WODONGA will take its youngest line-up in Jarrod Twitt’s five-year reign as coach into today’s crunch match against Wangaratta at the John Flower Oval.
With the Bulldogs making seven changes at the selection table, Twitt has turned to more youth in a bid to stay in touch with the top five with Chris Lieschke the latest debutant.
“It’s not about finals for us, it’s about improving and if that happens quickly enough finals are something that could come into the picture later in the season,” Twitt said.
“I thought I had coached some young sides at Wodonga over the past few years, but this weekend is without doubt the youngest.
“It makes blokes like ‘Willo’ (Adam Williams) and myself feel old, that’s for sure.
“It would be an unbelievable effort if we could play finals this year and probably one of the best at the club for a long time.
“Tomorrow is all about improving our kids and continuing the rebuilding phase.”
Wodonga has lost ruckman Hayden Heta with an ankle injury, Zac Jones with VCFL under-19 commitments, Jared Worsteling who is in South Africa following the World Cup and Brent Hibberson with a shoulder injury, while Dylan Beattie and Sam Wortmann were omitted.
Lieschke heads the list of inclusions along with Josh Bartel, Tom Brown, Tom Russell, Zac Fulford, Tom Heagney and Jye Shields.
“It’s been one of those seasons where we haven’t really been able to settle a side, but the positives have been there and we are approaching Wangaratta the same way,” Twitt said.
“Another kid (Lieschke) gets his chance and that’s exciting heading forward.
“We probably would have liked to have had one more win at the halfway mark but you are going to get ups and downs with such a young side.”
Wangaratta has also been on a roller coaster with David Steer and Dale Whelan forced out through injury, but the Magpies have too much at stake to drop another winnable match.
Coach Judd Porter said it was important to bounce back after last weekend’s disappointing performance against Yarrawonga.
“It wasn’t a great effort and we need to win this one,” Porter said.
“Across the board we need to get better if we want to play finals.”