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GRAND FINAL 2007

Waikerie

16.13 (109)

Loxton

10.8 (68)

RIVERLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE 2008: (Teams: RFL - Barmera/Monash, Berri, Loxton, Loxton North, Renmark and Wakerie)

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BEST TEAM EVER

ROO’S DREAM KICK BRINGS HEARTBREAK FOR ROVERS

GRAND FINAL at BERRI, September 13, 2008

Waikerie

5.1

8.6

9.7

12.9 (81)

Renmark

4.5

5.5

9.10

11.11 (77)

Best - Waikerie: R Boatswain, L Horner, N Tape, S Liebich, B Kayser, J Thomson. Renmark: S Callahan, N Doyle, B Wagnitz, N Farr, A Camplin, M Martinson. Goals - Waikerie: M Ricciuto 4, R Boatswain 3, N Tape, T Hyde 2, D Stevens. Renmark: R Menz, M Camplin, B Wagnitz 2, C Seekamp, H Beavis, J Wiese, H Deer, R Bennett.

Article and Photo By Nick Kossatch

Waikerie made it back-to-back Grand Final wins after their four-point triumph against a brave Renmark in A-grade RFL. Ex-Crow Mark Ricciuto made the game a promoter’s and scriptwriter’s dream when he booted the match-winning goal with just moments left.

The final was an epic for the ages. It was a titanic struggle and a rightful top two match-up. The game began with Renmark kicking with the wind and as expected were without the services of Adam Bryant who injured his knee in the Preliminary Final against Barmera-Monash last week. This prompted for RFL goalkicking winner Ryan Bennett to start in the centre square.

Ben Wagnitz found space and kicked the first of the game for the Rovers after some excellent bullocking work from Craig Seekamp. Magpie Russell Boatswain, who has set himself for a huge finals series, began in sensational fashion. He and Shayne Stevens combined with the ‘Roo’ but unfortunately full forward Tom Hyde did not take advantage.

He soon made up for the miss when he set up Boatswain for Waikerie’s first major. The massive crowd, in the thousands, appreciated the hot weather along with the contest. Veteran Brett Kennedy was matched up on Ricciuto and Scott Jenkins had the task to contain Magpie marking machine Ben Venning.

The Waikerie machine began to click into gear despite the strong, blustery wind. After Harrison Beavis accepted a Wagnitz handball to kick truly – Boatswain, Nathan Tape and pacy Jim Thomson reaped havoc. Riccuito goaled to put his side within two points but Renmark did match the Pie’s in intensity. There were some mighty tackles. Nathan Doyle’s tackle on Waikerie’s Ben Kayser and Matty Martinson’s ‘mowing down’ of Tape pleased the Renmark faithful. They were in full voice.

A reversal of a free kick had the ‘Roo’ goaling again for the black-and-whites after a Renmark retaliation seconds after Martinson’s Tape tackle. Tape’s ability to read the play forward of the ball was a sign of growing confidence that his team-mates would win the contested ball. Tape put them in front when Shayne Stevens assisted him. The margin was just two points in the Magpies favour and the Rovers were somewhat wasteful with the wind.

Waikerie began the second stanza perfectly when Hyde snapped across his left shoulder courtesy of Renmark’s over-use of the ball. Simon Callahan and Wagnitz were getting plenty of the ball in midfield but their opponents skipped to a 15-point lead when Roo booted his third. This was a result from what was judged a late charge by Matthew Camplin on Venning.

Riccuito came off the ground in what seemingly was a hamstring complaint but it didn’t stop Waikerie. A Damian Stevens goal had the Pies in complete control and the Rovers had to find a way. They did and it came in the form of a Matthew Camplin major via Nathan Doyle and with Seekamp doing the hard contested things across half forward – Renmark were well and truly within touch at the long break.

The third quarter was scrappy as Waikerie clamped down on the Rovers and a gettable miss by Russell Menz had them getting frustrated. Trevor Thorpe was moved forward to give Renmark some pace and bite. Wagnitz booted his second to bring his team within two goals. There was a shift in momentum and Heath Deer’s pace was proving valuable for Renmark. Tape, yet again, was clever enough to get a centre clearance and seconds later backed up and crumbed to dribble home his second.

It was withering, pressure-packed football and Menz came to the fore with two successive six-pointers. He roved the first of those from a Bennett contest. Bennett then marked against Jake Collins at the end of a handball between Wagnitz and Menz. It was a mark of brilliance against a class player that put the Rovers three-points in front at the last change.

Waikerie’s Scott Nicholson was put into ruck to nullify Nathan Farr’s dominance at the centre bounces and with Luke Horner terrific at the stoppages – the Magpies drew first blood via Hyde who was infringed by Adam Dunhill. The next few minutes produced some of the most dramatic football witnessed in years.

Beavis’ and Thorpe’s ‘taking them on’ attitude began to cause Waikerie problems and a long bomb from Matthew Camplin gave the lead back to the Rovers. That man Boatswain was playing a ‘McLeod-esque’ match. Thomson cleared to aid Boatswain his third goal but again Renmark answered. Seekamp, who was playing some sort of a game, had his side back in front by two points.

An intercepting mark by Beavis from a Hyde forward entry seemingly had Renmark with the flag. When a 50-metre penalty against Riccuito was not capitalised albeit from a difficult Wagnitz attempt – Tape and Damian Stevens stepped up to the podium.

The pair moved the ball up along the Grand Stand side of the ground. Stevens then looked inside to find Riccuito with a perfectly weighted pass and the ‘Roo’ did the rest. A series of game-saving Kayser marks in Renmark’s half forward line assured Waikerie their first back-to-back Grand Final wins since 1993 and 1994.

Renmark were magnificent but Waikerie finished more magnificently.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: Where does one start? There were many. Ryan Bennett’s contested mark against the brilliant Jake Collins in the third term was a gem. Of course that Riccuito goal from 50 metres was memorable. It was what happened after that, however, which caught the eye. As Renmark pressed forward Ben Kayser took three match-saving marks to thwart the Rover’s any glory.

TURNING POINT: Russell Boatswain’s and Mark Riccuito’s two first quarter goals into the wind. Renmark wasted chances with the wind during the opening term and found themselves two-points behind at the first break and with much work to do.

BEST ON GROUND:  Renmark’s Ben Wagnitz and Simon Callahan along with Craig Seekamp were tremendous as was Waikerie’s Luke Horner and Ben Kayser with those late marks. The ‘B.O.G’ honour belonged to Waikerie’s dynamic recruit Russell Boatswain. The indigenious magical midfielder scorched Berri Oval with his runs as a linkman between defence and the forward zone. His last quarter goal from a Jim Thomson clearance was a pearler.

GRAND FINAL PREVIEW THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

WELL, here we all are at the pointy end of the 99th RFL season and it’s the two flag favourites battling it out at Berri this weekend. In honesty, it is the game we all expected and wanted, the two sides sharing a brilliant rivalry throughout the year and spilling over into the finals series. Enough of the sentimentality, into the nitty gritty and boy, is there some stuff to pour through. Injuries in the latter half of the season won’t have helped their cause. Star forward Josh Howard and gutsy midfielder Adam Bryant (doubtful) played their part in getting the Rovers there this year and will be sorely missed. The Rovers also suffered a big loss in the semi final against the Magpies merely weeks ago and were really pushed by a determined Barmera Monash last week. Renmark have it all against them and they will be well aware of this but they shouldn’t mind. They’re a very tight playing group and it has been yielding results this year. Picking through the team, there’s still a lot to like. Starting from the top, Ryan Bennet has enjoyed a stellar returning season in both midfield and forward roles. The midfield still boasts the strength of Simon Callahan and Ben Wagnitz with Nathan Farr taking the taps. Running link men are also in abundance with the form players Trevor Thorpe, Harrison Beavis and the vastly improved Heath Deer providing plenty of dash all over the park. Turning to Waikerie now and Darren Dean has a fantastic available squad to work with. The amount of midfield rotations at Dean’s hands is astounding. Nathan Tape, Josh Keller, Shayne and Damien Stevens, Luke Horner,  and Jim Thomson all in the mix to get a run on the ball. Their forward line is littered with height and strength, Tom Hyde from the goal square is an experienced customer who kicks bags. Ben Venning is also a key option the Magpies love to look for up forward. Young Scott Nicolson has also been amongst the goals for the Maggies this year and will be hopeful of a grand final berth. Jake Collins is yet another tall option up forward, although he is likely to share the ruck duties with Venning and Craig Miller. Plenty of talent amongst the Magpie ranks, throw in the expereince and guile of say, a Brownlow Medallist in Mark Ricciuto and they’re quite clearly the team to beat. Every game Ricciuto has played in this year, barring the centenary match, the Magpies have won. As with every game however, there is a pivotal player to really break the game wide open, an X factor if you will. That X factor is Russell Boatswain. Boatswain polled 12 votes in the Whillas Medal count on Monday night despite missing a few games in the regular season. His speed, skill and sheer love for the contested ball tearing teams apart at times. Starting off a half forward or half back flank, Boatswain loves to get forward and kick long goals and just runs all day. Matching him up well will do Renmark the world of good. The Rovers have earned the right to be there, the Magpies have earned the right to be flag favourites. We’re all hoping for a tight one all day, the opening quarter should be intense. The predictions list for grand finals is long and varies wildly depending on who you speak to but here goes. The game will be broken open late in the third quarter. As to who by, well, only time will tell.

RENMARK READY FOR REDEMPTION by Nick Kossatch

Renmark secured a Grand Final berth against Waikerie after a courageous and thrilling five-point win over Barmera-Monash in the RFL Preliminary Final at Lakeside. Barmera began more intensely and first to the ball and Jake Smith’s tackle on the Rover’s Simon Callahan set the tone that this was to be an epic. The richly talented Corey Seimers, for the hosts, was causing plenty of problems for the Renmark defence. The agile 16-year-old Seimers kicked the first goal of the game after a clever block by Robert Price allowed him to mark. It appeared nerves were getting the better of Renmark. They soon eased as the blue and whites lifted their work-rate led by Adam Bryant. A typical long-bomb by gun forward Ryan Bennett was backed up by a classy Callahan goal and the Rovers were on their way.

Callahan’s team-mate Matthew Camplin was getting busy across half forward but it was Harrison Beavis’ ‘dummy’ that set up Camplin’s first major. The Roos, somewhat aided by the umpires decision-making, booted the next two goals via Lachlan Middleton’s snap and a soccered effort from Matthew Leyson. The second stanza began with more Seimers magic – this time after taking a one-grab mark. Tyson Swanbury put Barmera back in front and Renmark certainly had a fight on their hands. Bennett made amends from a goal-costing turnover in the first term with his second sortie after Nathan Farr and Trevor Thorpe combined up the ground. Ruckman Ryan Cotter filled the hole in front of Renmark centre half forward, Craig Seekamp, to perfection and Danny Millard also kept the Rover bigman in check. Bennett however was standing tall and he had three goals to half time. Renmark’s Ben Wagnitz increased their lead to 11 points at the start of the third quarter but it was as big as the lead got. A defensive mix-up between Callahan and Thorpe allowed Justin Maschotta to mark and goal.

The titanic struggle continued in the warm weather and both teams made errors but the pressure, both perceived and actual, was immense. When a bandaged-up Ryan Villis marked and goaled just before the last change – the scores were all tied up. One side was to play their final 25 minutes for the year. Waikerie were watching and enjoying these sides battle it out. Renmark made the dream start in the last quarter with Bennett crucial in the first two goals. Scott Jenkins’ move to the forward lines was rewarded with an open goal and when Callahan booted his second – the Rovers enjoyed a 14-point buffer. This did not last long and after Bryant was helped off the ground with a leg injury suddenly Barmera re-ignited their work ethic. Captain courageous Villis booted a pair of six-pointers and it was the Lakesiders back with a narrow lead. The next few minutes produced frenetic football but it was Renmark that produced the big plays non-the-more-so than Matthew Camplin’s brilliant baulk and goal. A missed opportunity by Swanbury could have wrested the lead back for Barmera whilst Seekamp would have put the Rovers two kicks clear.

Barmera kept pressing but the cool heads by the Renmark defenders, in particular Aaron Camplin and Adam Dunhill saw the Rovers home in one of the great preliminary finals.

Preliminary Final

Renmark

3.3

6.5

7.8

10.9 (69)

Barmera/Monash

3.1

5.6

7.8

9.10 (64)

Best: Renmark – S Callahan, H Beavis, B Wagnitz. Barm/Mon – C Siemens, S Fraser, D Millard. Goals: Renmark – R Bennett, M Camplin 3. Barm/Mon – R Villis 3.

PRELIM FINAL PREVIEW THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Renmark v Barmera-Monash at Barmera

AFTER last week’s loss, it will be interesting to see if the Rovers decide to pop in to Cafe Sorelle’s again on Friday night or they stay at home. As irrelevant as that is, this weekend is anything but for the Renmark side staring at its best chance at an RFL flag in 13 years. It’s not very often you run out on the park with an All-Australian Country player Ryan Bennett and given his young age and exuberant talent, it might  be the last year we see him grace the RFL given the bounteous opportunities for him in higher grades. It is on Bennett’s shoulders to get them into the grand final. His bullocking work wherever he plays is unmatchable, factor in his size with the solid frames of Ben Wagnitz, Simon Callaghan, Adam Bryant and Craig Seekamp and Renmark have some big bodies for the slimmer Roos to contend with. Midfielder Ryan Villis will have a huge role to play around the scrimages while playmakers Matty Leyson and Tyson Swanbury will need to work hard at keeping the ball up the right end. Tall forwards Robert Price and Corey Siemers will be relied upon to score and score big. The Barmera-Monash youngsters have had stellaryears, Dillon Millard, Lachlan and Murray Middleton, Jake Smith and Danial Bonnar all taking big steps in their development this season. They will be called upon on Saturday to keep an eye on the slinky playmakers of Renmark, including Matt Camplin, Matt Martinson and jet-legged Heath Deer, who has been one of Renmark’s most-improved this season.   Barmera like an open game to utilise youthful speed and athleticism, while Renmark just seem to rock up on the day and choose what game style suits, such is their versatility.  Nathan Farr’s job in the middle will go a long way to a Renmark win, while Ryan Cotter will need to work hard off Farr to counter his influence. The Lakesiders will relish being on their home turf, having pipped Renmark merely weeks ago. This is a very different Renmark A grade squad though, it should get up.

