BIRREGURRA officials hope GDFL Neville Whitley Medallist Jace Kelly will play a role in the Saints’ pursuit of a breakthrough premiership.
The Torquay midfielder, a 2009 league best and fairest with Inverleigh, submitted a clearance to play with the Saints this week.
Kelly is linked to Birregurra through new coach Paul Lynch and fellow former Lara premiership players Luke Phillips and Cam Wright.
Ruckman Tom Grayling is also fit to return for the Saints’ clash with Lorne at Birregurra Recreation Reserve tomorrow.
Lynch hopes his men will be fit and firing having put them through rigorous training after their narrow one-point win against Forrest.
“We had a massive night on Tuesday, a big night of banging and crashing so hopefully I got my point across,” he said.
“It wasn’t a penalty, it was just to sharpen them up a bit, it’s a bit harder to get through the winter months.”
The Saints took the points during their clash with Lorne in round one, but came out bruised and battered.
Sam Green, shoulder, and Phillips, ribs, headed a list of players who missed the following round loss to South Colac after round one injuries.
Lorne’s Boe Trickey and co-coach Drew Steven are fit to return for the Dolphins, while Shane Trickey and Ryan Heathcote are two big names who missed the round one loss.
“Trickey and Heathcote add a bit of size and experience to our side,” co-coach Clint Tournier said.
“Birregurra are a big side and they were too strong over the ball last time, they were too experienced for our younger guys,” he said.
Tournier hoped Steven and Boe Trickey’s inclusion would help the team’s midfield rotations, after losing a host of onballers to injury.
Growing injury list plagues Demonsby Aidan Fawkes
OTWAY Districts’ season-defining run of injuries continues to plague a mid-season bid to score confidence-building victories.
Demons coach Adam Harris will again turn to the club’s junior brigade for a testing road trip against Colac Imperials at Western Oval tomorrow.
Harris was buoyed by the news gun forward Tom Harriott would return for his first game since an ill-fated loss against Lorne in round six, while Ryan Connley also returns from a knee complaint.
But his overall tone was dour and one of frustration, with defenders Brett Dowie, knee, and Dean Mahoney, sore shin, set to miss the game, joining Stewart Sutherland, Subali Armstrong and Aaron Mahoney on the sidelines.
“We’re undermanned but it gives some of the younger guys an opportunity. It’ll probably be our youngest side for the year, which is great from a club point of view,” Harris said.
Otway Districts led early against Imps in round one at Gellibrand, but failed to adapt to the conditions when rain arrived in the second half as the Cats stormed to a handy win.
Small forward Ben Shaw was particularly influential with three goals and a hand in a handful of others.
Harris said Western Oval’s wide expanses would play into his young side’s hands, but was unsure if lessons from round one would help the Demons tomorrow.
At Western Oval, Colac Imperials will regain the services of coach Craig Williams from suspension while Simon Scott is likely to rejoin the side in defence.
Williams said last weekend’s bye had come at an okay time for troops, but said the Cats wouldn’t have things as easy as in the season opener.
“I think it’s going to be a lot more difficult this time around. Obviously they’ve improved a lot, it should be a tough game,” he said.
“They’re probably a bit more wary of us. We might have got them a little bit by surprise.”
The winner of the Cats-Demons clash will keep its flickering finals hopes alive, while the loser will all but drop out of the race for a spot in the top five.
Forrest secures another recruitby Ben Martin
FORREST is continuing to bolster its list as the fight to hold its top-five spot heats up.
The Lions were confident of securing the services of Braybrook key forward Sam Collins for tomorrow’s clash with Alvie, while the club had put in for other clearances before yesterday’s June 30 clearance deadline.
Lion utility Leigh Hay has also declared he is fit to play in the clash at Alvie Recreation Reserve after copping a corky last round.
Coach Dave McKiernan said the inclusions would play a big part in four-quarter efforts after fadeouts cost them against top sides in the past two weeks.
“We don’t want to drop off again, there haven’t been any problems with our effort or endeavour, just our structures seem to drop off a bit,” he said.
“We’re not going out there to do anything but win the game, whether it’s by one point or more – we want those four points on the board, the margin isn’t the issue.”
The Lions secured a 24-point win when the teams met in round one, but the young Alvie side has found its feet of late.
However injuries have again set back the Swans with key defenders Josh McDonald, ankle, Dylan Lowe, ribs, and skipper Luke McCarthy, back, all set to miss tomorrow’s clash.
“Chris Garner will take on a bigger role down back and we might have to swing Gerard Douglas down back as well, depending how the weather is,” coach Murray Williamson said.
“Forrest are a big-bodied side so I might give some of the kids a break and promote some of the players going all right in the twos.”
The Lions will return to Forrest on Sunday for the club’s annual reverse raffle.
Eagles chasing second win
WESTERN Eagles will chase back-to-back victories when they take on Irrewarra-Beeac tomorrow.
Coming off their first win in two seasons last round, the Eagles will be full of confidence when they make the trip to Irrewarra Recreation Reserve.
Bombers coach and three-time premiership star Khan Beckett praised the Eagles for their breakthrough win.
During the time of the Eagles’ 26-game losing streak, Beckett’s Bombers have won 25 of 34 games including two grand finals.
“They’re a young side, I reckon they’re better than last year and they’re going to learn a lot from the win,” Beckett said.
“We won’t be going into the match saying we’ve already won because you never know what might happen,” he said.
Selectors were testing the fitness of skipper Jason Cartwright, back soreness, and forward Jarrod Stinchcombe, groin, last night.
No mercy, say Tigers
Simpson hopes to keep its loss record at two as it prepares for the home stretch into finals.
The 8-2 Tigers will begin their assault on the remaining seven games of the season when they make the trip to Apollo Bay tomorrow.
Skipper Jeremy Ellis returns in a major coup for the Hawks after sitting out a two-match suspension, while Tigers captain Brad Salmon could return from an ankle injury.
The Bay missed arguably its best chance for a breakthrough victory against Western Eagles last round.
But Simpson assistant coach Brendan Hickey says his team would not go easy on the winless Hawks as it aimed for a strong second half of the season.
“Apollo Bay’s certainly had a long year, but I still think this week we can’t afford to relax because we’ve still got some things we need to improve as a team, no matter who we’re coming up against,” he said.
“On Saturday we were better with our efficiency but in the weeks before that we were kicking ourselves out of games. We’ve gotten into the second round and now we need to start building towards the finals.”