Wangaratta welcomes back four players for arch-rival clash

BEN'S BACK: Wangaratta will welcome back interleague star Ben Speight for its match against Wangaratta Rovers.
BEN'S BACK: Wangaratta will welcome back interleague star Ben Speight for its match against Wangaratta Rovers.

Wangaratta will welcome back star recruit Ben Speight for its home clash against Wangaratta Rovers on Sunday.

The former North Melbourne midfielder hasn’t played since June 10 with a shoulder complaint and he’s one of four to return, including the Porter siblings, Judd and Daine.

Rovers have won only two games, against Corowa-Rutherglen, but they produced a gritty performance in falling by 19 points to the Pies in round two.

“Probably against one of the better sides it was one of our better performances without getting the four points,” Hawks’ co-coach Sam Carpenter said.

“We were highly competitive, so we’ll look to bring our pressure.

“’Wang’s’ got the key forwards, but if we can get on top in the middle of the ground and limit the supply, we give ourselves a chance.”

The Pies boast the best forward combination in the league in Michael Newton and Josh Porter, while former SANFL big man Tom Whittlesea will play his second game.

The club will also celebrate Frazer Dent’s 50th game, eight years after his first.

Dent has had shoulder injuries, along with a three-year stint at Moyhu and a year overseas.

He’s been the ideal swingman, performing in both the ruck and on a wing.

Wangaratta will look to post a percentage-boosting win as it could prove crucial in the run home given the competition’s tight nature.

The Pies are fifth, but they’re one of four teams tied on eight wins apiece, behind runaway leaders Albury.