Second Semi Final on August 30, 2008

Waikerie 19.7 (121) d Renmark 9.12 (66).

Best- Waikerie: J Collins, B Kayser, J Keller, N Tape, S Liebich, L Horner. Renmark: N Farr, M Martinson, A Bryant, J Rowe, H Beavis, S Callham. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde, M Ricciuto 4, R Boatswain 3, D Stevens, N Tape, B Venning 2, J Thomson, S Liebich. Renmark: T Thorpe 3, H Deer 2, N Farr, C Seekamp, M Camplin, R Bennett.

First Semi Final on August 31, 2008

Barmera/Monash

2.3

4.6

7.9

10.12 (72)

Loxton North

2.2

3.3

7.4

9.6 (60)

Best: Barmera-Monash – J. Smith, T. Fittock, D. Millard, M. Leyson, D. Whitbourne, S. Fraser. Loxton North – M. Hampel, C. Vowles, J. Nelson, B. Williams, M. Arnold, C. Kropinyeri. Goals: Barmera-Monash – R. Price 4; T. Swanbury 2; M. Middleton, S. Horsley, R. Villis, J. Maschotta. Loxton North – M. Arnold, B. Stephens, B. Miller 2; J. Nelson, J. Albrecht, B. Williams.

FIRST AND SECOND SEMI-FINAL PREVIEWS THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Waikerie v Renmark at Loxton North on Saturday

Well, this game will be well worth the look, to many, it is the grand final preview. Playing on neutral territory will ensure an even playing field, and augers for a classic contest. Slowly but surely Renmark is regaining its full strength squad, and it might just need it against a Waikerie side on fire.

The midfield form of Nathan Tape, Damien Stephens and Steve Liebich is ominous, while the forward line will be boosted with the return of Mark Ricciuto. Rover defender Adam Dunhill is on the mend from his last clash with Roo, and should meet him again. It’s a great test for the Rovers, who will be looking to make a real stake for flag favouritism. It’s easy to get excited about this game with the winner enjoying the week off  to watch next week’s final.

Barmera-Monash v Loxton North at Waikerie on Sunday

TO be honest, Loxton North really look in deep trouble heading into this encounter. But don’t the Panthers love the tag of being the underdogs?

They’ve been ravaged with injury late in the year, which is unfortunate, and it will take a remarkable effort to get over the Roos, who have had a creditable season to date. Michael and Tim Arnold will be pivotal, Brad Williams has to get at least 25 touches from the middle, while the small forward line will need to put the score on the board. The Roos have it all to lose however, but the hardworking Ryan Villis and Matty Leyson are unlikely to let that happen. Tall forward Robert Price will need to be watched, while youngster Lachlan Middleton will be in the fray once more. Roos should get up.

FINAL GAME JOY FOR BERRI by Nick Kossatch

Berri finished off its’ RFL season with an impressive 50-point win over fourth-placed Loxton North at Panther Park on Saturday. If not for some inaccurate kicking for goal, the margin could have been much greater. North’s form will have to improve dramatically if it is to upset Barmera-Monash in next week’s cut throat 1st Semi Final. The Demons played like a finals-bound side with a dominating band of fleet-footed midfielders lead supremely by Dean Storic and best-on-ground skipper Peter Safralidis. Jay Warland, Ty Allen and the evasive Kirk Harwood with five goals also starred for visitors.

The first quarter began with the two sides desperate to assert their authority and goals were hard to get. Berri were the better side how they moved the ball. However it were the Panthers which drew first blood with captain Michael Arnold posting the game’s first major after his direct opponent, Terry Bonner, infringed. Loxton North’s ruckman, Matthew Hampel, dominated the hitouts around the ground but Berri’s on-ballers took advantage. North’s defence were under pressure as skipper ‘Saf’, Storic and co. continually pumped the ball to the forwards.  Anton Cook stood tall against Berri youngster Daniel Dawson with the latter benched but it was Chris Scholefield’s mark and resulted goal which really got the Dees dominating. Dean Beer speared a pass to Harwood and North’s confidence began to wane after Harwood’s goal on the quarter time siren. It only got worse for the home side with a scoreless second stanza.  Berri booted four majors but it should have been at least four more. Panther Brad Williams tried hard to ignite North and when Ben Miller’s set shot slammed into the man on the mark early in the quarter – next week’s semi-finalists were shot. The highlights kept coming for Berri and none better than Harwood’s wonderful balance. He spun out of a pack and drilled his second. The Demons’ defence were well led by Les Pearson’s dare and dash from fullback and veterans Daniel Haines and Robbie Bonner’s disposals were not wasted. Tom Beech was another who controlled his position at halfback for the blue and reds. Things got a little better for the Panthers in the championship quarter with Jason Goodes being the catalyst. The left-footer’s hairstyle may be eye-catching and so was his football. He teamed with Arnold who booted his and his team’s second sortie. The host’s crowd favourite Darren Jones came off the bench and he provided a bit of steel to North’s resolve. He harassed, tackled and urged his teammates to lift and these ‘one-percenters’ have been Jones’ trademark over many years. Miller made amends after his earlier error to bring the margin within striking distance for his team but they still had work to do being 28 points behind at the last break. Safralidis and Storic continued to mesmerise their opponents and the Dees’ captain’s ability to run to contests is outstanding. He amassed some 30 plus disposals and had a hand in Beer and Harwood last quarter majors. The Bonner brothers and ‘Saf’ linked up in the lead-up to Warland’s goal. This just added insult to the pro-Panther crowd that demanded a much better showing from them.

Round 16 - Scores from August 23, 2008

Berri 11.23 (89) d Loxton North 5.9 (39).

Best-- Berri: D Stone. P Spetialidis. K Harwood. D Beer, J Beech, G Branford. Loxton North: B Williams. J Vowles, M Vowles, A Cook, M Hampel. Goals -- Berri: K Harwood 5. J Warland, D Beer 2 D Stone C Scholefie!d. Loxton North: M Arnold 2, R Proud. C Kropinyeri. B Miller.

Waikerie 17.2 (114) d Barmera 9.5 (59).

Best -- Waikerie: N Tape, S Liebich, D Stevens, S Nicholson, R Boatswain. J Thomson. Barmera/Monash: T Fittock, J Smith, D Millard, N Dillon, T Swanbury. D Whitbourne. Goals - Waikerie. B Vennings, T Hyde 3, D Stevens, R Boatswain. J Bevan 2, A Thompson.. B Kayser, D Collins, N Tape, Scott Nicholson. Banners: R Price 3, C Marks 2, T Swanbury. C Bonney, S Horsley, R Villis.

Renmark 17.8 (110) d Loxton 11.15 (81).

Best - Renmark: R Bennett, A Bryant. H Deer, N Farr, T Thorpe, C Seekamp. Loxton: L Kruger. D Fisher.. S Goetze, M Kirk, L Williams, R Mitchell. Goals - Renmark. R Bennett 8, H Deer. C Seekamp 3, M Martinson, B Wagnitz. A Bryant. Loxton - L William, C Hyde, R Mitchell 2, D Fisher, B Manual, M Kirk, J Smith, R Liddle

ROUND 16 PREVIEWS THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Waikerie v Barmera Monash

WITH final ladder standings all but sewn up, there’s only pride at stake when Barmera-Monash makes the trip down to Magpie Park this week. The Roos rolled Waikerie in round one this year but have failed since to foil the Pies, who have dropped only two games since - to premiership contenders Renmark. Barmera has a very young side full of developing stars but they’ll need to play out of their skins to knock of a balanced Waikerie team. Young key position players Lachlan Middleton, Dillon Millard and Corey Siemers will have big jobs to do around the ground, taking on the classy Magpie midfield with the likes of Luke Horner, Nathan Tape and Shane and Damien Stevens. Tall forwards Ben Venning, Tom Hyde and Jake Collins were superb last week and will be hard for the Roos to match up on, while at the other end, Barmera-Monash will be looking to key forward Robert Price, the creative Tyson Swanbury and Justin Maschotta as genuine consistent scoring options.

Loxton North v Berri

THE Panthers peppered the sticks last week but only scored four goals for the game, crushing any hope of rolling Renmark. They performed well against the premiership contenders, but couldn’t finish when it counted and will be looking to turn that around against Berri this weekend. Josh Nelson and Justin Proud lifted well for Loxton North, while Michael and Tim Arnold are consistent performers for the Panthers. The smallish forward line of Jake Albrecht, Brett Stephens and Chris Kropinyeri have done enough in previous encounters with the Demons, however, without Matt Barry, who has dominated against Berri, the Dees would rate themselves a chance. The Demon forward line has found some touch of late, Matthew Eisenberg, Michael Hill and Terry Bonner always amongst the goals, while Chris Scholefield is a split chance to face up this weekend.

Renmark v Loxton

YOU can never write the Tigers off against the Rovers, they’ve still got some fight in them yet. The linking play of Jesse Smith and Raphael Liddle will test the Rovers’ defence, while Leigh Kruger and Rhys Mitchell lead from the front out of the centre square. In saying that, Renmark has class all over the park. Matt Camplin, Simon Callahan, Ben Wagnitz and Trevor Thorpe are all game breakers in their own right, while Nathan Doyle has lifted in the latter half of the year to boost the Rovers’ tall department. Curbing Ryan Bennett’s influence will be crucial to Tiger chances, while Craig Seekamp can grab the game by the scruff of its neck at times.

TALL TRIO TERRORISES DEMONS by Nick Kossatch

Waikerie’s trio of tall forwards Tom Hyde, Jake Collins and Ben Venning combined for 20 goals in its’ 107-point thrashing of a woeful Berri in round 15 of RFL. The League Headquarters clash was anything but as the bulk of Hyde yielded him a swag of nine goals.

Collins and Venning slotted through six and five majors respectively aided by brilliant delivery from on-ballers Nathan Tape, Damian and Shayne Stevens and Jim Thomson.

In at times slippery conditions Waikerie’s mentioned midfield got on top early as did Jake Collins who marked strongly and kicked truly to open proceedings for the ‘Pies. Berri skipper Peter Safralidis and high-leaping Dean Storic changed out from full forward in a bid to upset the visitor’s strategy.

The two combined successfully when Storic nailed a six-pointer into the wind from a ‘Saf’ centre clearance. Waikerie’s lead ballooned to 28 points after a typical Hyde ‘nudge’ on fullback Les Pearson had him with his second goal for the quarter.

Demon veteran Robbie Bonner was doing his best in defence and for a while he stood the much taller Venning in a surprising match-up. Safralidis booted his team’s only other goal for the term. The experience of Daniel Haines was important across the Dees’ under-seige backline.

The game was as good as over at quarter-time with the reigning premiers leading by 41 points. It was, in essence, a training run for Waikerie such was Berri’s lack of intensity and heart. Their captain, Haines, Storic, Pearson, Robbie and Terry Bonner and Tom Beech showed plenty of it however.

The ‘men against boys’ theme continued in the second term and after a Kirk Harwood goal set up by Terry Bonner and Safralidis – the Magpies helped themselves to a seven-goal quarter. Hyde was the recipient of pinpoint Thomson and Shayne Stevens passes in two of his goals.

Waikerie ruckman Craig Miller’s quick handball to Luke Horner was the lead-up play to Collins’ third sortie. Versatile Collins was aware enough to sneak past the pack and successfully crumb the loose ball.

Berri reduced the margin to 48 points after ‘Saf’s’ second and a classy, curling goal to Storic lifted Berri’s flagging spirits. Debutant at 15 years of age for Waikerie, Gerard Dutton, was introduced into the play. He was illegally bumped after his first kick and Miller made the hosts pay yet again.

The Magpies mauling was in full mode during the third stanza with Berri managing just a behind. It was their ‘best’ quarter highlighted by a terrific passage of play when six players were involved between half back, via Jackson Sutton, to eventual goal-kicker Shayne Stevens.

Venning’s marks must snuff the air of any balls that he grabs! He has the best set of hands in the RFL. The accountant-by-trade accumulated a further three for the quarter. With Damian Stevens the architect in most of Venning’s goals – the rover also assisted Dutton with his first A-grade major and a huge 115-point three-quarter-time lead.

Berri coach Grant Russell told his charges he would have been upset if they were giving 100 percent as a team. That level of effort was given in ‘token time’ in the final quarter of the debacle. Dual majors to the creative Ty Allen and a great snap by the emerging Gary Branford gave ‘life’ to the dull atmosphere.

A further two goals each to Collins and Hyde completed Waikerie’s polished performance where all of their stars shone. Adding to their depth was the return of Matt Oliver who bagged 10 in the earlier game and of course Mark Riccuito awaits for the finals.

Round 15 - August 16, 2008

Barmera/Monash 15.10 (100) d Loxton 9.7 (61).

