FOOTBALL: In-depth River Murray football league round 10 preview

EXPECT an intense contest when the Blues meet the Bluds at Johnstone Park this Saturday.
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When the two sides last met the game ended in controversy with a siren issue brought to light by the Blues.

The Bluds held onto win by five points and celebrated in front of a large reunion crowd in a classic encounter amid concerns the siren went too early.

But forget the controversial finish the last time these two sides met – the Imperial players and coach Stevie Sumner know they lost the game because they weren’t in front when the game-ending siren sounded.

And on the other side of the fence, the Bluds know they won because they deserved to, and the ensuring controversy should not mar the achievement.

It is hard to predict how the Bluds’ may perform week in and week out – they are obviously a talented squad achieving wins over Imperials and Mannum in tight contests, but currently sit at two wins and six losses.

Jervois’ Matthew Hodge is one of the league’s best players and the Bluds are much better for having coach Josh Coulter, new recruit Matthew Graham and captain Tom Kluske back on the track.

Word has it, it’s Brett White’s week off work and he may make an appearance which will be big for Jervois.

Hodge, Owen Love and Clint Richardson combine well with the Bluds’ young guns Ryan McKaye, who has impressed in his six games this season, Bradley Gabell and Josh Noye.

For Imperials, they’ve lost their past two games against the Roos and Roosters and need to bounce back this weekend.

They know they were outplayed by Jervois in round three, but Sumner is a smart coach and with the quality in his stocks of Daniel Girdham, Aisea Raikiwasa, Dylan Hollitt and Louis DeMichele, who are all firing, it’s a hard side to beat.

It is unusual territory for the Blues to be sitting in fifth position and needing to fight their way back up the ladder, but could bring out the best in their players, starting this weekend.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Position: Imperials fifth; Jervois sixth

Season form: Imperials WWWLL; Jervois LLWLL

Last five matches head-to-head: Imperials four wins; Jervois one

Last time they met: Jervois 12.6 (78) defeated Imperials 10.13 (73).

IT is a top-of-the-table clash at Mannum on Saturday as the reigning premiers host current league leaders, Ramblers.

The Roosters are the in-form team of the competition and will head to the home of the premiers with confidence as they are red-hot at the moment.

The last time they met, the Roosters had a 10-goal win and looked too slick for the Roos.

The win was obviously a turning point for the Roosters, as they have not lost since and continue to power on, having won six games in a row.

For Mannum, the Roos have and despite a one-point loss at Jervois, the Roos have won four out of their last five and are proving they are in the mix for back-to-back premierships.

In their last clash, it was hard to see where Mannum’s goals were going to come from with a lack of a tall target and the Roosters’ Alex and Sam Pfeiffer repelling Mannum’s forward drives with easy marks.

In fact, the Roos’ leading goal kickers so far are the smaller forward-midfield type players in Andrew Pech (17 goals) and Jade Sheedy (15) and Dylan Ribbons (10).

Jake Turner and Chris Ruidger (both 10 goals) are two taller Roos who can get on the goal list if played forward.

Coach Chris Hall has only suited up four times this season but could be an avenue to goal when he plays.

For the Roosters, Alex Button, the high-leaping Jake Sutcliffe, Ben Gogel and Matthew Altmann are all dangerous talls in front of goal and it is a quick moving, well-organised midfield with Liam O’Neil, Pattrick O’Neil, Andrew Angove, Jarrad Weyland and young Aaron Pratt all firing.

A standout over the last fortnight for Ramblers has been Stuart Green, who, with his fitness and strength, has been a real ball winner and a classy finisher for the Roosters.

The availability of Rambler duo Matthew Thompson and Sam Pfeiffer and Mannum’s Michael O’Malley will depend on Crows reserves side selection later this week.

Were Mannum having a bad day when the Roosters caught them out on Anzac Day or are the Roosters the new favourites for the flag?

We will find out this weekend at the Mannum oval.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Position: Mannum second; Ramblers first

Season form: Mannum ; Ramblers WWWWW; Mannum WWWLW

Last five matches head-to-head: Ramblers three wins; Mannum two

Last time they met: Ramblers 16.13 (109) defeated Mannum 7.5 (47)

THE Tigers pounced back into the winner’s circle last week and will be expecting to continue their winning ways as they host Tailem Bend on Saturday.

For the Eagles, it was more of a simliar story last week; competitive for three quarters and to get blown out in the finish, a reoccurring and familiar problem for the young team.

Tailem Bend’s new player Michael Fenney is a midfielder who adds some toughness around the ball while the ruck duo of Rob Thursby, who has returned from injury and new recruit James Edson will help add some height to an otherwise undersized line-up.

Fenney impressed last weekend and, together with the run of Bryce Jaensch, Nelson Miller and Aaron Wanders, form a band of competitive midfield players who will need the support of team-mates for more extended periods of time for the side to be competitive for four quarters of football.

Injury cloud looms over the Eagles’ Brendon Moon and the availability of leading goal scorer Matthew Lokan is yet to be known – both could be big outs of the Eagles.

Mypolonga’s Will Abbott has been firing and is in career best form, Simon Lehmann has been soild while the younger local players in Todd Howsen, Luke Kluske and Lachlan Bulter are settling in as solid A graders with good recent form.

The Mypolonga tall forwards in James Moss, Brad Martin and Matthew Kowald will hold height advantages over Tailem Bend defenders Louis Bannister, Luke Pope, Adrian Lloyd, Jarryd Linde and Sam Martin.

Moss, Martin and Kowald kicked 15 between them last time these two sides met, but with consistent and quality from their midfielders, containment was always going to be hard.

If Gene Robinson is available for Mypolonga it is a win for the Tigers, but they’ll prepare the same as they have done most weeks and expect he could be on Crows duty as he continues to shine at the next level.

Tailem Bend will have a crack – it was Mypolonga who they beat last season to break a 20-odd game losing streak so the belief will be there with the Eagles, which could be half the battle at the moment.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Position: Mypolonga fourth; Tailem Bend seventh

Season form: Mypolonga DLLLW; Tailem Bend LLWLL

Last five matches head-to-head: Mypolonga four wins; Tailem Bend one

Last time they met: Mypolonga21.13 (139) defeated Tailem Bend 10.14 (74)

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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