The match of the season has lifted a cog with Yarrawonga to unveil the league’s greatest depth against Albury on Saturday.
The Pigeons welcome back VFL ruckman Lach Howe and premiership players Nick Lawless and Brandon Symes, who will play his first senior game for the season.
Former best and fairest Marcus McMillan has been named as an emergency.
It boasts depth even Albury, which has won six of eight flags, can’t match.
“They’re not undefeated for no reason, they’re a strong team,” Tigers’ co-coach Shaun Daly said.
“They’ve got good marking ability and especially playing down there (Yarrwonga), it’s always tough.”
The defensive baptism of fire continues for Albury’s Brady Morton, who tackled the league’s best forward in Michael Newton last round.
He now faces the league’s leading goalkicker in Brad O’Connor, who has 23 majors.
“Look, he’s probably not a natural backman, he’s played more centre half-forward, but with the injuries, he’s had to go back and a play a role,” Daly said.
O’Connor will look to celebrate his 32nd birthday on Saturday with another bag after booting 11 against the Roos in round five.
Morton is in his first year from Riverina outfit, Wagga Tigers.
“It (RFL) definitely doesn’t have the depth that the O and M does,” he said.
“It’s a lot quicker here and a lot more physical.
“I came down here for uni, but playing a higher standard was in the back of my mind.
“I’m really trying to test myself against the best and learn from the best.”
Tigers’ ruckmen Ben Dower and Oliver McEwan face a monumental test against the league’s best big man division in Howe and Symes.
Howe took a series of telling marks against Goulburn Valley in last weekend’s cracking representative clash, while Symes will be keen to impress after missing the first five rounds with farming commitments.
There’s stars for both teams on every line with the battle between Morris Medal fancy Mark Whiley and Albury’s star-studded on-ball brigade as good as it gets at this level.
Unheralded defender Michael Duncan was outstanding against the GV and he could well tackle the Pigeons dangerous Jess Koopman, who kicked a handful of goal of the year contenders against Wangaratta in round four.
Officials will be hoping the weather clears for the match at Yarrawonga’s JC Lowe Oval as it has the potential to attract one of the biggest regular round matches of recent years.
If the Tigers win, they will jump above the Pigeons.