Best - Barmera/Monash: T Swanbury, D Whitbourne, L Middleton, C Siemens, J Smith, S Horsley. Loxton: N Uren, L Kruger, D Byrnes, B Manuel, B Quinn, J Montgomery. Goals - Barmera/Monash - T Swanbury 5, C Siemens 3, M Middleton, D Whitbourne. L Middleton, J Smith, R Villis, A Svendsen, R Cotter. Loxton. R Collins, R Liddle 2, T Webb, D Fisher, N Uren, T Durling, S Goetze.

Renmark 11.10 (76) d Loxton North 4.17 (41).

Best- Renmark: N Doyle, S Callahan, R Bennett, T Thorpe, S Monaro, N Farr. Loxton North: J Nelson, Matthew, B Mules, J Proud, T Arnold, A Cook. Goals - Renmark: R Bennett 6, M Camplin 3 A Bryant, M Deer. Loxton North: R Proud, J Albrecht B Williams, C Kropinyeri.

Waikerie 27.15 (177) d Berri 10.9 (69).

Best - Waikerie: J Collins, B Venning. S Stevens, J Thomson, T Hyde, S Liebich. Berri: P Safralidis, D Haines, L Pearson, D Storic, G Branford, M Sickerdick. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde 9, J Collins 6, B Venning 5, N Jape 2, S Stevens, D Stevens, C Wilson, C,Miller, G Dutton. Berri: P Safralidis, D Storic, T Allen 2, L Pearson, G Branford, K Harwood, C Scholefield.

THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY PREVIEWS THIS WEEKS MATCHES

Barmera-Monash v Loxton

WELL, congratulations to the Tigers who easily accounted for Loxton North on the weekend. They’ve just about guaranteed they won’t be claiming the wooden spoon this year and reclaimed some confidence heading into their clash against Barmera-Monash. The Roos again held off Berri for the third time this year showing they have what it takes when the going gets tough. However, the Tigers would love to upset the Lakesiders, and what better chance is there than to do so this weekend? Tyson Swanbury has been working well up forward over the last month for the Roos, while talls Robert Price and Corey Siemers will stretch height-challenged  sides. Hard-nuts Ryan Villis and Lachlan Middleton have had their fair share from the centre square and Dillon Millard is a handy utility all over the ground. For Loxton, Leigh Kruger and Rhys Mitchell returning to the midfield will add real value to Loxton’s on ball brigade. Raphael Liddle has found more touch later in the year, and should be the main danger man up forward. This will test the Barmera-Monash defence, this fixture looming as a match most likely to go down to the wire. Game-breaker Matty Leyson will need to be on his game as well, while the Tigers’ Bronte Manuel will no doubt have an important role to play.

Loxton North v Renmark

BOTH teams head towards a finals assault, both sharing similar stories of injury hampering their chances. While slippery young forward Josh Howard will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury for the Rovers, Loxton North will sorely miss utility Matt Barry after breaking his leg in last weekend’s encounter against Loxton. It won’t help the Panthers’ hopes of beating Renmark this weekend, who slowly regain players missing from preceding rounds in their build up to the finals. Rovers should get this one.

Berri v Waikerie

THE Magpies head into this encounter following their second loss to Renmark but will be eyeing this one off as a steadier. However, Berri have shown a good fighting spirit in the latter half of the season, suffering a series of ‘gallant’ defeats. The Demons have got nothing to lose here, and with Peter Safralidis and Daniel Haines in fine form at the defensive end, the Demons would rate themselves a chance on home turf. Waikerie look to have the goods on paper with Luke Horner, Ben Venning and Damien and Shane Stevens all game breakers on the park, they should also get away with the two points.

ROOS REIGN SUPREME by Nick Kossatch ....Sunday August 10, 2008

Barmera-Monash fine-tuned for next month’s RFL finals series with an 18-point win against Berri at League Headquarters. The Roos were under the pump during the first quarter as the Peter Safralidis’-inspired hosts kicked the first four goals of the match.

Berri were much more cohesive across the ground with Safralidis combining well with left footers Dean Storic and Les Pearson. At the other end of the ground Michael Hill booted two goals and despite the best efforts of Barmera’s rover Lachlan Middleton – his team were flat and lethargic.

The Demons’ forward-line pressure worked a treat and terrific attacks on the ball by ‘Saf’ and Storic culminated with a Terry Bonner goal. The Roos’ looked stunned. Chris Scholefield took an uncontested mark and he converted successfully. The visitor’s needed to dig deep.

The second quarter began with elementary mistakes from both sides. Ryan Cotter, Ryan Villis and Jake Smith could not capitalise from the Dees’ defensive errors. In fact Barmera had eight points before half forward Smith booted his team’s first goal. His tackle on defender Daniel Dawson set the tone for the Lakesider’s lift in intensity.

Roo veteran Dave Whitbourne drifted forward to kick a contender for ‘goal of the year’ from deep in the right forward pocket – bowling club end. Suddenly it was Berri under intense pressure but they did counter punch via a second major to Scholefield resulting from a Pearson intercepting mark.

Tyson Swanbury began to present well in the forward lines for Barmera and when he and ever-green Robert Price kicked consecutive goals – the Roos were a point in front. The contest became a see-sawing affair and the home side reclaimed the lead after a great Kirk Harwood mark and resultant goal.

A trio of goals to Price, Swanbury and Lachlan Middleton put the Lakesider’s three- goals ahead. Middleton’s major was a gem not unlike Whitbourne’s earlier in the term. Safralidis missed a crucial set shot and, in effect, it was a two-goal turnaround when Dale Pedlar nailed a six-pointer right on half time.

As dark clouds gathered the Roos hopped to a six-goal lead courtesy of a Villis goal. Middleton’s superb gather and quick acceleration just prior contributed to the goal as well. The Demons were not done with yet however and a Safralidis sortie kick-started a comeback.

The Roos began to over-use the ball and another two goals to youngster Gary Branford and Hill had Berri back in the game just two goals behind at the last change.

The lights were switched on and the heavens opened early in the final quarter. After another goal to ‘Saf’ Barmera’s will to win was greater than Berri’s. Another defensive mistake by the hosts had the afro-haired Andrew Svendson pouncing and goaling. The impressive Corey Siemers, just 15 years of age, put another through in teeming rain.

Lachlan Middleton and Dillon Millard were the hard-running stars for the visitors. Jake Smith and Dave Whitbourne worked hard as respective forwards and defenders in a side that is fully aware they can more than match it with Renmark and Waikerie.

For the Dees it was Peter Safralidis who was magnificent over four quarters. Dean Storic’s marking across half back was a highlight and Les Pearson never gave up in defense despite a couple ‘howler’ kickouts and Michael Hill with his three majors was a dangerous forward.

Round 14 Scores – August 9, 2008

Barmera/Monash 14.15 (99) d Berri 13.5 (83).

Best Barmera/Monash: L Middleton, J Smith, D Millard, 0 Villis, N Dillon, T Swanbury. Berri: P Safralidis, D Haines, R Bonner, D Storic, G Branford. Goals Barmera Monash: R Price 4, T Swanbury 2, S Horsley, D Whitebourne, M Leyson, L Middleton, J Smith, R Villis, A Svendson. Berri: T Allen, M Hill, C Scholefield, P Safralidis 2, L Pearson, T Bonner, G Branford, M Eisenberg, K Harwood.

Loxton 15.20 (110) d Loxton North 4.9 (33).

Best - Loxton: B Quinn, L Kruger, R Liddle, R Mitchell, R Smith, N Uren. Loxton North: J Nelson, M Hampel, T Arnold, D Andriske. Goals - Loxton: J Smith, B Quinn 3, R Liddle, R Mitchell 2, B Manuel, M Kirk, R Coils, N Uren, T During. Loxton North: M Barry, R Proud, T Arnold, J Albrecht.

Renmark 11.8 (74) d Waikerie 10.6 (66).

Best - Renmark: N Farr, R Bennett, J Wiese, N Doyle, S Callahan, T Thorpe. Waikerie: N Tape, B Venning, B Kayser, J Thomson, D Collins, S Liebich. Goals - Renmark: R Bennett, M Camplin 3, C Seekamp, M Martinson, N Doyle, R Menz, J Wiese. Waikerie: B Venning, T Hyde 4, R Boatswain, N Tape

THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY PREVIEWS OF ROUND 14

Berri v Barmera-Monash
THE Roos come off of a well-earned win over the second-placed Rovers and will deservedly come in confident of picking up further momentum heading into their finals assault. However, the Demons also enter this match with their second win of the season behind them and a string of honourable defeats, including a 14 point loss to Barmera-Monash weeks before. The Roos have a plethora of young talent performing well at the minute, including Dillon Millard off of half-back, Lachlan Middleton from the  midfield and Corey Siemers up forward.  Tie this younger tier of players in with experienced heads of Justin Maschotta, Ryan Villis and Robert Price and the Roos have a solid squad built up. Berri are gelling well and keen to shake the wooden spoon, Terry Bonner has been in solid form, Daniel Haines and Peter Safralidis have been good down back and the elastic Chris Scholefield will be hard to stop.
Loxton v Loxton North
CONDOLENCES go out to the Panthers who ran into a fired up Waikerie side last week. They’ve now got the chance to recapture some lost confience when they take on neighbourly rivals Loxton this weekend. The Tigers were once again rolled by the Demons last week and are in dangerous territory in fifth, one win and a little percentage above the foot of the table. Captain Leigh Kruger fought hard through injury last week but was quite impaired all day. Rhys Mitchell moved well but spent much time up forward, his fitness is also sweated upon. Raphael Liddle presented well all day, while Nick Uren continues to lead from the front. Loxton North will front up looking for the win, Ryan and Justin Proud should control the centre corridor, while Tim Arnold will no doubt be looking to get under the guard of the Tigers.
Renmark v Waikerie
RAVAGED with injury last week, the Rovers had an excuse for their loss against Barmera Monash but are choosing not to use it. Good teams overcome adversity, and they’ll have to this week against a red-hot Waikerie team. This is the Magpies’ chance in inflicting some revenge on the side that spoiled their centenary party, and they should take it. Ben Venning, Josh Keller and Steve Liebich were prominent last week, and should maintain their good seasons to date. Expected to return from injury are Nathan Farr, Jaryd Rowe and Scott Jenkins, boosting the Rovers chances considerably.
Round 13
- August 2, 2008

Barmera Monash

5.4

11.6

13.9

16.9 (105)

Renmark

5.1

6.1

9.5

13.7 (85)

 Best: Barmera Monash – L Middleton, M Leyson, M Middleton. Renmark – A Bryant, R Bennett, N Doyle. Goals: Barmera Monash – J Moschetta 6, R Price, T Swanbury 3, C Siemers 2, M Middleton, L Middleton. Renmark – R Bennett 5, M Camplin 3, K Willmore 2, T Thorpe, H Deer, C Seekamp.

Loxton

3.3

7.4

10.6

14.9 (93)

Berri

3.3

8.7

14.10

17.11 (113)

Best - Berri: L Pearson, P So1ralidis, T Bonner, J Warland, D Haines, A Bonner. Loxton: R Liddle, N Uren, M Thiele, A Mitchell, D Fisher, B ·Manuel. Goals - Berri: T Bonner 3, K Harwood, P Safralidis, J Warland, M Hill, C Scholefield 2, J Langdon, D Beer, L Jennings. Loxton: R Liddle, R Mttchell 4, L Williams, J Smith, R Calls, J Fisher, B Quinn, S Goetze.

Waikerie

7.1

11.4

16.6

22.9 (141)

Loxton North

0.4

1.6

4.10

6.12 (48)

Best - Waikerie: B Venning, J Keller, S Liebich, J Thompson, S Pogoreki, N Tape. Loxton North: T Arnold, M Hamper, R Proud, M Arnold. Goals - Waikerie:  B Venning, T Hyde 6, J Collins 2, S Stevens, D Stevens, J Keifer, J Thomson, A Boatswain, N Tape, S Nicholson, l Horner. Loxton North: A Cook 2, D Fielke, R Proud, T Arnold, J Albrecht

ROUND 13 PREVIEWS THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Loxton v Berri

The two that will more than likely miss the finals this year meet in a foot of the table clash this weekend in Loxton. After Berri narrowly fell short of Renmark last weekend, it’s got to be feeling a little bit of confidence coming into this week’s game. Midfielders Chris Scholefield, Dean Storic and Ty Allen continue their solid run of form, while Daniel Haines and Joe Reeks have re-emerged as key parts of the Demon defence. Loxton suffered a hard loss to Waikerie but will welcome back leader Leigh Kruger to the midfield. Bronte Manuel and Mark Thiele stood up in Kruger’s absence last week, while Nick Uren remained his classy self as he continues his solid yet injury-interrupted season. It boils down to how well the Tigers can respond and keep their finals hopes alive, while Berri will just be heading out there to work on shaping their squad for next  season.

Barmera Monash v Renmark

THE Roos have all but confirmed they’ll be fronting up for the finals this year, and they will certainly face a top two side at some stage of their finals campaign if they’re going to win it. Matt Camplin’s creativity in the clinches will be hard to counter for the Roos. Craig Seekamp went into the middle and effectively turned the game on its head and it will be interesting to see if he has another spell in the ruck this week. The Roos have tall key forward Robert Price to lead their attacks and he will be hard to find a good match up for with the injury to Adam Dunhill. Justin Maschotta and Ryan Villis will assist up forward, while Tyson Swanbury has been solid off the half-forward line. The return of Ryan Bennett though, should be enough to see the Rovers over the line.

Waikerie v Loxton North

WAIKERIE showed just how dominant it can be last week with an emphatic victory. It will welcome back Damien Stevens to the midfield, while the Panthers will have Michael Arnold return. Loxton North seemed lost without him last weekend, and will need to put in a good showing to reaffirm some confidence late in the season. Waikerie to be too strong at home, no real way the Panthers can get over them here.

