burns, Dylan Hogarth and Steven Clay will have to be strong defensively.

After two matches Fenton leads Meningie’s goal scoring with Jed Durdin, both with five goals, while Warmington is a proven goal kicker. Harry Westhoff proved his worth as a defender in the Eagles opener and he provides solid support to the ever-reliable Jarryd Linde in Tailem Bend’s back half.

Tailem will be keen to improve build upon their opening round win but they come up against the toughest of opponents.

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

Imperials v Ramblers

The biggest rivalry in the River Murray will round out the round three fixture with Imperials and Ramblers clashing at Johnstone Park. Imperials are two losses from two starts and host a Ramblers side that, after an undefeated season in 2016, proved they are not ready to start losing, making a big statement in round one with a big win over Mannum.

The Roosters go into match with less than ideal preparation as the Reds were one of the unfortunate sides to have the bye line up with the Easter break, so by the time Saturday rolls around, Ramblers will not have played a match in 21 days.

Despite the fact Imperials have been unsuccessful from their first two rounds, there is no reason to hit the panic button. A three-goal loss to Meningie and a four-goal away loss to Mannum has the Blues around the mark. However, they’ll need to find a goal-kicker. In round one they kicked seven goals and in round two they scored nine.

On the other side of Adelaide Road, Pat O’Neil kicked a bag of five to start of the 2017 season while Alex Button proved a handy target with three and the Roosters had 10 different goal scorers in what was a dominate display.

The Blues have done well in picking up Ben Woolford who is proving to be a solid player through the midfield and adds depth to what is a strong core group with Phil Smith, Daniel Girdham and young star Mitchell Lienert all quality players.

It is expected the Roosters won’t be as strong as they were in 2016 and it’s hard to argue that they will be, given the player departures, however, they’ve yet to put a foot wrong and go in as favourties this week.

Jarrad Weyland is the side’s reliable midfielder who shoulders a heavy load together with the likes of Aaron Pratt, Alex Pfeiffer is a gun defender who can play in any position and Nelson Miller provides dash on the outside while being hard at the contest.

Pat O’Neil has been a reliable player on the wing for many years and proved just how damaging he can be offensively with five majors in round one. The match is set to be a good one with Imperials set to be a contender in what is looking to be a close competition.  

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