OVENS and Murray co-coach Jon Henry expects the league to field its strongest side in his three-year reign against Western Region at Yarrawonga’s J.C. Lowe Oval on Saturday.
Officials trimmed the squad to 26 players after Tuesday night’s training session with Wangaratta goalsneak Joe Richards a late inclusion.
Although automatic selections Brodie Filo, Daniel Cross and Christian Burgess have dropped out over the past 48 hours due to injury and work commitments, Henry is thrilled with the talent left at his disposal.
“’Henners’ reckons it’s the strongest side he has coached in his time,” Henry’s co-coach Brad Murray said.
“That’s not a bad sign.
“We’re both really excited about the side that’s coming together.
“There are always going to be a few players drop out, but the commitment has been terrific over the past few weeks.”
The Ovens and Murray have defeated Hampden and Goulburn Valley in their past two campaigns and another victory would elevate them into the top four leagues in the state.
In-form forwards Michael Newton and Brayden O’Hara are set to play while the midfield looks potent with Yarrawonga’s Mark Whiley and Tyler Bonat and Lavington’s Nick Meredith in the mix.
Pigeon ruckman Lachie Howe and North Albury’s Shaun Mannagh will play if free of VFL commitments.
"We’re really keen for Lachie and Shaun to play, but we will have to wait on that one,” Murray said.
“Hopefully we hear in the next day or so.
“Our spine looks good and we have pace and contested players as well.”
The Ovens and Murray will train for the final time at Yarrawonga on Thursday night.
The squad is:
ALBURY: L. Daly, M. Duncan, B. O’Hara; LAVINGTON: M. Brennan, B. Dickson, J. Spina, T. Hargreave, L. Garland, N. Meredith; MYRTLEFORD: M. Dussin; NORTH ALBURY: S. Mannagh, L. Taylor-Nugent; WANGARATTA: J. Anderson, M. Grossman, M. Bordignon, M. Newton, D. Sharrock, D. Van Berlo, J. Richards; WODONGA RAIDERS: J. Neagle, B. St. John. YARRAWONGA: T. Bonat, L. Howe, B. Symes, H. Wheeler, M. Whiley.