Round 12 July 26, 2008

Waikerie 20.12 (132) d Loxton 3.6 (24).

Best  - Waikerie: R Boatswain, J Sutton, J Keller, N Tape, J Collins, C Miller. Loxton: N Uren, B Kirk, B Manu M Thiele. M Fazekas, D Byrnes. Goals – Waikerie:  T Hyde 4, S Nicholson, B Venning, R Boatswain N Tape 2, J Thomson, S Liebich, A Thomason, Kayser, L Horner. Loxton: A Montgomery 2. Faxekas.

Renmark 15.10 (100) d Berri 15.9 (99)

Best - Renmark: T Thorpe, A Bryant, C Seekamp, S Callahan, B Wagnitz, N Foyle. Bern: T Allen, Haines, I Pearson, M Eisenberg, D BeerGoals - Renmark: M Camplin 3, H Deer, J Howar C Seekamp, R Menz 2, J Wiese, H Beavis, S Howar A Bryant. Berri: C Scholefield, J Warland 3, Langdon, K Harwood, T Bonner 2, M Hill, B Pickering R Bonner.

Barmera/Monash 15.13 (103) d Loxton North 10.3 (63).

Best: Barmera-Monash – R. Price, J. Smith, M. Leyson, T. Swanbury, D. Whitbourne, S. Fraser. Loxton North – R. Proud, C. Wooldridge, J. Vowles, M. Hampel, B. Stephens, J. Nelson. Goals: Barmera-Monash – R. Price 4; T. Swanbury 3; M. Leyson, J. Smith 2; J. Maschotta, D. Millard, R. Villis, D. Whitbourne. Loxton North – R. Proud, J. Albrecht 3; J. Koch 2; C. Wooldridge, M. Barry.

ROUND 12 PREVIEWS THANKS TO THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY

Waikerie v Loxton

Loxton captain Leigh Kruger heads to Shepparton as skipper of the South Australian country team for the Australian Country Championships, and throw Magpie Damien Stevens in that boat too, both teams could face a tougher battle than first anticipated. Stevens and Kruger effectively cancel each other out, the biggest problem falls onto the Tigers, who don’t have the same depth in midfield stocks. Rhys Mitchell, Nick Uren and Scott Goetze were welcome returns to the best players in the weekend’s tough loss to Renmark. Liam Williams was superb with four goals, his height will be handy. Waikerie’s Nathan Tape has really lifted in the past month or so. Last week was no exception  booting three goals in a best on ground display. He’ll be looking to maintain that form against the Tigers. Tall young forward Scott Nicolson has also been a consistent performer of late for the Magpies, haulling in another five goals.

Renmark v Berri

In a top versus bottom clash there’s only really one winner on paper, but Berri has lifted notably since their last hit out. Both Berri captain Peter Safralidis and Renmark gun forward Ryan Bennett will be missing at the Australian Country Championships and full-back Les Pearson will be thankful of Bennett’s absence. Renmark should take the points at home but not without a fight perhaps.

Loxton North v Barmera-Monash

THE Panthers are a great tight unit and have shown that so far this season, shaking off Berri in the final quarter last weekend to record another victory, they will be playing finals football. They take on the Roos, who should also cement their spot in the final four. Midfielder Matty Leyson has struck form at the busy time of year, while utility Tyson Swanbury chipped in with four goals against the strong Waikerie side in Barmera-Monash’s loss to the Magpies.

Midfielder Ryan Villis has also managed to sneak forward in recent weeks, collecting touches in the centre before pushing forward to become an attacking option. Tie these somewhat ‘opportunistic’ forwards in with key forward Robert Price and a formidable attacking side emerges. Loxton North, with Mac Grumett at the helm, tend to morph their forward line as the game progresses. Captain Michael Arnold was superb last week although against relatively poor opposition, while Matt Barry racked up a stack of touches across half-forward. Youngster Josh Nelson also collected plenty of touches on his wing and looks a likely type and Ryan Proud worked well through the corridor. Tough one to call, falling towards the Roos though with Michael Arnold in Shepparton for the Australian Country Championships.

Round 11 - July 19, 2008

Waikerie

3.3

8.9

12.11

15.16 (106)

Barmera Monash

2.2

2.5

5.6

10.9 (69)

Best: Waikerie – N Tape, R Boatswain, L Horner. Bermera/Monash – M Leyson, S Fraser, D Whitbourne. Goals: Waikerie – S Nicholson 5, N Tape 3, D Stevens, R Boatswain 2, J Keller, S Liebich, B Venning. Barmera Monash – T Swanbury 4, R Villis 3, R Price 2, T Fiddock.

Loxton North

2.3

8.8

9.11

13.16 (94)

Berri

4.4

5.8

8.10

10.10 (70)

Best: Loxton North – J Nelson, D Williams, R Proud. Berri – K Harwood, P Salfridis, C Scholefield. Goals: Loxton North – M Arnold 4, R Proud, B Stephens 2, M Curry, C Wooldridge, J Albrecht, J Koch, B Williams. Berri – C Scholefield 4, M Eisenberg, P Salfridis, T Allen, K Harwood.

Renmark

3.2

9.4

11.5

18.7 (115)

Loxton

1.5

5.6

10.8

14.13 (97)

Best: Renmark – J Rowe, A Bryant, C Seekamp.loxton – L Williams, D Fisher, S Goetze. Goals: Renmark – R Bennett 5, M Martinson, C Seekamp 2, T Thorpe, R Menz, H Beavis, M Camplin, B Wagnitz, A Bryant, H Deer, C Edmonds, J Howard. Loxton – L Williams 4, A Montgomery 3, L Kruger, S Goetze 2, M Fazekas, B Quinn, R Collis

PREVIEW OF JULY 19 GAMES THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Berri v Loxton North

The Panthers continue on their merry way in a season shaping them for finals football after finishing at the foot of the table last year. This week they will again be tested when they face bottom placed Berri.  These two teams have enjoyed close games in both their fixtures since the start of the season, the Panthers coming out on the right side of both contests after Berri led at three-quarter time of both games. Condolences go out to young Panther Daniel Hampel who suffered a nasty facial injury in last week’s game against Loxton. This Loxton North side continues to impress with their results with Michael Arnold leading the team well.

Craig Wooldridge notched up a major milestone recently and is still performing at a solid level.

Brad Williams’ work in the midfield this season has also been telling while Tim Arnold has again been amongst the best performers in the Panthers’ side. Berri have improved markedly since these last two teams met and despite losing several players, they’re looking more and more like picking off a win soon. Jay Warland, Ty Allen and Dean Storic continue to rack up touches while Daniel Haines and Bennett Pickering have lifted from the start of the season to be important players for the Ds. Agile forward Michael Hill has also been a handy inclusion for Berri and Chris Scholefield is enjoying a purple patch of late. Tough one to call with Berri at home.

Loxton v Renmark

RENMARK deservedly sit high and proud atop the Riverland Football League ladder after toppling Waikerie in their centenary match on the weekend. Week in, week out Ryan Bennett continues to dominate games, even stealing the spotlight from Tony Modra and Mark Ricciuto with a five-goal haul last week. Loxton’s defence will be tested and would do well to hold Bennett under five goals. Craig Hyde might be the man for the job again, his consistency in defence might well land him with the monitoring of the most dangerous forward in the league. The beauty of having Bennett up forward is that it frees up Craig Seekamp, Josh Howard and Matt Camplin inside the 50 metre arc. This is reflected in Renmark scoring over 100 points more than second placed Waikerie so far this season. The Rovers’ defence has also been tight this season and will be hard to score against, Trevor Thorpe, Adam Dunhill and Aaron Camplin forming a solid running backline. Loxton’s Ash Montgomery, Rhys Mitchell and Leigh Kruger will need to fire together to give the Tigers a real sniff, while zippy forward Scott Goetze will also need to be a major contributor. Rovers should win.

Waikerie v  Barmera-Monash

 THE Roos will be content with third spot come season’s end but would love to put one more over Waikerie before the end of the season no doubt. However, they struggled to shake off a persistent Berri last week, although conditions weren’t great. Ryan Cotter managed some great marks both up forward and defensively and will be a key to the Roos getting close to Waikerie.

Murray Middleton and Dillon Millard were superb across the halfback line and should show similar form this weekend. Waikerie weren’t embarrassed by Renmark last week and will see this match as a steadier before their run to the finals. Shayne and Damien Stevens should get back on top in the midfield while forwards Ben Vennin and Tom Hyde stretch opposition defences.

Young Scott Nicolson has also shown good signs so far this year, while Luke Horner and Josh Keller form a strong leadership group. The ‘Pies won’t want to drop two in a row and should be a little too determined against the Roos.

Round 10 - July 12, 2008

Renmark    4-5 8-9 13-14 17-16 (118)
Waikerie     5-1 8-2 10-4    16-8 (104)
Best: Renmark – R. Bennett, S. Callahan, J. Rowe, A. Bryant, B. Wagnitz, N. Doyle. Waikerie – R. Boatswain, J. Keller, J. Thomson, D. Stevens, B. Venning, B. Kayser. Goals: Renmark – R. Bennett 5; T. Modra, J. Howard 3; H. Deer, A. Bryant 2; S. Howard, J. Rowe. Waikerie – M. Ricciuto 5; B. Venning 3; N. Tape, T. Hyde 2; J. Keller, R. Boatswain, J. Collins, C. Miller.

Loxton North 1-1 8-5 8-8 13-11 (89)
Loxton             0-5 0-6 4-10 8-11 (59)
Best: Loxton North – M. Arnold, B. Williams, T. Arnold, J. Goodes, A. Cook, J. Proud. Loxton – N. Uren, R. Liddle, L. Kruger, R. Mitchell, J. Smith, R. Maczkowiack. Goals: Loxton North – M. Barry, B. Miller, B. Williams, R. Proud 2; J. Proud, C. Wooldridge, C. Kropinyeri, M. Arnold, J. Albrecht. Loxton – R. Liddle 2; L. Kruger, A. Montgomery, M. Kirk, J. Smith, S. Goetze, L. Williams.

Barmera-Monash 2-2 5-6 8-7 9-11 (65)
Berri                          1-4 3-4 6-7  7-8 (50)
Best: Barmera-Monash – R. Cotter, M. Leyson, M. Middleton, S. Fraser, R. Villis, T. Swanbury. Berri – D. Storic, C. Scholefi eld, J. Warland, T. Allen, L. Pearson, P. Safralidis. Goals: Barmera-Monash – R. Villis 3; R. Price, T. Swanbury, S. Fraser, J. Smith, T. Fittock, J. Maschotta. Berri – C. Scholefield 3; M. Eisenberg 2; D. Storic, T. Allen.

HYDE AND VENNING THE DIFFERENCE by Nick Kossatch

An at times lacklustre Waikerie were made to work hard for their 35-point win against improving Berri at Waikerie Oval on Saturday. The Magpie’s Luke Horner played another typically workman like game in his 150th appearance for the club.

          Waikerie full forward Tom Hyde was an eight-goal powerhouse as was Ben Venning who booted five majors. Berris Les Pearson was matched up on Venning early in the first quarter during which the Demons played a 'keepings off  style.

          This style was effective at times however it often led to Berris downfall with Waikerie goals. Venning rammed home the first six-pointer of the game after Hydes direct opponent, Daniel Dawson attempted to break a tackle.

          Berri did its best to upset Waikeries usual free-flowing style and the Demons immediately responded via captain courageous Peter Safralidis. Dean Storic, Jay Warland and Chris Scholefield were involved in the lead-up play.

          Hyde kicked a brace of goals but a Dean Beer snap from a scrimmage closed the quarter with the Pies nine points clear. The quarter also included a superb Shane Stevens bump on Berri’s Matthew Eisenberg.

          The contrasting styles of play continued during the second stanza during which Hyde and Venning booted five of Waikerie’s six goals. Demon stalwart Terry Bonner, Storic, Ty Allen and Jay Warland did their best against the Magpies much-vaunted midfield.

          Hyde’s fourth was a pearler after the bulky spearhead warded off Pearson and Dawson. His second effort and tackle rewarded him with a free kick. Moments later Hyde’s big day out continued with a fifth.

          Berri simply had to play a more carefree style of game rather than careful like they have been as they faced a potential pasting from the 2007 premiers. 

          The Demons were a different side after the long break and began with a Michael Voigt major. In fact the blond forward booted three for the term. Wingman Scholefields wonderful one-handed mark highlighted his special talents and he was involved with an Eisenberg goal. Waikeries lead was shortened to 28 points and it was game on following Voigt's third before the last change.

          The hosts settled in the last term when Scott Nicholson goaled after taking a freakish mark. Their more experienced players came to the fore and when Russell Boatswain gifted Hyde his eighth goal, the game was as good as over.

RIVERLAND – Round 9 - June 28, 2008

Waikerie 16.11 (107) d Berri 11.6 (72).

Best - Waikerie: N Tare, T Hyde, D Stevens, S Stevens, B Venning, L Horner. Berri: T Allen, P Saeralidis, C Scholefield, D Sturic, M Voight, T Bonner. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde 8, B Venning 5, S Nicholson 2, S Liebich. Berri: M Voight 4, D Beer 3, P Sairalidis 1, J Warland, J Lansdon, M Eisenburg.

