After months of uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, we take a look at what a cracking start it’s been for the River Murray Football League, including a 10-goal haul for former Bays player Josh Scott – brought to you by Think! Road Safety.
By Nick Dillon
The River Murray Football League kicked off with a bang earlier this month, with only one blowout across two rounds suggesting it could be one of the closest seasons in recent times.
The margin across all three round one games at three quarter time totalled just 11 points, with the results well and truly in the balance.
It has been a great return to play for the RMFL, which was not without its challenges during the pandemic.
The league considered multiple options to fill its bye, including at one stage the possibility of Mundulla joining the league for the year or potentially a combined Mallee Football League side.
Eventually Meningie elected not to compete in 2020, with the RMFL forging forward with six clubs.
League president Terry Connolly said the impact of the pandemic had been felt across the entire RMFL community, but they were committed to providing a place to play for local footballers.
“The RMFL and its clubs acknowledged how important it is for the youth of our community to get back to playing, and there is certainly an expectation for us to lead the way,” he said.
“In addition to providing a physical and mentally healthy outlet for all our participants, the competition also offers a great social connection for families and is part of the cultural fabric of country communities.
“It has an ability like no other to connect, unite and bond communities.
“None of this would have been achievable without the continued support of our clubs and for that I thank them for their support and understanding as they lead their football clubs and communities through this period.”
The result of that support and hard work was there for all to see on the weekend.
“It was just so good to be back and everyone was really keen to get football under way,” Mr Connolly said.
“We had really big crowds at all the games and it was just a relief to be able to play footy again.
“It was just a superb day at the footy.”
Mypolonga is the only undefeated team after two rounds but had to work hard to overcome expected cellar dweller Tailem Bend on Saturday, clinching the game by 10 points after a 10-point half time deficit.
Ten goals to former Glenelg Premiership player Josh Scott proved the difference as Jervois won by that exact margin against Ramblers to help the Bloods record their first victory of the season.
Mannum also bounced back from a round one loss, holding off a fast finishing Imperials to win by 19 points.
Ramblers 12.13 (85) d Tailem Bend 7.10 (52).
BEST: Ramblers – M. Hartman, B. Dougall, J. Trevorrow, A. Gollan, P. O”Neil. Tailem Bend – S. McMurray, D. King, W. McMurray, M. Scott, J. Linde.
GOALS: Ramblers – J. Weyland, P. O’Neil, A. Gollan 2, C. Walker, K. Harradine, S. Callery, G. Rigney, M. Aston, W. Altmann. Tailem Bend – W. McMurray, D. Hogarth 2, B. Hansen, C. Smelt, M. Hansen.
Imperial 12.5 (77) d Jervois 5.10 (40).
BEST: Imperial – J. Clarke, L. Harrowfield, L. DeMichele, D. Hollitt, S. DeMichelle. Jervois – J. Woodall, T. Gibson, Z. Barry, S. Catford, M. Pope.
GOALS: Imperial – J. Boras 4, S. DeMichelle 3, S. Paech 2, A. Morrell, J. Rance, L. Harrowfield. Tailem Bend – J. Scott 2, M. Pope, P. Zarantonello, J. Woodall.
Mypolonga 10.9 (69) d Mannum 10.6 (66).
BEST: Mypolonga – R. Taggert, K. Wilson, B. Gogel, S. Meneghetti, L. Butler. Mannum – J. Keller, L. Newton, C. Rudiger, D. Laubsch, I. Hampel.
GOALS: 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.
Mannum 11.6 (72) d Imperial 8.5 (53).
BEST: Mannum – M. O’Malley, I. Hampel, Z. Bullard, J. Cook, D. Laubsch. Imperial – L. Harrowfield, J. Clarke, S. McMahon, S. DeMichelle, D. Hollitt.
GOALS: Mannum – J. Woodward 3, B. Tabe, A. Smyth, J. Woollard, L. Smith, B. Keeley, J. Keller, B. Quinn, L. Newton. Imperial – L. Harrowfield, J. Boras 3, S. DeMichelle 2.
Jervois 18.7 (115) d Ramblers 7.13 (55).
BEST: Jervois – J. Scott, M. Pope, J. Woodall, T. Kluske, Z. Barry. Ramblers – A. Pratt, C. Schubert, J. Paech, M. Hartman, P. O’Neil.
GOALS: Jervois – J. Scott 10, P. Zarantonello 4, H. Schulz, Z. Barry, L. Kluske, J. Ayris. Ramblers – P. O’Neil, J. Paech 2, J. Weyland, K. Harradine, G. Rigney.
Mypolonga 13.11 (89) d Tailem Bend 9.11 (65).
BEST: Mypolonga – R. Taggert, B. Davis, L. Altschwager, C. Jones, L. Butler. Tailem Bend – S. McMurray – D. Perks, H. Irwin, W. McMurray, D. Finnie.
GOALS: Mypolonga – R. Taggert 6, J. Moss 4, B. Davis, L. Gotch, L. Butler. Tailem Bend – B. Hansen, C. Smelt, D. King 2, J. Prosser, M. Hansen, J. Dawson.
Rd 2 – July 11
Jervois v Ramblers; Mannum v Imperial; Tailem Bend v Mypolonga.
Rd 3 – July 18
Ramblers v Imperial; Mannum v Tailem Bend; Mypolonga v Jervois.
Rd 4 – July 25
Jervois v Tailem Bend; Imperial v Mypolonga; Ramblers v Mannum.
Rd 5 – August 1
Mannum v Jervois; Mypolonga v Ramblers; Tailem Bend v Imperial.
Rd 6 – August 8
Jervois v Imperial; Mannum v Mypolonga; Tailem Bend v Ramblers.
Rd 7 – August 15
Imperial v Mannum; Ramblers v Jervois; Mypolonga v Tailem Bend.
Rd 8 – August 22
Jervois v Mypolonga; Imperial v Ramblers; Tailem Bend v Mannum.
Rd 9 – August 29
Mannum v Ramblers; Mypolonga v Imperial; Tailem Bend v Jervois.
Rd 10 – September 5
Jervois v Mannum; Imperial v Tailem Bend; Ramblers v Mypolonga.
SECOND SEMI-FINAL – September 12
FIRST SEMI-FINAL – September 13
PRELIMINARY FINAL – September 19
GRAND FINAL – September 26