The Whittlesea Eagles will travel down to a muddy Montmorency Park tomorrow in the hope of knocking off the ladder leader.
It will undoubtedly be a tough assignment, only made harder for the Eagles after full forward Andrew Fairchild and defensive midfielder Riley Dyson both suffered injuries against Greensborough and will miss the remainder of the season.
Fairchild, carrying stress fractures in his foot, pushed through the pain to play against his old club and Riley Dyson suffered a serious knee injury against the ‘Boro, injuring both his medial ligament and posterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season.
Defender Scott McAuliffe will also miss this week due to work commitments.
Coach Pete Bugden has brought in Glenn Bransgrove, Brian Holmes and under 19’s player Josh Stroud, who will make his senior debut, to fill the void left by Dyson, McAuliffe and Fairchild.
All inclusions are tough, uncompromising footballers who seldom take a backward step and should hold their own against the strong Magpie outfit in what is likely to be a scrappy game of footy.
While Bugden is confident in the incoming players, he concedes that it will be difficult to find another forward capable of filling the void of Andrew Fairchild.
“He (Fairchild) is a massive loss, and we will have a new game plan to fit around his absence,” he said
With the personnel Bugden has at his disposal, one can expect a fast possession type game centred around a quick and tough forward line that won’t be exceptionally tall, but very agile.
Janan Daniel has moved forward after spending a long period of time in the midfield this year, while Rocky Collins will venture back into the midfield after shining up forward in the past month.
Daniel brings much to the table up forward. The 184cm utility is as quick as any off 10 metres and has a leap that puts him in the category of a tall forward while still maintaining an elite midfield presence on the ground.
His only ilk is possibly his ability to play body-on-body against the bigger defensive opposition on the small, muddy ground.
This could be combatted by bringing the bigger-bodied Lucas Hobbs into the forward line and moving Daniel into a crumbing role.
With so many questions to be answered, we can only look forward to tomorrow and see how it plays out.
In other games, the Under 19’s who have been pelted with injuries throughout the last month will look to snatch a game from Montmorency to cement themselves in the finals.
The reserves will find it very tough to keep up with only a small list and several under 19’s backing up for two games, but you can be assured that they will give it their all.