Renmark

6.1

12.5

15.8

22.13 (145)

Loxton North

2.3

5.6

7.6

8.8 (56)

Best: Renmark – A Bryant, H Deer, S Callahan, M Camplin, A Camplin, R Bennett. Lox North – R Proud, A Cook, M Arnold. Goals: Renmark – R Bennett 4, H Deer 3, M Camplin 3, C Seekamp, S Howard, W Carr, J Howard 2, S Callahan, J Wiese, T Thorpe, J Preece. Lox Nth – B Stephens, J Koch 2, J Nelson, M Arnold, J Albrecht, R Proud

Loxton

3.3

4.5

5.9

7.14 (56)

Barmera/Monash

3.2

10.4

13.5

18.7 (115)

Best: Loxton – A Montgomery, R Liddle, L Kruger, M Fazelkas, J Smith, L Williams. Barmera/Monash – M Middleton, R Cotter, S Fraser, T Swanbury, C Bonney, M Morrell. Goals: Loxton – R Liddle 3, M Kirk, J Smith, M Fazekas, R Mitchell. Barmera/Monash – J Maschotta 6, T Swanbury 5, R Villis 3, R Price 2, J Smith, S Horsley

Round 8 - June 21, 2008

Waikerie 12.18 (90) d Loxton North 10.8 (68).

Best - Waikerie: C Miller, R Boatswain, J Sutton, T Hyde, L Herner. S Stevens. Loxton North R Proud, B Gray. T Arnold, A Cook, C Kropinyeri,

J Proud. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde 4, M Butcher, L Horner 2, D Stevens, C Miller, D Collins, P Schilling. Loxton North: R Proud 5, M Barry, M Arnold, T Arnold, J Albrecht, J Nelson.

Renmark 17.12 (114) d Barmera-Monash 7.4 (46).

Best - Renmark: S Callahan, R Bennett, A Camplin, N Farr, H Deer, A Bryant. Barmera-Monash: R Cotter, D Whitbourne, S Fraser, T Swanbury, M Morrell, R Villis. Goals - Renmark R Bennett 6, H Deer, J Howard 3, C Seekamp 2, J Wiese, S Callahan. Barmera-Monash: R Villis, L Middleton 2, M Middleton, R Price, T Swanbury.

Berri 13.7 (85) d Loxton 11.11 (77).

Best - Berri: P Safralidis, 0 Storic, M Hill, B Pickering, T Bonner, L Pearson. Loxton: R Mitchell, L Kruger, A Montgomery, 0 Fisher, D Byrnes, L Williams. Goals - Berri: M Hill 4, K Harwood 3, T Bonner 2. P Safralidis, D Storic, M Voight, G Scholefield. Loxton: L Williams 3, L Kruger, R Mitchell 2, R Calls, D Byrnes, R Maczkowiack, S Goetze.

ROUND 8 PREVIEW - THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Berri v Loxton   THE Tigers have had a rough month dropping three on the trot, and they’ll be eyeing this fixture off as a steadier heading into the latter half of the year. Loxton remain an unknown quantity deep into the season, although they were by no means embarrassed by Waikerie last week and should take heart from that. You can only sing the praises of midfielder Rhys Mitchell so often and it’s probably every week in these pages. His consistency along with that of Leigh Kruger has kept Loxton high in the stakes for a top four spot. Good to see youngster Bronte Manuel maintaining his good start to the season also, possibly in Loxton’s top five most consistent performers to date. While on form players, Berri’s Jake Langdon has exploded in his past three games, but don’t worry, he’s ok. He would lead the side for hard-ball gets for the year and has led from the front over recent weeks. While picking out inspirations, captain Peter Safralidis continues to put his body on the line, he’ll have an important job to do this weekend. Loxton have had the wood over Berri for quite some time, although last time they met, it wasn’t all one-way traffic. The Tigers have an impressive running squad, for Berri to have a chance they will need to assemble a solid game plan and stick to it like a bandaid to itself.  

Barmera Monash v Renmark   Armchair Experts could not foresee Loxton North rolling the much-fancied Barmera-Monash lakeside last week, but strike me pink and call me a galah, the Roos fell short. Whether they were just off of their game or Loxton North were on top of theirs falls to opinion from both camps, one things is certain however, the loss of Andrew Nunan will have a massive impact on the side. Nunan’s size and athleticism made him a key utility around the ground, but with the outgoing of one gives the chance for another. Riverland Weekly Rising Star for this week Lachlan Middleton actually looks like a scaled down version of Nunan with a similar work ethic, perhaps he wil be the one to take the next step up. The battle of Ryan Cotter and Nathan Farr in the ruck will be good. Farr was impressive in the Rovers’ win over Berri, his around the ground work a tough match-up for Cotter. Trevor Thorpe was blistering off the half-back line over the weekend and will look to have a similar impact, while Matt Camplin and Simon Callahan were great in the midfield. Gun forward Ryan Bennett has a cross-section similar to that of your average garden shed, and will test the best the Roos can offer to stop him.   Loxton North v Waikerie   The Panthers pantsed the Roos last weekend but this week they find yet another challenge. Yes, the Waikerie juggernaut continues to roll on, fast gathering momentum. It wasn’t just the stars on show for the Magpies last week, dare I use the term “second tier” players Jackson Sutton tore the Tigers to shreds while Scott Nicolson took his chances slotting seven goals. The mainstays for the Magpies again performed well, although Loxton had one more scoring shot for the game. Defensively, the Magpies aren’t unstoppable, but their attack has remarkable depth. Take your chances Panthers, they may be few and far between. Having said that, the boys in blue have picked up two on the trot and are feeling rosy. The regular fighters in Tim and Michael Arnold are going to have to be beyond superb to give their team a red hot crack, but make no doubt Loxton North are a capable squad. They love teams under-estimating them and play a free-flowing linking game, which can unravel sides. The challenge lies ahead.

SILENCE OF THE TIGERS BY WAIKERIE'S NICHOLSON'S SEVEN  

Waikerie travelled to Loxton and came up trumps with a 19-point win in a grand final rematch against the Tigers. Spring-heeled Magpie forward Scott Nicholson more than filled the void left by Mark Riccuito with seven goals - six of which were kicked in the first half.     Nicholson, who played thirds football last year, kicked the first major of the game after veteran Tom Hyde's assist. The first quarter was willing with terrific tackles from both sides. Loxton playing-coach David Byrnes provided plenty of rebounds from defence with Leigh Kruger and Bronte Manuel gathering important possessions. Rhys Mitchell booted the Tigers only goal for the term that saw an even interesting duel between Loxton ace forward Ash Montgomery pitted against Jake Collins. Scott Goetze was just shading his Waikerie opponent Jim Thomson but it was Nathan Tape, Shane Clonan and Damian Stevens carving up the host's midfield.    

The Pies were 10-points clear at quarter time with Nicholson their sole scorer. The oval lights were switched on and it was a snapped goal by Loxton's versatile Raphael Liddle that turned up the tempo of the game. Manuel was inspirational as both teams exchanged six-pointers. The margin closed to three points when Mitchell booted his second and a Ryan Maczkowiack poster could have put his side with the lead. It soon was after a classic crumbing front-and-centre goal by Mitchell that seemingly swung momentum with Loxton.    

The stage was set for a thriller as Tape set up a Clonan goal but again it was the fighting Tigers that clawed back the lead. A wonderful 'in-board' handball from Mitchell to Michael Kirk had him posting another before Nicholson's trio of majors which broke the trend of the match. One of those was a freakish snap and his other two were created from pinpoint Tape and Boatswain passes.     There was concern at the Waikerie bench after gun forward Ben Venning landed heavily in a marking contest early during the third term. As his right ankle was strapped goals to Loxton's Michael Reynolds and Ash Montgomery pulled the margin to 10 points. Venning was soon back imposing himself and the RFL's own 'Jonathan Brown' arrogantly kicked truly resulting from a mark. Stevens closed the quarter with two further goals. The second of those was pure class. Clonan and Boatswain combined and the by-product was Stevens who evaded two Tiger defenders to drill a goal in front of the Loxton clubrooms.    

The home side faced a deficit of over five goals at the last break and Stevens again pulled out the Tiger's teeth - metaphorically speaking. He took a lovely intercepting mark and then set up Tom Hyde's first goal as Waikerie put on a clinic. Loxton were far from disgraced however with Liam Williams the dominant ruckman with effective hitouts and strong marks around the ground. He was moved forward to boot a couple majors and Mitchell added another two to finish with five. The Magpie's other young Scott - Pogorecki - was brilliant in the backlines showing calmness and clever ball use and Loxton's youngster Ryan Smith will develop into a great defender for them. Waikerie were outscored in the last stanza but both clubs would be proud in producing an entertaining spectacle.

Round 7 - June 14 scores

Waikerie 18.7 (115) d Loxton 14.12 (96).

Best -- Waikerie: J Sutton, N Tape, S Nicholson, S Pogorecki, D Stevens, C Miller, L Horner. Loxton: L Kruger, R Mitchell, B Manuel, L Williams. B Kirk, A Montgomery.. Goals -- Waikerie: S Nicholson 7. D Stevens 4. S Clonan, B Venning 2, S Liebich, T Hyde, L Horner. Loxton: R Mitchell 5. L Williams, A Montgomery 2. M Kirk, B Pontt, M Reynolds, R Liddle, B Ouinn.

Berri

1.6

2.8

5.10

7.12 (54)

Renmark

5.3

12.11

14.16

18.23 (131)

Best - Renmark: T Thorpe, A Lognitz, A Camplin, N Doyle. S Callahan, N Farr. Berri: K Safraliois, L Pearson, B Pickering. J Langdon, M Eisenberg. K Harwood. Goals - Renmark: R Bennett 5, H Deer, M Camplin, C Seekamp, J Howard, B Wagnitz 2, T Thorpe, J Luiest, S Callahan. Berri: M Hill, K Harwood 2, T Allen, M Eisenberg, 0 Beer.

Loxton North 11.11 (77) d Barmera/Monash 8.7 (55).

Best --- Loxton North: J Geodes, M Arnold, T Arnold, B Miller, B  Stephens, A Cook. Barmera/Monash: L Middleton, M leyson. M Morrell, R Cotter, T Swanbury, D Millard. Goals - Loxton North. B Proud 3. T Arnold, B Stephens 2, J Geodes, M Barry, M Arnold, R Gray. Barmera/Monash - R Villis 3, J Maschotto 2, R Price, L Middleton, D Millard.

ROUND SEVEN (June 14) PREVIEWS -- THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Barmera Monash v Loxton North  

THE one point margin these two teams finished with when they last met is probably not a fair indicator on where these teams are at for this season, but a tough and rugged affair ensues. Given their home ground advantage last time round, the Panthers are going to need to find another gear at the Roos’ home turf. Loxton North have added more faces to their senior squad with a few debutants two weeks ago against Berri, their depth should be able to help them out in seasons to come, but possibly won’t see the benefits of that this year. The Panthers give everything a red-hot crack, but with their medium-sized forward line of Jake Albrecht, Brett Stephens and Chris Kropinyeri, the path to goal is a lot tougher. The form of Matt Barry across the half-back line has been superb, sharking around Michael Arnold like a predator, but he’ll need some help. Justin Maschotta has been a solid contributor in the Roos engine room so far this season, his form coupled with game-breaker Andrew Nunan will challenge the lighter Loxton North midfield brigade. The goal kickers for Barmera Monash have also led the way, with veteran Robert Price and goalsneak Chris Bonney circling at his feet, the Roos have a good focal point and forward line structure to go through. This game is the real measuring stick for both clubs approaching half way, Loxton North need this one to stay in touch with the four, while Barmera Monash have a right to think they should win it, especially at home.  

Loxton v Waikerie  

The long weekend shouldn’t put much of a dent in the Magpies’ momentum heading into round seven, and they’ll be looking for six on the trot when they meet a determined Tigers’ side at home. You should expect a contest when you venture into Tiger territory, although it’s hard to gauge just how good this team is as yet. Loxton put in a gallant performance in round two, and despite being run over in the last term, they can take a lot of heart from the first three extremely competitive quarters. We haven’t seen the best of Raphael Liddle as yet, the time is fast approaching where he will dominate a game and turn it Loxton’s way. Key defender Craig Hyde will no doubt have another important job to do on a dangerous Waikerie forward, more than likely Tom Hyde, in their battle from the goal square there will be nowhere to hide. Waikerie’s dynamic duo Shayne Clonan and Damien Stevens have been scintillating so far this season, they’re going to need some close attention from the Loxton midfield or the game could be broken right open. Loxton will need to be patient with their ball use, Waikerie generally punish teams on the rebound quite well.  

Berri v Renmark  

Renmark are seen by many as the main premiership contender with Waikerie, and are expected to easily account for Berri this weekend. Footy is a strange game though, and teams rise to occasions regularly, and for Berri, they’re going to need to show something here. It’s a tough game for the Demons to win, and if Renmark are fully fit it will be interesting to see how they play at Berri’s home ground. The height and size of Renmark’s forward line will be of concern for Berri, with Craig Seekamp and Ryan Bennett providing options straight up the guts, and small forwards Matt Martinson and the mercurial Josh Howard skirting for the crumbs. Ben Wagnitz and Simon Callahan have been working well with Nathan Farr from the centre circle and around the ground, they’ll be hard to stop. The challenge now falls on Berri’s shoulders, the work of Bennett Pickering and Brett Duffin has been good but will need to lift around the ground to be competitive. Also, keep an eye out for Kirk Harwood to weave some magic, while Jake Langdon’s form over the past month has been superb.

MID SEASON REVIEW -- THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

HEADING into the long weekend off after six rounds gives an opportune time to review the season so far. Waikerie heads the top of the table while Renmark sits happily in second. Barmera-Monash and Loxton have been battling it out for the third and fourth positions with Loxton North in fifth. Berri languishing with six losses at the bottom have a lot of ground to make up before they can think of finals football. Here’s the longs and shorts of each team’s performance thus far.  

