Wangaratta teenager Connor Stone will debut, with his father coaching, against Albury

D-DAY: Wangaratta's Jarryd Wallace (left) and Connor Stone will debut
against Albury on Saturday. Picture: MARK JESSER

D-DAY: Wangaratta's Jarryd Wallace (left) and Connor Stone will debut against Albury on Saturday. Picture: MARK JESSER

A Wangaratta debutant will create a piece of history in Saturday’s home top of the table clash against Albury.

Connor Stone is the son of Pies’ coach Dean and, although it’s difficult to verify how often it has happened in the 125 seasons of O and M, it would be rare.

Stone coached Connor to the under 18 flag in 2015, and the youngster says his dad treats him the same as his team-mates.

“It’s good, but when we are at the footy, it’s all footy,” he said.

It will be a baptism of fire for Stone and Jarryd Wallace against the powerhouse of the past nine years.

“It’s pretty exciting to get the call up, I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’m keen for the challenge,” Wallace said.

As it has with most sides, Albury has dominated the Pies since re-emerging as a force in 2009.

Wangaratta hasn’t beaten the Tigers in that time, losing 17 straight games by an average of 67 points.

An understrength line-up lost by 68 in round five.

“We think, in my time, it's the best-placed we’ve been to tackle the challenge head-on,” star player Mat Grossman said.

During its premiership reign, which has netted six flags, Albury has had explosive bursts.

They kicked eight goals in a 20-minute period in the second quarter last month.

In my time it's the best-placed we’ve been to tackle the challenge head-on. - Mat Grossman

“If they do get that surge, we’ve got to identify that and come up with an immediate response to it, whether it’s locking down for that next 10-15 minutes to stop that surge,” Grossman said.

Albury has recalled three players, including star defender Luke Packer and Jimmy Grills for his first game of the season.

“We played ‘Yarra’ in the top of the table match about a month ago, so I think it’s great,” Albury co-coach Shaun Daly said of an eagerly-anticipated round 10.

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