MURRAY Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier has labelled North Ballarat as the form team of the TAC Cup ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Craigieburn’s Highgate Recreation Reserve.
Despite beating the Rebels in round three, Ogier said the opposition would be a different proposition on this occasion.
“The Rebels are the in form team of the competition, having won their past four games including an 89-point victory over the Sandringham Dragons in their last game,” Ogier said.
“They are a quality team.
“In recent weeks they have demonstrated they can match it with anyone in the competition so our boys will need to ensure they are on top of their game.”
The Bushrangers welcome back Victorian Country representative Josh Schache, who will play as a key forward and spend time in the ruck while Lavington’s Brydon Hodgson returns to the midfield fresh from a three-year goal performance in the Panthers’ impressive win over Yarrawonga.
Developing utility Julius Battista will make his debut for the Bushrangers after producing some good form for Shepparton Bears.
Dan Howe, Caleb Marchbank and David Mennen are unavailable due to Australian under-18 commitments.
Despite sitting outside the top-eight on percentage, Ogier said the Bushrangers would go into the game full of confidence.
“The boys should be up for the challenge,” he said.
“A place in the top-eight is up for grabs and, as they say, it’s an old fashioned eight-point game.”
Meanwhile, six Murray Bushrangers under-16 players have been named in the Victorian Country team to compete in the national championships on the Gold Coast next month.
Albury’s Jake Page, Mooroopna’s Jy Simpkin, Mansfield’s Tom Gardiner, Notre Dame’s Wil Brodie, Seymour’s Lachlan Waite and Nathalia’s Ned Nihill have made the 25-player squad.
Wodonga’s Mason Marr was picked as an emergency.
Bushrangers under-16 coach Justin McMahon is an assistant coach for Vic Country while high performance manager Matt Glossop will co-ordinate the fitness program.