Waikerie -  Aside from the round one blemish, the Magpies have, as expected, taken the competition by the scruff of the neck with consistent big wins over the other five sides. Perennial midfielders Damien Stevens, Shayne Clonan and Josh Keller are maintaining the engine room from the centre square and doing it so well. Up forward, their height has payed massive dividends, Tom Hyde and Ben Venning amongst the top five dominant forwards in the competition. Russell Boatswain has also remained a consistent performer throughout the first handful of games, linking between the half back line and pushing as far forward as deep inside the forward 50. Waikerie is very good at getting the ball and holding onto it and are going to take some beating this year.  

Renmark -   Aside from the final quarter fade-out in round one and the embarrassment against Waikerie in round four, Renmark is shaping as the main challenger to the Magpies for the 2008 crown. Supporters would have expected a better showing in round four, no doubt they, as well as the team, will be keen to rectify that when the next opportunity arises. As is obvious by mentioning his name in these pages week in week out, Ryan Bennett rates as possibly Renmark’s most important player. The tall, solid, strong marking forward gives an unmissable target in the Renmark forward line. Ben Wagnitz and Simon Callahan have been working well together, while ruckman Nathan Farr has been impressive to date. You have got to love the emergence of youngster Josh Howard up forward, while crowd favourite Harrison Beavis has bobbed up often enough to cement his spot in a maturing side.  

Loxton -   The Tigers have question marks stapled all over them. Not sitting too badly in third position, they’ve been as good as they have been bad. Leigh Kruger, Rhys Mitchell and Michael Kirk have been consistently listed in the best for Loxton, Mitchell no doubt up there amongst the votes for the Whillas Medal in early rounds. The wings have been a valuable training ground for youngsters Bronte Manual and Mick Reynolds, while Nick Uren has contributed well from defence. Pin-pointing where and when Loxton have fallen short is hard, Ash Montgomery provides a big target up forward and the defensive line appears well-organised, the Tigers are a mystery team that could end up anywhere between third or fifth this season.  

Barmera Monash -   It’s hard not to see the Roos fronting up in the finals this year, their ability to win games when they are there to be won becomes paramount at that time of year. With confidence in one another growing, the Barmera boys really need to consolidate on their position with at least three wins in the upcoming five games. Andrew Nunan has been sensational from the middle along with Jake Smith on the wing who plays beyond his size. Dillon Millard is another of the younger Roos who have really lifted their game to the next level, while the height of Scott Fraser in defence and Robert Price up forward shape a solid side on paper. The performance against Waikerie the second time around was bitterly disappointing from the Barmera-Monash perspective and they will need to show a little more against Renmark before they can consider themselves a genuine shot at the title. They have the personnel, just need the results to match the squad.  

Loxton North -   The gap between a side at three wins and three losses and a side that is yet to win a game this season on the weekend was six points, what does this tell us about Loxton North? They have it in them to come back over the bottom side twice, and they’ve pipped Barmera once, if they win next week, count them in as a roughie come finals time. The Arnold brothers in Michael and Tim have led the side superbly from round one, Michael’s ability to read the ball pivotal in defence, while Tim appears to get under everyone’s guard. Ryan Proud has been the real showstopper for the Panthers, his aerial feats, balance and agility a nightmare for opposition sides. Other consistent performers include mercurial Brad Williams and the mopped Matthew Barry has also delivered well between the midfield and defence. Height up forward has been a problem however, if they can address it, this side could look forward to bigger things.  

Berri -   This team has had all the negative press in the world chucked at them, and in many instances, deservedly so. Sure, things have gone against them in ways of injuries and even some lost recruits but here’s the facts. Twice they have led Loxton North at three quarter time, they led Barmera at three quarter time in round four and trailed Loxton by just over two goals halfway through the final quarter in their round three match up. They then lost each of those four very winnable matches. As gut-wrenching as that is for all involved, the team has improved dramatically, whether it is too late or not is yet to be seen but the odds for the final four are not good. Highlights of the year have been the form of high-marking midfielder Dean Storic, while Chris Scholefield, Jake Langdon and the hard work of Ben Aitchison has been noteworthy. Can’t go past Kirk Harwood though, he’s been unbelievable up forward, a real touch of class this season.

MAGPIES' MIGHT LEAVE THEIR MARK - ROUND SIX
MARK Ricciuto returned to the Waikerie line-up and played his part in their 84-point demolition of Barmera-Monash in Waikerie. 'The Roo' booted two goals in the sixth round fixture and could have booted another four if not for yips in front of goals.
          Russell Boatswain, like he did last week, booted Waikerie's first and in fact Barmera were goal-less in the first quarter. The visitors' Danny Millard was assigned the task of minding Ricciuto and was far from disgraced often running off the former Crows skipper.
          The Roos' Lachlan Middleton was not afraid to throw his body into packs and Matthew Leyson was kept busy thwarting regular Magpie attacks. Both Boatswain and the burly Tom Hyde had two majors each by quarter time. Ricciuto also booted a goal after edging out Millard as ex-Crows team-mates Brett Burton and Simon Goodwin looked on amongst the healthy crowd.
          Both teams exchanged goals during the second term and whilst Luke Horner was the spark for the Magpies - Barmera's Robert Price was just as valuable for them. His brace of goals brought life into the game and his team. Price's second was a result from excellent lead-up play by Justin Maschotta and Tyson Swanbury. Waikerie's lead was pulled back to 18 points.
          A Ricciuto assist to Horner had the left-footer slamming his second. The number 32 and Ben Venning then combined and the result was a third major to Horner during a quarter in which both sides kicked five goals each.
          The Magpies Nathan Tape, brilliant all day, kicked a well-measured major putting them 38 points clear. In fact the floodgates opened for the hosts despite the best efforts of Ryan Villis and ruckman Ryan Cotter. It is great to see ruckmen work around the ground and Cotter did just that by booting a terrific running six-pointer. Price did slot through his third after the Millard brothers Danny and Dillon shared possessions. Venning and Tape were unstoppable during this term with two goals to their names. Venning's vice-like grabs were highlights. His demanding of the ball hauled him in hefty 15 marks to go along with his three goals.
          Barmera's endeavour could not be questioned and Cotter was superb in the second half as was utility Justin Maschotta. Villis booted two goals and was a workhorse around the ground.
          Waikerie had a galaxy of stars - none better than Horner and Tape who hardly wasted their touches. Venning was a tower up forward. Shane Clonan and Damian Steven often kicked or handpassed to each other whilst Boatswain excited the partisan crowd which enjoyed power football at its' best.

Waikerie 22.11 (143) d Barmera 9.4 (58).

Best - Waikerie. B Venning, D Stevens, N Tape, L Horner, R Boatswain, S Pogdrecki. Barmera: S Fraser, L Middleton, J Maschota, M Morrell. R Cover, J Smith. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde 4, R Boatswain, L Horner, D Stevens, B Venning 3, N Tape. M Ricciuto 2. J Thomson, J Collins. Barmera R Price 3, R Villis 2. R Hogan, M Nitschke, R Cotter, D Millard.

Renmark 15.13 (103) d Loxton 11.10 (76).

Best -- Renmark: A Camplin, R Bonnets, A Bryant, B Wagnitz, S Callahan. N Farr. Loxton: B Manual. L Kruger, A Luitjes, D Byrne. M Kirk. R Mitchell. Goals - Renmark: R Bennett 6, H Deer. M Menz 2, S Jenkins, M Camplin. B Wagnitz, N Farr, J Howard Loxton: A Montgomery, R Mitchell 3, M Reynolds 2, B Kirk, L Williams, R Liddle. Loxton

Loxton North 11.11 (77) d Berri 10.11 (71).

Best –Loxton North. M Arnold, M Barry, B Williams, T Arnold, B Miller, R Proud. Berri: D Stork, J Langdon. T Beech, L Pearson. K Harwood, P Safraldis. Goals –Loxton North: J Albright 3, R Proud, B Stephens 2. R Gray, J Proud, T Arnold, M Ward. Berri: D Beer 3, M Hill, K Harwood. T Leverenz 2, T Beech.

THIS WEEKS PREVIEWS  -- MAY 31, THANKS TO THE RIVERLAND WEEKLY

Renmark v Loxton

THE Rovers have one bad loss to Waikerie and threw away its lead at three-quarter time against the Tigers in round one, this shapes as one huge acid test for the Loxton side which was well beaten by Barmera-Monash last week. Renmark has shown it can be a consistent performer this season and so it should be. Its height is a real factor to contend with and Loxton may struggle to cover it, although Josh Howard’s 10 goal heroics last weekend might earn him a little more attention from the Loxton defence. The move of Ash Montgomery into defence last week showed the big man can perform at both ends of the park and Loxton may well need his services back there this week.

The question then lies with who will be kicking the goals for the Tigers. On-baller Rhys Mitchell regularly picks up the odd bag and is third in the league’s goal kicking stakes with 15 for the season, an average of three per game. Unfortunately the next best contributor is Ash Montgomery with seven goals for the season and if he does move back, Loxton needs a focal point up forward. One great battle will be the centre square, if the Tigers can get even or on top of the Renmark midfield, Leigh Kruger could be a handy target up forward. Renmark appear to have too much firepower for the Tigers, if it can maintain its game for four quarters, the Rovers will be hard to stop. 

Berri v Loxton North

Despite a 12 goal defeat at the hands of Waikerie on the weekend, the Demon’s may feel it was one of their most consistent performances of the season, although the Magpie faithful will no doubt question that. Loxton North started the season with a fair bang, winning its first two outings to sit up in the top rungs of the ladder but the Panthers since slipped to fifth on the ladder with three consecutive defeats. There is a lot of promising young talent in both camps and after their round one encounter, spectators can expect another hard-hitting, competitive match. Defensive questions must be asked, the last three rounds the Panthers have lost by an average of nearly 60 points, while comparatively, Berri about 50 points. With figures like that, expect an open, free-flowing game. Both sides lack form, this one will either boost the Panthers’ momentum back to the top four, or give Berri a last-gasp hope at salvaging a season on the ropes. 

Waikerie v Barmera Monash 

AFTER an early season slip-up, the Magpies haven’t looked like losing and it doesn’t appear to be coming to an end soon. Russell Boatswain has hit form early and along with Damien Stevens and Shayne Clonan, the runners seem to come from everywhere when the going gets tough. Speaking of form, the Barmera-Monash team has been superb over the past two weeks, blitzing Berri in a final quarter burst and handing out a sadistic hiding to Loxton last weekend. Andrew Nunan is proving a nuisance for opposition teams, his size and athleticism hard to match up on. Robert Price continues to find the goals despite his age, his sheer height and goal sense crossed with his vast experience a handy pick up for the Roos this year. It was Price who did the damage in round one, if Waikerie can find the right man to stop him, it will be maximising their its of winning and making it a lot easier on themselves. 

BIG BEN VENTS ANGER - ROUND FIVE
WAIKERIE inflicted more misery to Berri by smashing them to the tune of 73 points in the fifth round of RFL on Saturday. The hosts were never in the game as Magpie centre half forward Ben Venning asserted his authority early in the match which was Nathan Tape's 150th.
          His Jonathan Brown-esque game yielded five goals as he and Tom Hyde, with four of his own, were reliable focal points. Waikerie slammed the first three majors in the opening stanza with Russell Boatswain creating havoc across half forward. He booted a 60-metre long-bomb and played a part in Venning's first as well.
          Berri's Ty Allen and Jake Langdon were two tireless on-ballers for the Demon's with the former opening their account after a strong tackle on Josh Keller. The second term became somewhat of a scrap with both sides scoring a goal. Venning's uncontested mark then goal would not have pleased Berri's coaching fraternity.
          The 2007 premiers were wasteful in front of goal during this quarter but its' plethora of runners - Jim Thomson, Damian Stevens, Shane Clonan and Nathan Tape were dominant. Berri's classy Dean Storic was one of few lively contributors and the left footer steered home a goal to close the gap to 25 points.
          A shanked kick for goal by Demon skipper Peter Safralidis sailed out on the full. It clearly indicated that firstly he was hindered by an ankle injury and secondly it was not Berri's day.
          The championship stanza had Waikerie playing at its' best with seven goals. None were any better than Scott Nicholson's six-pointer. He was pressed hard up on the south-eastern boundary but somehow managed to curl a gem-of-a-goal Alan Didak-style.
          The match became heated with an off-the-ball incident involving Berri's Kirk Harwood and 'Pie Josh Keller. Keller was helped off the field and the Waikerie supporters were bemused to what had happened.
          Chris Scholefield, enjoying a career year, kicked both of Berri's goals for the term but they were best part of 10-goals down at the last change.
         Waikerie's Jake Collins' versatility was on display when moved forward from defence for the last term. It was a procession as the Magpies piled another six goals. A brilliant Clonan intercept and goal and a Steve Liebich hanger followed by a goal on the boundary by Thomson were more Waikerie highlights.
          Harwood managed two goals and he along with Langdon, Storic, Scholefield, Jay Warland and Allen were the standouts. It's up to the rest to show their worth. Contrastingly Waikerie's lesser lights do play like they care.
 

Round 5  - May 24, 2008

Renmark 25.19 (169) d Loxton North 9.7 (61).

Best - Renmark: J Howard, S Callahan, H Deer, A Bryant, S Edward, S Jenkins. Loxton North - T Arnold, R Proud. Goals - Renmark: J Howard 10, R Bennett, H Beavis, M Camplin, H Deer. C Seekamp, S Jenkins 2, M Martinson, S Callahan. B Wagnltz. Loxton North: J Albrecht 3, R Proud, R Gray 2, B Stephens, M Barry.

Waikerie 19.9 (127) d Berri 8.6 (54).

