MURRAY Bushrangers will need to shut down two of the TAC Cup's most dangerous forwards when they clash with Oakleigh at Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval on Sunday.
Jack Higgins and Todd Wooller kicked four goals each in the Chargers’ big win over Dandenong last weekend and are set to be picked up by Ben Paton and Alex Paech.
Daniel Scala is another forward who will need to be watched closely inside 50 metres.
“They are one of the very good metro teams,” Bushrangers coach Leon Higgins said.
“Unless they have some injuries, they have mobile forwards and a number of players who are dangerous around goal.
“They have good goal-scoring power with three players who kicked four goals last week.
“Their mix of forwards is really good.”
The Bushrangers have brought Ben Kelly, Isaac Wallace and Nick Richards into their line-up with Doulton Langlands sidelined through injury and Mark Marriott and Jack Schilg named as emergencies.
Richards was named in Williamstown’s best players in the VFL development league last weekend while Wallace played well for Collingwood against Werribee at Wangaratta.
“Isaac and Nick played well, it was a great opportunity for them,” Higgins said.
While Oakleigh has several goalkicking options, the Bushrangers have similar targets with Daniel Johnston having 13 majors.
Jessy Wilson and Hudson Garoni are also capable of hitting the scoreboard.
The Bushrangers have a 6-1 win-loss record and Higgins said a win would cap off a strong start to the season with the competition having a development round next weekend.
They take on Greater Western Victoria Rebels the following weekend before another bye on June 10.
“It’s an important game at the end of a block of five really tough matches,” Higgins said.
“Hopefully the boys can bring the same sort of intensity they have been playing with.”
The match starts at 1pm.
Meanwhile, former Murray Bushranger Michael Gibbons is in a 27-player VFL squad to play WAFL at North Port Oval on May 27.
The VFL has lost its last three state games – in 2013 to the WAFL and in 2014 and 2016 to the SANFL – since defeating the Tasmanian State League by 108 points at Blundstone Arena, Hobart, in 2012.
Gibbons has been in good form for Williamstown and is rated a strong chance of making the final cut.
The Murray Bushrangers team is:
B, Koschitzke, Butts, Clarke; hb, Paton, Paech, Donaghey; c, Lane, Jones, Bruce; hf, Wilson, Boyd, Barzen; f, Wallace, Johnston, Garoni; foll, Kelly, Oakes, Hicks; foll, Bond, Richards, Beasley, Trotter, Bice (23rd); emerg, Walker, Schilg, Marriott.