Clash of titans

June 15, 2017

Judgement day has arrived for the Benalla All Blacks.

A so-far-flawless season will be put under scrutiny when league-leaders Tarrawingee take to the field at Friendlies Oval on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers and Tarrawingee are two of three yet-undefeated sides in the Ovens and King Football League this season — and they will do battle this weekend.

Panthers could be without the contributions of Riley Moran (hip), Mick Donehue (ankle), and Chris Lockhart (broken finger) because of injuries picked up in the side’s victory over Moyhu two weekends ago.

Moran and Donehue have kicked vital goals for the Panthers thus far, and would be big outs for the side if they fail a fitness test on Thursday.

Panthers head coach Harry Moran said he hoped brother Riley and centre-half forward Donehue will be fit for the match, but said he had a back-up plan in case they were not fit.

‘‘They’ll be assessed on Thursday and we’ll make a judgement call then,’’ Moran said.

‘‘It isn’t ideal, because you want to see both sides at full strength when they play... but we have got genuine senior players playing in the twos that can be used if we need them.’’

Moran said the side had been ‘‘geed up’’ and motivated for the Tarrawingee clash since the final siren had sounded against Moyhu.

‘‘After (the Moyhu game) the attention went straight to playing Tarra,’’ he said.

‘‘The boys, whether it was a week or two week’s rest, would’ve been ready regardless, but this two-week break has given us the chance to sharpen up in training.’’

Moran said if his side was to win on Saturday, it would go a long way to proving their credentials as premiership hopefuls.

‘‘I suppose yes and no in a way — we’ve proven ourselves to be around the mark this year, and there’s no doubt we’re heading in the right direction now,’’ Moran said.

‘‘I expect our leaders now to stand up... if they stand up then we’ll be in for a good show.

‘‘We’d like to see as many people as possible down there to cheer us on — it will be a massive game. Kick off is 2pm.’’

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