Rutherglen to pay tribute to former coach Karl Jacka during clash with local rivals Wahgunyah

Rutherglen will be out to hand local rivals Wahgunyah its first loss of the Tallangatta League season when they meet at Barkley Park on Saturday.

It will also mark a special occasion for the club, who will celebrate the life of former coach Karl Jacka with a cancer awareness fundraiser.

The players will wear specially-designed purple playing jumpers, with all money raised on the day donated back to the Albury-Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.

Rutherglen senior coach Damien Wilson is looking forward to a big day for the club.

“It will be an emotional one for the playing group and it will mean a lot to everyone,” Wilson said.

“Naturally, it will give the players a bit more motivation, but we won’t go away from what we’re about.

“Hopefully both communities will get behind it and make a good day of it.”

Wilson said no matter the ladder positions of both sides, it’s always a tough contest against Wahgunyah.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less this weekend,” he said.

“They’ve got a lot of quality players.”

Rutherglen’s only loss of the season came in round three to Kiewa-Sandy Creek, a game where the Cats kicked themselves out of it with just 13 goals from their 30 scoring shots.

“We know we were our own worst enemy against Kiewa,” Wilson said.

“Having a lot of scoring shots means you’ve got a lot of the play, so your scoring efficiency goes a long way towards putting sides away early in games.”

The Lions are in top form after comfortably disposing of Yackandandah, who were the league’s only other undefeated side, last start.

Wahgunyah co-coach Brett Skinner believes his side will try to draw upon the occasion as well. 

“I think this will be one of the biggest games our group has played in for quite a number of years,” Skinner said.

“We understand Karl left a pretty big presence there with what’s gone on earlier in the year, but we’ll take it on board as a cancer awareness day for ourselves as well.

“We just hope our guys can perform like they have the first five weeks.

“We’ve been written off a couple of times this year, so if that’s the way it goes again this week, we’re happy to go in as underdogs and do what we can.

“Hopefully both sides play a good brand of football and there’s some good support there for both clubs.”

Off the back of its first loss of the season last round against Wahgunyah, Yackandandah clash with a Mitta United outfit that is growing in confidence.

Thurgoona will start heavy favourites at home to Beechworth.

Barnawartha and Tallangatta will both be chasing their second win of the season when they meet at Barnawartha.

Chiltern hosts the winless Dederang-Mount Beauty, while Wodonga Saints face Kiewa-Sandy Creek.