It’s crunch time for the Deni Rovers when they travel down the Riverina Highway to take on rival Blighty for round 10 of the Picola League season tomorrow.
The Roos are currently sitting sixth on the ladder, only managing three wins for the year with the threat of missing out on finals footy.
The Redeyes on the other hand have had a fantastic start to the season, currently second on the ladder with their only loss against reigning premier Picola United to the tune of just two goals.
It was round one when these sides last met with Blighty 33 point victors, claiming the Warner Tasker Cup after kicking nine unanswered goals in the first quarter.
Blighty assistant coach Jack Tyndall is expecting a better showing from the Rovers this time around.
‘‘They’ve picked up a few recruits and I think they will be out to start a lot better than last time,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re well aware that the Rovers are looking to take a big scalp to give them a bigger chance to make finals but we’re also hungry for top spot.
‘‘We were without a fair few blokes in that round one game so we’re pretty confident we can get over the line.’’
Players from Blighty who are expected to play tomorrow that weren’t a part of the round one win include former Rover Tom Draffin, Lenny Clarke and Sam Singleton.
Others expected to play are reigning joint best and fairest winners Josh Peers and Jake Plattfuss, along with ruckman Drew Plattfuss, with all three yet to play in the seniors for the Redeyes this year.
Rovers coach Nick Braybon is well aware of Blighty’s talented list.
‘‘Both sides will look a bit different with those coming in for Blighty and Brenton Loudon back for us,’’ he said.
‘‘We also have our recruits like Addison and Taylor Milner and Tanner Robertson, who missed out on the round one game too.
‘‘Peers and the Plattfuss boys are quality players and Sam Singleton is another talented onballer that we have to be aware of.
‘‘We’ll have to try and shut down their midfield and ensure we get first use of the footy.
‘‘We have about four or five blokes that we can rotate through the middle and we know Blighty have plenty of options as well.
‘‘We showed last week in the first quarter against Picola that we can match it with these better sides but we need to be switched on for all four quarters.’’
The Roos will have Damian Hope and Matt Horne both available for selection with Braybon stating there were no obvious outs from the side.
A key match-up for the day will be league leading goalkicker Brody Lumber and Blighty defender Matt O’Connor.
In the round one clash it was Lumber who kicked four goals despite O’Connor playing a commendable game on the tall forward.
Braybon stated the Rovers will most likely look to James Kirby to take the job on Jake Plattfuss at the other end of the field.
‘‘We recruited blokes like Kirby and Tanner Robertson to contend with the Plattfuss boys (Drew and Jake),’’ he said.
‘‘James has played some fantastic footy down back for us and Tanner has been outstanding in the ruck and around the ground.’’
The battle in the midfield is the most important for the day with Rovers onballers Damian Hope, Rhys McCulloch, Andy and Dylan May, Addison and Taylor Milner set to clash with Jed Brain, Josh Peers, Sam Singleton, James Kennedy, Tom Draffin and Kyel Bain.
Selection: Blighty by four goals.