Interleague 2023 PREview
Club football is on hold this Saturday for the interleague blockbuster between country football’s fiercest rivals – Ovens and Murray FNL and the Goulburn Valley FNL.
Netball and Football action will be on in earnest at the Albury Sportsground with senior football and netball as well as Under 18 football and Under 17 netball.
The OM football side coached by Damian Sexton has been hard hit with injury and unavailability with Yarrawonga Harry Wheeler’s suspension.
Angus Baker, Isaac Muller, Jacob Conlan and Cam Ellis-Yolmen are four topliners missing, while Wheeler was captain of last year’s winning team at Moroopna.
The team has little resemblance to the side that took the Ash-Wilson Trophy with only five remaining from last season in the selected 22.
Leigh Williams, Riley Bice, Dylan Stone, Cody Schutt and Ryan Bruce are the five still playing from last year – sixteen of the selected side for this week will be on debut for the Blacks and Golds.
With no Corowa Rutherglen senior team and Wangaratta not having any players available, it has certainly lessened the recruiting pool for selectors.
Albury has the largest contingent of players with five, while Lavington, Wangaratta Rovers and Yarrawonga all have four – ladder leaders Wodonga have three.
The side is full of pace and youth with former Yerong Creek junior and now Lavington player Jack Driscoll being named first ruck in the absence of Isaac Muller.
Jim Grills fresh from playing and captaining Australia in Polocrosse last weekend where he was named player of the series has been chosen in the centre.
Lucas Conlan and Charlie Morrison look set to hold down the key defensive positions, while Yarrawonga duo Leigh Williams and Matt Casey will do similar up forward.
There is no lack of speed in the OM side with Jack Gerrish, Dylan Stone, Bailey Fraunfelder, Ewan Mackinlay, Brodie Filo, and Brody Ricardi in the side.
Netball coach Rhi Harris and her assistant Sarah Moore have assembled a very strong outfit in an attempt to reverse last year’s loss to the GV.
Wangaratta has four named in the 11-player squad Georgia Clark, Ellie Cooper, Hannah Grady and Issy Newton. Flag favourite Yarrawonga has two Maddy Allan and Hannah Symes.
It’s a class side with multiple Toni Wilson Medal winners Emily Browne and Sophie Hanrahan set to turn the tables for the OM.
The goal-shooting ability and options are rich indeed with Clark likely to share the role with Maddy Allan from Yarrawonga and Emily Stewart from Raiders.
The Goulburn Valley team after trailing early in last year’s game fought back strong with a big last quarter to take the victory.
It is hard to not see the result being just as close on this occasion – the home ground venue may be just enough to get the OM home.
All the senior and junior netball and football matches will have live streaming available on O&M Live Facebook and OMFNL YouTube and broadcast on 1494 2AY and 1566 3NE.
The Under 18 clash commences at 12.00 with Wangaratta Rovers and Wodonga Raiders both having five players each in the squad.
The side has plenty of talent that are playing senior O&M club football including Finn Osborne (Rovers) and Ashton McPherson (Myrtleford).
Raiders young guns Nelson Bowey, Ned Twycross and Zac Whitsed have all been playing top football at the senior level. Former Albury mentor Tom McGrath will again coach the side.
The Under 17 netball side is also dominated by Raiders players with five Indie Conway, Ava Koschitzke, Mia Lavis, Maggie McGrath, and Eliza Mooney in the nine-player squad.
The McCowan sisters from Albury Aleira and Kijana will join Alannah Foley and Lily McKimmie from Wodonga that will be coached by Jodie House.