Round one, July 4
IMPERIAL v JERVOIS
After a 10 month hiatus the River Murray Football League commenced on a cool blustery early July afternoon as the Blues hosted the Bluds at Johnstone Park.
The opening quarter saw the Bluds kicking with a noticeable breeze towards the Adelaide Road end of the oval and they made the most of the conditions by controlling the early passages of play and a strong mark to Joshua Scott of the Bluds resulted in the opening score of the afternoon.
Veteran Blue Luke Harrowfield showed his class under pressure when he pin pointed a lace out pass to the leading Johnny Boras.
Boras, from 35 metres out, found Sam DeMichele playing his first A grade game of football in over a 1000 days 10 metres out from goal. DeMichele then calmly went back and slotted the opening goal of the game.
The Blues enjoyed a purple patch for a few minutes and looked to add to the scoreboard when Gareth Williams found a leading Johnny Boras and then Sam DeMichele had the chance to register his second major of the quarter but his shot from a tight angle went across goal.
The game was developing into a tight tussle late in the opening quarter and right before the quarter time siren a strong mark to Joshua Scott saw Scott kicking after the siren to kick the first goal for the Bluds.
At quarter time it was the Blues 1.0.6 trailing the Bluds 1.2.8
Louis DeMichele was prevalent in the ruck for the Blues and it was through his ruck work that the Blues went quickly forward at the start of the second term and Johnny Boras showed off his safe hands 40 metres out.
Boras duly went back and slotted his second major of the afternoon.
The Bluds then had the chance for a quick reply with swift precise ball movement but their shot on goal was wayward.
It wasn't pretty football to watch but players like the Blues' James Clarke and Dylan Hollitt were reveling in a tight tough scrappy contest as both sides looked to gain ascendancy.
The Blues opened the lead further when a timely mark to Luke Harrowfield saw him goal from 35 metres out . The margin was now 11 points.
The Bluds didn't relent in their endeavour and this saw the Blues defence scrambling under pressure but they got little to cheer for on the scoreboard.
However late in the quarter Joshua Scott reeled in a classy high flying mark deep in attack but his ensuing shot on goal fell short.
At the major break it was the Blues leading 3.1.19 to the Bluds 1.4.10
The Blues got the initial jump in the second half when a long bomb forward saw Johnny Boras awarded a free kick 40 metres out and Boras went back and kicked his third.
The Blues had the initial upper hand and the returning Kyle Daish pinpointed a pass to Luke Harrowfield, then Lachlan Marsh to Nathan Daish eventually saw Shane Paech receive a free kick for a push in the back 35 metres out from goal.
Paech made no mistake and goaled.
This then signalled a fighting comeback from the Bluds as they controlled the vast majority of the quarter from here on in and a diving slips like mark to Joshua Woodall and his accurate shot on goal reduce the Blues lead to 15 points.
Peter Zarantonello reduced the margin to single digits with his goal.
That margin was further reduced when Joshua Scott goaled and the Bluds now had three unanswered goals to gain control late in the third quarter.
The Bluds momentum continued and it saw them snatch the lead when Michael Pope goaled.
The Blues were under immense pressure and needed to respond and through gritted determination they responded with a goal from Jacob Rance.
The third quarter had been played in two halves with the Blues controlling the early minutes before the Bluds showed immense fighting spirit to will themselves into the lead only to have that thwarted at the death knoll of three-quarter time.
At the final break the Blues were clinging on to a one point lead 6.2.38 to the Bluds 5.7.37.
The final quarter was now all setup for a tantalising conclusion to this opening round encounter and it was more than two points on the line as both sides were desperate to get season 2020 off to a winning start.
Two minor scores to the Blues got the quarter underway before the Bluds had the chance to turn a three point deficit into a three point advantage but a minor score to Joshua Scott saw the Blues clinging to a point lead.
Playing his first game of A grade football Aidan Morrell goaled an opportunist goal when he found himself in the perfect position when a long kick from Johnny Boras wasn't dealt with by the Bluds defenders and Morrell wasted little time getting boot to ball to score a popular goal.
The margin extended to 14 points when Johnny Boras showed agility and snapped a goal from 30 out across his body to the delight of the Blues fans in attendance.
The Blues had now regained composure from their shaky third quarter and the margin extended to 20 points as the loose ball cleared the awaiting pack and Shane Paech was Johnny on the spot and duly goaled for his second of the afternoon.
The opening three quarters had produced tight contested football but now in the last quarter the game was opening up as the Blues looked to be running the game out the better of the two sides.
A strong lead and mark to Joshua Scott gave the Bluds fans reason to smile but his shot from 30 metres out was across goal.
Louis DeMichele was controlling the ruck and this enabled the Blues through Shane Paech to quickly drive the ball forward and Johnny Boras ever the opportunist when in range of goals used his football noice to waste little time in snapping a goal.
The Blues were finishing the game off strongly and it was somewhat fitting that in his first A grade game for over a 1000 days that Sam DeMichele kicked the final two goals of the contest.
The Blues were impressive in the final quarter and showed great resilience in fighting back from what been a serious barge from the Bluds during the third quarter.
ROUND ONE LEAGUE RESULTS
Imperial 12.5 77 defeated Jervois 5.10 40
Goal kickers: Imperials - J Boras 4 , S DeMichelle 3 , S Paech 2 , A Morrell , J Rance , L Harrowfield; Jervois - J Scott 2 , M Pope , P Zarantonello, J Woodall
Best players: Imperials - J Clarke , L Harrowfield, L DeMichele, D Hollitt, S DeMichele; Jervois - J Woodall, T Gibson, Z Barry, S Catford , M Pope
Rambler 12.13-85 defeated Tailem Bend 7.10-52
Goal kickers: Rambler - J. Weyland 2, P. O''Neil 2, A. Gollan 2, C. Walker, K. Harradine, S. Callery, G. Rigney, M. Aston, W. Altmann; Tailem Bend - W. McMurray 2, D. Hogarth 2, B. Hansen, C. Smelt, M. Hansen
Best players: Rambler - M. Hartman, B. Dougall, J. Trevorrow, A. Gollan, P. O'Neil; Tailem Bend - S. McMurray, D. King, W. McMurray, M. Scott, J. Linde
Mypolonga 10.9 69 defeated Mannum 10.6 66
Goal kickers: Mypolonga - J. Moss 4, B. Gogel 2, R. Taggert, S. Elliott, C. Diment, L. Butler; Mannum - A. Smyth 3, B. Tabe 2, D. Laubsch, J. Cook, T. Neville, L. Newton, D. Walker
Best players: Mypolonga - R. Taggert, K. Wilson, B. Gogel, S. Meneghetti, L. Butler; Mannum - J. Keller, L. Newton, C. Rudiger, D. Laubsch, I. Hampel