Lavington coach James Saker wary of Saints' height in O&M

TALL TIMBER: Riley O'Shea (with ball) and Tom McDonagh (23) are just two of the Saints' players more than 183 centimetres.
TALL TIMBER: Riley O'Shea (with ball) and Tom McDonagh (23) are just two of the Saints' players more than 183 centimetres.

Lavington coach James Saker says Myrtleford’s height is his greatest concern heading into Saturday’s match.

Around half the Saints’ team is 183 centimetres plus (six-foot) with Riley O’Shea and Ryley Sharp leading the charge at well over 190cms.

“We’ll have to work on trying to shut down their height,” Saker said.

Saker hasn’t seen the Saints live this season but, he maintains what he’s seen on video, they’re playing slightly differently to the outfit which snapped a 10-year finals drought.

“I think they’re a little more composed with the ball and if our pressure’s not on, we’re going to struggle to get it back off them,” Saker said.

“We’ll have to try and create some turnovers because if we’re a bit off, they look like they’ve got some very skilled guys that will move the ball well and then their height becomes a factor.”

Myrtleford was touted by a number of opposition coaches as a potential top-three outfit, but only opened its account with an 11-point win over North Albury last week.

The return of the lively Nathan Cossignani will add some speak, although one of their four VFL-based players in Matt Munro, who was one of their best against the Hoppers, isn’t available.

Lavington veteran John Hunt hasn’t been named, with Isaac Lampe brought into the team.

The Panthers, in particular, have changed enormously from last year, but in the corresponding first-round match, Myrtleford posted an upset five-point win.

“We’ve had some pretty close battles the last couple of years, so they match up well against us,” Saker said.

Lavington started slowly with a loss against Wangaratta, but bounced back by toppling Corowa-Rutherglen and Wodonga.

And Wodonga’s hopes of bouncing back haven’t been helped with a second suspension from that game.

Bob Russell was suspended for one week after he was found guilty of engaging in rough conduct against the Panthers’ Jack Kirley.

It follows Tom Johnson’s one-match ban for striking.

Wodonga faces Wodonga Raiders on Anzac Day.