Best - Waikerie. A Venning, J Thomson, S Clonan, R Boatswain, N Tape, D Stevens. Berri. J Langoon, T Allen, D Store. J Warland, K Harwood, C Scholefleld. Goals Waikerie: B Venning 5, T Hyde 4, S Clonan, R Boatswain, S Nicholson 2 D Stevens, S Liebich, J Collins, S Pogorelec. Berri. C Scholefield, K Harwood 2, D Storic, T Allen, M Eisenberg. D Beer.

Barmera Monash 15.8 (98) d Loxton 9.4 (58).

Best - Barmera Monash: A Nunan, Danny Millard, Dillon Millard, R Price, M Middleton, J Maschotta. Loxton. L Kruger, A Montgomery, R Mitchell, L Williams, B Manual, D Byrnes. Goals Barmera Monash: R Price 5, L Middleton 2, D Warren, D Whitbourne, J Smith, R Villis, R Maschata, J Maschotta, R Hogan, A Nunan. Loxton; R Mitchell 2, B Kirk, L Williams, C Hyde, S Goats, J Smith, B Manual, B Proud.­­

RIVERLAND PREVIEW FOR MAY 24 from The Riverland Weekly

Match of the Round -  Loxton v Barmera-Monash

AFTER a week off for most players, round five looms this weekend to complete the loop. Every team will have played one another and the ladder couldn’t be much tighter, well, the top five anyway. Loxton midfielder Leigh Kruger amassed some 30 touches on the weekend in the association match against the Mallee and continues his rich vein of form. Going out on a limb here with this statement, but I truly believe if Kruger gets over 25 touches Loxton will win. So there you go Barmera, there lies your challenge, stop Kruger. Loxton have been solid throughout the first four games predictably dropping the Anzac Day game to Waikerie but their structure is working well with mid-sized  players Rhys Mitchell and Nick Uren providing ideal drive from the backline and through the midfield. Ash Montgomery has been struggling with back problems of late, and after resting up over the weekend he should show signs of recovery this weekend depending on how much Dennis Finn has worked on him. The Roos venture back to their home ground proudly carrying the Fisher Cup and although that doesn’t mean a lot to Loxton, it does boost Barmera-Monash’s confidence levels. Dillon Millard has had an impressive month on the field so far and if Price can get amongst the goals again this game could turn into a real shootout.

With an impressive win to start the season, a close loss the week after followed by an absolute hiding, then a solid win again, Barmera remain a relatively random team and lack consistency. The talent is clearly there, find the consistency, stop Kruger, you give yourself the best chance.

Berri v Waikerie

IN one of the mysteries of the RFL, Berri always seems to give Waikerie a genuine shake up. Sitting four and zip on the bottom is not an attractive position to be in, while Waikerie pecked the eyes out of the Rovers and well and truly appear to be finding its stride. You’ve got to admire the way Damien Stevens goes about his game but Waikerie probably have the most depth in the league as far as midfielders are concerned and they’re sure to be a handful again this weekend. Shayne Clonan, Luke Horner and Josh Keller have been right amongst it from the start and no doubt they’ll be looking for a shared team effort. Forget encephalitis, Riverlanders are catching ‘Roo Fever’, it’s been detected at two grounds already this season, and chances are it may spread to Berri also. For Berri, Dean Storic and Ty Allen have vastly improved in the engine room, the team just needs to string together some consistency and they should give the Magpies a serious challenge.  

Loxton North v Renmark

 FANS of both teams were delightfully impressed with their start to the season, yet there they both are, two wins, two losses after four rounds. While many at Renmark considered the round one defeat a mere blip on the radar, they obviously didn’t see Waikerie’s submarine nearing. Take nothing away from Waikerie though, they were too good on the day, the Rovers – not good enough. No doubt they see this week as a genuine chance of redemption and re-instil themselves with the belief they had in the first few rounds, especially in their massive wins over Barmera-Monash and Berri.

The Rovers are the highest scoring side in the league ands pending on Ryan Bennett’s ankle and Craig Seekamp’s form, the Panthers might find themselves up against it defensively in the height department. Tim and Michael Arnold are catalysts in the Panther line-up, and with dangerous small utility Ryan Proud scouting about, the form is there to take it right up and beyond the Rovers. They play with a lot of heart, and won’t give it away at any stage, they’ll need a solid game plan though.

RFL v MFL PREVIEW from The Riverland Weekly's Rob McLean
AFTER handing out an 80-point hiding to the Mallee interleague side last year at Renmark, the Riverland representative side will be going into this weekend’s match at Coonalpyn with high expectations to repeat the dosage. But maybe the spotlight shouldn’t be on them. Most of the interest lies on how competitive the Mallee side will be, and undoubtedly they are considering themselves more than worthy opponents this year. There’s a lot to like about both squads, availability again could prove an issue for either side. Being played in the far-reaching corner of Coonalpyn might work in the Mallee sides favour as Renmark did last year, so the home ground advantage could prove pivotal for starters. The MFL is a proud league and after having some sort of dominance over the Riverland in the past, they will be looking to re-assert that dominance with a win this weekend. Border Downs-Tintinara have developed a solid senior squad this season, despite having players in the caliber as Ashley Masters missing with injury. The Crows would challenge a few senior country teams in South Australia, the influence of their star players will be of high importance. Again, pending availability, Lachlan and Josh Richardson have been in solid form early, while Mark Vandeluer remains consistent again this season. Karoonda have to be applauded for their efforts to get back into the league this year, and the consistent efforts from young Corey Knight and Brodie Chinner have been rewarded with squad selection. The emergence of Lameroo as a strong side in the Mallee league is a positive sign for the MFL side, last year’s Mail Medal winner Shaun Walker complimented by the resilient Brad Zerk and the dangerous Chris Philbey. With a disappointing start to the season, Murrayville still deliver quality players with Damien Fenoughty and Rian Crane finding early season form also. Matt Seyers has had a brilliant start to 2008 at Peake, kicking plenty of goals for the Lions who have been the struggling side in the league of late. Seyers is a class player, if he were to pull on the Mallee guernsey it would make a huge difference to the team’s chances and confidence. Pinnaroo stalwarts Sunyl Vogt and Wade Nickolls are again in the squad, both have been consistent again this year and are good leaders on the field. The Riverland squad will no doubt have various withdrawls, but consistent performers are expected to again put their hand up. Tim and Michael Arnold are both contrasting in size but big interleague performers for the Riverland, while Loxton forward Ash Montgomery’s form should earn him a berth, especially with the withdrawal of inform Renmark forward Ryan Bennett with injury. Leigh Kruger is hoped to again don the Saint’s stripes as he has in the past, while youngster Rhys Mitchell has performed well to date. Barmera Monash utility Dillon Millard has also struck form at both ends of the ground and should also secure a spot, while Andrew Nunan’s size would be handy for the Riverland side. Berri’s Peter Safralidis always places a great amount of respect on interleague clashes and is keen to line up, while forwards Kirk Harwood and Dean Beer have been amongst the goals early this year. Renmark’s Ben Wagnitz and Matthew Camplin have sparked the Rovers this year, and ruckman Nathan Farr has played well to earn a call up too. Waikerie midfielders Damien Stevens and Shayne Clonan are also high on the list for the final side, Stevens was brilliant at State country level last year and hopes are he will front up again. Ben Venning has also shown he is up to scratch, and the Collins boys have also been rewarded for their consistency with squad selection. It augers out for a good match if both sides can put their best on the park, but the Riverland team may have size on their side come Saturday. Expect a competitive match.

Round 4 - May 10, 2008

Waikerie

5.3

8.3

13.7

15.8 (98)

Renmark

0.1

2.3

2.3

4.7 (31)

Best - Waikerie: J Keller, B Venning, D Stevens. Renmark: N Farr, R Bennett, A Camplin. Goals ­Waikerie: M Riccuito 5, B Venning, T Hyde 3, j Collins 2, S Clonan, S Liebich. Renmark: R Bennett, B Watnitz, T Thorpe, H Beavis.

Barmera

1.1

7.5

9.7

16.10 (106)

Berri

4.5

4.8

8.14

8.14 (62)

Best - Barmera: R Nunan, M Middleton, L Middleton. Berri: D Storie, J Langoon, C Schoefield. Goals - Barmera: R Price 5, R Villis 3, M Middleton, D Millard 2, L Middleton, R Nunan, J Maschotta, J Smith. Berri: D Beer 3, D Langdon 2, R Bonner, D Storie, C Schoefiled.

Loxton

3.2

7.4

12.8

15.11 (101)

Loxton North

6.2

8.6

11.7

13.12 (90)

Best - Loxton: R Mitchell, A Montgomery, C Thiele. Loxton North: T Arnold, J Nelson, B Miller. Goals - Loxton: R Mitchell 5, L Williams, R Smith 2, L Kruger, M Thiele, A Montgomery, Fielke, D Fisher, D Byrnes. Loxton North: R Proud, T Arnold, J Albrecht 3, M Barry, C Wooldridge, C Kropinyeri, S Golding.

FULL-ON 'MONTY' EXPOSES BERRI - RND THREE (May 3, 2008)

BY Nick Kossatch
FIVE second-half goals to Ash Montgomery catapulted Loxton to a 35-point win against a fighting Berri in round three of the RFL. The big and agile forward exploded during the third term ripping the game from Berri with three majors - all from strong pack marks.
During the first half it was Berri's Chris Scholefield's domination off his wing and ruckman Ben Atchison's physical impact that upset the hosts off their usual free flowing game. Scholefield's ability to read the play as well as playing the 'quarterback' role was first class.
The Demons booted the first two goals via Matthew Eisenberg and Kirk Harwood. The latter was from a dubious 50-metre penalty and the umpires did their best in getting the home crowd restless.
 The Tigers were wasteful in front of the sticks but skipper Leigh Kruger won plenty of the football. The clash between Wanderers recruit Luke Shane and Montgomery was even with Shane running off at every opportunity from centre half back.
Berri held a narrow lead at the long break and
Montgomery's influence began to tell during the second quarter in the ruck. Kruger, despite the best efforts of Berri's Robbie Bonner tagging him, booted a captain's major as he ran through the middle of the ground. Their lead was short-lived after a second sortie to Harwood resulting from Terry Bonner's clever bodywork just before half time.
Shane was removed off
Montgomery early in the third term after the big Tiger booted two majors. A brilliant spoil by Loxton's Rhys Mitchell had him drilling his first putting them 15-points clear. Defensive errors were proving costly for Berri.
'Monty' rammed his third from a feigned handball before successive goals to Harwood closed the margin within three straight kicks at three quarter time.
Youngster Daniel Dawson was given the task on
Montgomery and did a superb job in the last quarter. 'Monty's two goals in the term were from his groundwork agility. Harwood booted his fifth as well to continue his consistent goal-kicking year. Scott Goetze and Mitchell snared two goals each in a game where both sides have plenty of improvement left in them.

Renmark 19.18 (132) d Berri 12.7 (79).

Best - Renmark: N Farr, R Bennett, B Wagnitz, S Callahan, A Dunhill, S Jenkins. Berri: T Bonner, K Harwood, D Beer, B Atchinson, T Allan, D Storic. Goals - Renmark: R Bennett 7, C Seekamp 4, B Wagnitz, M Camplin 2, R Menz, J Howard. M Martinson, H Beavis. Berri: T Bonner 4, D Beer 3, J Warland, K Harwood 2, D Storic.

Loxton North 11.9 (75) d Barmera/Monash 11.8 (74).

Best – Loxton North: T Arnold, B Williams, M Arnold, B Stephens, R Gray, C Wooldrige. Barmera: D Millard, A Nunna, J Selfe, S Fraser, R Price, N Kuhn. Goals – Loxton North: R Proud 4, A Cook 2, J Nelson. J Proud, B Stephens, T Arnold, C Kropinyeri. Barmera. R Villis 4, D Millard, D Warden 2, R Price, S Horsley, A Nunan.

Waikerie 13.15 (93) d Loxton 8.7 (55).

Best -- Waikerie: N Tape, J Keller. R Boatswain, J Thomson, J Collins, J Sutton. Loxton. N Upen, L Kruger, C Hyde, C Thiele, M Kirk, L Williams. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde 4, M Ricciuto, S Clonan 2, J Thomson, R Boatswain, J Collins, N Tape, S Nicholsoa Loxton: S Goetze 3, C Thiele 2, B Manuel, L Williams, R Mitchell.

May 3rd Previews ---   Match of the Round - Barmera-Monash v Renmark

YOU would struggle to find two more evenly matched teams in the league for this week’s match of the round. Renmark, fresh from their heated battle against Berri and their beach theme night last week, will look to stamp their authority on the competition against the Roos, who were brought back to earth by Loxton North last week. After defeating Berri the week before, the slinky Panthers snuck home by the barest of margins over the Roos in a real shock. So it comes down to the Roos versus Rovers to establish some form of order in the topsy-turvy start to the season. Ruckman Nathan Farr was impressive for Renmark last week, working his taps into the midfielder’s hands, giving Wagnitz and Bryant first use. The battle between Farr and Cotter in the ruck will be pivotal. This is where it all starts for both teams. Villis was potent for Barmera up forward last week, but the key position forwards will need to do much more against the Rovers for them to win. The likes of Darrin Warren and Dillon Millard have been solid contributors on the scoreboard, but they will need to at least double last weeks effort against a free-running Renmark side. Look for the big bodies of Craig Seekamp and Ryan Bennett to provide key avenues to goal for the Rovers, they kicked 11 between them last week, what any coach would want from their key forwards. Should be a great match.

