YARRAWONGA co-coach Chris Kennedy says a forward line without Brendan Fevola and Brad Ottens will make the Pigeons less predictable in tomorrow’s clash with Wangaratta Rovers.
Yarrawonga will be without 884 goals worth of AFL experience this week, with Fevola suspended and Ottens unavailable.
It could be a telling difference for the Pigeons, as they look to bounce back from their first defeat in 29 games against the resurgent Hawks.
But Kennedy said he wasn’t concerned.
“I think we’re still fairly versatile without them,” he said.
“It gives us a bit of flexibility and I suppose without Fev there, it makes us a little bit different and it might make us a little less predictable.
“We’ll still have (Marcus) McMillan and (Brad) O’Connor down there and Tim Hargreaves gets an opportunity with Fev out.
“He’s keen as mustard and has been kicking goals in the twos.”
In-form Hawks’ skipper Tyson Hartwig has been Fevola’s opponent when the sides have met but Rovers’ backline now faces a major re-shuffle.
The Pigeons may also mix and match their usual defensive setup to compensate.
The form of young gun Alex Marklew, who has kicked 11 goals in his three senior games for the Hawks this year, could also have an impact.
The talented 17-year-old, who tore North Albury apart last week, hasn’t escaped Kennedy’s eyes.
“They are a dangerous side,” Kennedy said.
“We’ve had a look at the footage and watched their kids closely.
“Marklew and (Cody) Schutt are two who will come under a fair bit of notice on form.
“If our accountability is down, they will hurt us.
“They’re a very quick and skilled side,” Kennedy said.
The Pigeons made four changes, with Ed Bayles and Luke Hammond joining reigning best and fairest winner McMillan and Hargreaves in the team.
Marc Lonergan, Matt Irvine and Chris Wilson were all omitted.
Toby Ryan and Dale Martin were selected by the Hawks, with Dylan Wilson picked to make his debut for the club.
In other selection news, things have gone from bad, to worse, for North Albury on the injury front.
Rising star nominee Alex Freeman is out for the season with a shoulder problem, joining Jason Gram (ankle) on the sidelines for the rest of the year.
The Hoppers made five changes for their trip to Corowa to take on the Roos.
Josh Lloyd will play his first senior game for the year following a knee reconstruction.