Bulldogs ready to bark loudest to end premiers’ run

Byron Hales

Byron Hales

WODONGA quick Byron Hales is confident his team is running into form ahead of today’s preliminary final against Lavington at Les Cheesley Oval.

The Bulldogs saw off a huge challenge from Tallangatta last weekend and Hales said yesterday the line-up was eager to build on that momentum against the plucky Panthers.

“Last week was tight, hard cricket and it was a really good win,” Hales said.

“We had to earn it.

“Lavington will be tough as well.

“There has been a really good rivalry over the past five or six seasons.

“They had the wood on us last game and we will go out and try and knock them off this time.

“We have nothing to lose I guess.”

Wodonga has promoted Bren- dan Klein-Boonschate from sec- ond grade to head the pace attack with Hales and James Saker, while James Tonkin will do most of the slow bowling.

“We have had to make a few changes over the past few weeks with injuries and things like that, but everyone is right to go now,” Hales said.

“A few didn’t make the side this week and they are knocking on the door.”

Tensions usually run high when players switch clubs and the fact Wodonga’s line-up includes four former Lavington players in Robbie Jackson, Tonkin, Trent Ball and Klein-Boonschate will add even more intrigue to what is already a mouthwatering contest.

It will also be interesting to see if the Panthers adopt the same tactic when Jackson bats as it did in the teams’ last meeting, by having an 8-1 leg-side field.

Panthers coach Robbie Mackinlay was keeping his cards close to his chest.

“We are going in unchanged with a really relaxed approach to game,” he said.

“It’s a challenge we are looking forward to with 12 very competitive players.

“Our blokes are just enjoying their cricket at the moment.”