Loxton v Berri

AFTER a dour start to the season, Berri faces Loxton on the Tiger’s turf. No doubt the Dees would love to kick start their season with a win over Loxton, but it’s a high ask with injuries taking their toll and the Tigers finding a reasonable vein of form early. The Tigers battled valiantly against a classy Waikerie outfit that simply performed better on the day and with the win against Renmark the week before, they would be backing themselves in. The old firm of Kruger, Uren and prodigal son Cohen Thiele have already hit their straps and are looking good for a solid season. It’s now a case of waiting for the rest of the team to hit that level. If they do, look out league. Berri are facing a third loss, and after a run of losses to Loxton last year, the motivation to win will be there.

Aitchison is holding his own in the ruck, if Berri can sort out their midfield structure, expect a vast improvement.

Full back Luke Shane has been solid all season and looks to run down the ground in a similar vein to Safralidis, whose contribution will also be pivotal to the result.

Waikerie v Loxton North

WHEN you play in front of about 2500 people the week before, this match might seem a little under whelming compared to last Friday night with Mark Ricciuto returning. Loxton North have relished in their dream start to the season with a perfect record, here lies the real test. If the Panthers can make it three wins from three starts it will be nothing short of a miracle. Having said that, they’ve created their own destiny so far, the form the two Arnold boys are in and throw Ryan Proud’s past few games in the loop and you’ve got some class on the park. The question lies with their ability to score against a prudent Waikerie defence. Greg Dubrich, Daniel Collins and Danial Smith are likely to think otherwise, after limiting Loxton to eight goals for the game. It’s a high ask for the Panthers who are floating on cloud nine at the moment, but coach Mac Grummet would know it’s too early to get carried away as yet.  Again, Clonan and Tape were solid in the centre for the Pies, and Waikerie looks to have found another gear from round one, sparked by an ex-AFL player returning to home soil.

Round 2 - April 25, 26 2008

Renmark 19.18 (132) d Berri 12.7 (79).

Best - Renmark: N Farr, R Bennett, B Wagnitz, S Callahan, A Dunhill, S Jenkins. Berri: T Bonner, K Harwood, D Beer, B Atchinson, T Allan, D Storic. Goals - Renmark: R Bennett 7, C Seekamp 4, B Wagnitz, M Camplin 2, R Menz, J Howard. M Martinson, H Beavis. Berri: T Bonner 4, D Beer 3, J Warland, K Harwood 2, D Storic.

Loxton North 11.9 (75) d Barmera/Monash 11.8 (74).

Best – Loxton North: T Arnold, B Williams, M Arnold, B Stephens, R Gray, C Wooldrige. Barmera: D Millard, A Nunna, J Selfe, S Fraser, R Price, N Kuhn. Goals – Loxton North: R Proud 4, A Cook 2, J Nelson. J Proud, B Stephens, T Arnold, C Kropinyeri. Barmera. R Villis 4, D Millard, D Warden 2, R Price, S Horsley, A Nunan.

Waikerie 13.15 (93) d Loxton 8.7 (55).

Best -- Waikerie: N Tape, J Keller. R Boatswain, J Thomson, J Collins, J Sutton. Loxton. N Upen, L Kruger, C Hyde, C Thiele, M Kirk, L Williams. Goals - Waikerie: T Hyde 4, M Ricciuto, S Clonan 2, J Thomson, R Boatswain, J Collins, N Tape, S Nicholson Loxton: S Goetze 3, C Thiele 2, B Manuel, L Williams, R Mitchell.

Anzac weekend previews --  Match of the round: Waikerie v Loxton

HOW good does it get?  Last year’s grand finalists hit centre stage in a twilight Anzac Day blockbuster at Waikerie. In a weird twist of fate, Collingwood weren’t the only Magpies to be downed by the Roos on the weekend, after Barmera-Monash clipped Waikerie’s wings to run out winners. With pride slightly stung, it is a fair bet Waikerie will be far from complacent heading into this match against last week’s round one winners Loxton.

The Tigers found their bite in the final term over Renmark, but will need all four quarters this week to overcome a seething Waikerie side at home. Waikerie dropped just one game at home last season and they would love to keep that reputation up, and having been Loxton’s bogeyman throughout 2007, you can bet the Tigers will be looking to extinguish that reputation. The sneaky Shayne Clonan and Nathan Tape love playing Loxton, as past results would indicate, and they remain important in this fixture. Factor in the sheer size and skill of Mark Ricciuto and suddenly Riverland football is in for a real treat. Loxton youngster Mick Reynolds has set himself up for a big year with solid first round form and with the consistency of Leigh Kruger and physicality of player/coach David Byrnes, Loxton has the personnel to flake the Pie’s pastry. It’s a big test of depth for both sides, who badly want to win, desperation will be a key.

Berri v Renmark

BOTH Renmark and Berri suffered close first round losses after last quarter fade-outs. And now both teams begrudgingly stare down the wide expanses of the Renmark Oval. The open space will no doubt test the stamina of both sides, and given the early stage of the season, it is not a bad time to get a gauge on where the heart rate is at. While Berri will be looking to get back to  quick, flowing football, the height of Renmark might be its strength.

Condolences to Sam Brand with a dislocated patella. He’s played five games of footy in two seasons, talent missing in action. For the Rovers, Craig Seekamp has to be the barometer. Keep him on the ground, and cramp free,  he gives them the best chance of winning. The two sides have recruited heavily in the off-season, drastically changing their personnel and line-up.

Barmera-Monash v Loxton North

This will be an interesting gauge on where both these sides are at. Loxton North has an array of youthful utility like players, with plenty of pace and spring in their leap. Barmera-Monash too sport a more traditional football team with a good mix of key position and utility players. Michael  Arnold stayed in the back lines for the Panthers last weekend, repelling plenty of forward attacks but Berri still managed to get out to two five goal leads in the match. Tall forward Robert Price  rises above packs well and can prove costly.  Both sides brimming with confidence, one to come crashing back down to earth. If the Panthers rock up to play, should be a great game. Will be tough to stop the Roos should they get the early jump.

NEW PRICE IS RIGHT FOR 'ROOS by Nick Kossatch
BARMERA-MONASH overcame the late withdrawals of Tyson Swanbury and Ryan Villis to upset reigning premiers Waikerie by 15 points in round one of the RFL at Lakeside on Saturday.
In a game marred by skill errors and poor decision-making - it were the Lakesiders that improved in these facets during the second half. Prized Jeparit recruit Robert Price returned to his old club in emphatic fashion. The mobile forward-cum-ruckman booted five goals in the middle quarters.
It was Waikerie that looked dangerous during the first quarter with its' usual suspects Jim Thomson, off a wing, on-ballers Shane Clonan and Damien Stevens all finding plenty of the ball. A highlight was Stevens spinning out of trouble and his 'one-two' with Luke Horner resulted in a Clonan goal.
For the entire Magpies' efforts they did not hurt the Roos on the scoreboard. Andrew Nunan's workrate and ground coverage stood out for the home side whilst teammate Nick Kuhn's battle against Waikerie's full forward Tom Hyde was captivating.
Barmera were against the wind during the second term and with Dillon Millard quelling Thomson's influence - slowly they matched Waikerie's early dominance. Sam Horsely, who booted the host's sole goal in the opening quarter, set up Price for his first.
Another one of Barmera's recruits Justin Maschotta (Modbury) was providing great support for Nunan. The stocky Maschotta combined with Dale Pedler ending with a strong Price pack mark and goal that was preceded by a Hyde major following more Stevens brilliance. The large home crowd found more voice when Dave Whitbourne slotted another on the half time siren after another Maschotta assist making Waikerie's lead just six points.
New Barmera coach Terry Eleftheriadis revved up his charges further during his half time address and it showed early in the third term. As Waikerie fumbled, back-to-back goals from Price had Barmera in front and he was simply too tall for the 'Pies Ben Kayser. Waikerie finally broke their 'mini goal drought' after an unmanned Clonan drilled his second major and them regaining the lead. Jake Collins - Waikerie's Blackwood recruit - who was presentable forward all day, booted truly to put them eight points ahead. The Roos had opportunities to wrest back the lead but not for turnovers and indecision. Price's third goal for the quarter promised a frenetic final stanza with the game anybody's guess.
Eleftheriadis maintained his calm approach stressing to his players to run through the lines and persist as they have all game. The game's intensity lifted and it was the home team that drew first blood via the aptly named Chris Bonney. The brilliant Nunan intercepted an errant kick-out resulting in that major. Waikerie struggled to find a winner up forward and Barmera began to run the ball out from defence.
Ryan Maschotta and brothers Dillon and Danny Millard were getting vital touches in the backlines whilst youngsters Brad Boughton and Bonney continued to spark Barmera. Consecutive goals to Justin Maschotta would make it difficult for Waikerie to steal a win as they fell 17 points behind. A last gasp challenge were spoilt by a Nathan Tape poster and a Horner miss before Craig Wilson's goal made it nine points with moments left.
The result was put to rest when Broughton brilliantly trapped the ball on the outer wing. His rushed kick was swooped by Bonney who somehow evaded his opponent to boot his second and sealing goal.

Round 1 Scores - April 19, 2008

Loxton North

2.2

8.4

10.7

16.17 (113)

Berri

5.3

9.4

13.7

14.10 (94)

Best -Loxton North: B Williams, R Proud, B Stephens, C Woolridge, M Arnold, S Golding. Berri: K Harwood, T Bonner, C Schoefield, T Allen, M Eisenberg, L Shane. Goals - Loxton: B Stephens, C Kropinyeri 3, H Cook, J Albrecht, R Proud 2 , J Proud, C Woolbridge, T Arnold, R Gray. Berri: K Harwood 5 , D Dawson 3, D Storic , J Warland, J Langdon, T Beet, D Beer, C Schoefield.

Loxton

2.2

3.5

7.10

13.11 (89)

Renmark

3.3

6.4

11.7

11.9 (75)

Best -Loxton: L Williams, L Kruger, M Reynolds, M Fazekas, D Byrnes, R Mitchell. Renmark: S Gallahan , A Bryant, N Farr, B Wagnitz, M Camplin, J Rowe. Goals -- Loxton: R Mitchell 3, C Thiele, M Reynolds, M Fazekas 2, L Kruger, A Montgomery, B Quinn, S Goetze. Renmark: R Bennett 3, H Beavis, M Camplin 2, T Thorpe, R Menz, N Doyle, C Seekamp.

Barmera/Monash

1.1

4.1

8.3

13.4 (82)

Waikerie

1.3

4.7

7.11

9.13 (67)

Best - Barmera-Monash: A Nunan, R Price, J Maschotta, S Horsley, M Leyson, N Kuhn. Waikerie: J Thomson, B Venning, L Horner, J Sutton, J Keller, N Tape. Goals -  Barmera-Monash: R Price 5, C Bonney, J Maschotto 2, D Whitbourne, S Horsley, A Nunan, M Morrell. Waikerie: S Gionan 2, J  Keller, J Thomson, J Sutton, J Collins, N Tape, S Pogoreschki, T Hyde.

2008 PROGRAM

Round 1
19/4/08
Barmera Monash v Waikerie
Loxton v Renmark
Berri v Loxton North

Round 2
25/04/2008 (Anzac Day. Friday) Twilight
Waikerie v Loxton
26/04/08 (Saturday)
Renmark v Berri
Loxton North v Barmera Monash

Round 3
3/5/08
Barmera Monash v Renmark
Loxton v Berri
Waikerie v Loxton North

Round 4 Rivalry Round
10/5/08
Berri v Barmera Monash Fisher Cup
Loxton v Loxton North
Renmark v Waikerie Gill/Lehmann Cup

RFL Interleague
17/5/08
Mallee A Grade v Riverland A Grade
Mallee U/18 v Riverland U/17
To be held in the Mallee

Round 5
24/5/08
Berri v Waikerie
Barmera Monash v Loxton
Loxton North v Renmark

Round 6
31/5/08
Waikerie v Barmera Monash
Renmark v Loxton
Loxton North v Berri

07/06/08 LONG WEEKEND
Bye ALL RFL Clubs

Round 7
14/6/08
Loxton v Waikerie
Berri v Renmark
Barmera Monash v Loxton North

Round 8
21/6/08
Renmark v Barmera Monash
Berri v Loxton
Loxton North v Waikerie

Round 9
28/6/08
Waikerie v Berri
Loxton v Barmera Monash
Renmark v Loxton North

State Country Champs
5/07/2008 Saturday
To Be held in Berri
6/07/2008 Sunday
To be held in Barmera
BYE ALL RFL Clubs

Round 10
12/7/08
Barmera Monash v Berri
Loxton North v Loxton Proud Cup
Waikerie v Renmark Centenary Match

Round 11
19/7/08
Barmera Monash v Waikerie
Loxton v Renmark
Berri v Loxton North

Round 13
2/8/08
Barmera Monash v Renmark
Loxton v Berri
Waikerie v Loxton North

Round 14
9/8/08
Berri v Barmera Monash
Loxton v Loxton North
Renmark v Waikerie

Round 15
16/8/08
Berri v Waikerie
Barmera Monash v Loxton
Loxton North v Renmark

Round 16
23/8/08
Waikerie v Barmera Monash
Renmark v Loxton
Loxton North v Berri

2nd SEMI FINAL @ Loxton North
30/08/2008 (SATURDAY)

1st SEMI FINAL @ Waikerie
31/08/2008 (SUNDAY)

PRELIMINARY FINAL @ Barmera
6/8/08


WHILLAS MEDAL TBA
8/09/2008 (MONDAY)

GRAND FINAL @ Berri
13/9/08

 

Click here for the 2007 Riverland Archive

Click here for the 2006 Riverland Archive

2008 LADDER Pts Perc
Waikerie 26 63.33
Renmark 26 59.53
Barmera-Monash 18 47.90
Loxton North 12 40.84
Loxton 8 44.64
Berri 6 42.64