LONG-time teammates and cousins Josh and Jarrod Hillary will go from friends to foes when Albury does battle with Lavington in the Ovens and Murray’s reserve-grade grand final at Lavington Oval on Sunday.
Josh, 32, will call the shots as coach from the sidelines for the Tigers, while Jarrod, 30, will lead the Panthers from the ground after playing in the Panthers’ heart-breaking senior preliminary final loss last weekend.
“It’s been different coaching against ‘Jaz’ this year,” Josh said.
“We played a lot together at Lavington and then Holbrook and Yackandandah and had some great times playing in the same side so this will put a different spin on it.
“It’s the first time we have coached against each other this year and it’s been interesting.
“We have always been very competitive at whatever we have done and this is the same I guess.”
While Josh coached Albury’s reserves into the preliminary final last season, Jarrod has made his coaching debut this year.
“He’s probably been coaching for longer than I have, but I’d like to think I was the smarter of the two,” Jarrod laughed.
“Seriously though, we’re looking forward to it.
“Albury has been the form side all year, but having a draw against them during the year gives you a bit of belief.”
Both teams will be loaded with class, with Lavington regaining Jarrod Hillary, Lewis Gardiner, Justin Ellis and Joel Hartley from the senior team while losing Luke Norton-Smith, Tom Yensch and Alex Jones.
Former star player Josh Hamilton, who played a match during the season, could also make a surprise appearance.
“He played a game during the year and will be a big in for us,” Jarrod said.
The make-up of Albury’s line-up will only become clearer in the next 24 hours but the thing that is certain is the Tigers’ abundance of rising stars.
Only Josh Ryder, David Price and possibly Matt Fowler are older than 25.
“It’s a credit to both clubs, the depth they have,” Josh said.
“We are really lucky to have some great young players coming through at the moment and they have played some great football during the season.
“Lavington’s going to be tough, though.
“Albury and Lavington have had some very close matches in the reserves over the years with the intensity always going up.”
Albury will look to leading goalkicker Sam Cross, while Jeremy Duck, Isaac Edgar, Lachlan Bruce and Will Blomeley head a smart young brigade.