Spitfires men get big guns back for must-win clash with Goulburn

MAJOR COUP: Former Albury-Wodonga Spitfires coach Andrew Monte has returned to the club from Melbourne and is set to make a huge impact against Goulburn.

MAJOR COUP: Former Albury-Wodonga Spitfires coach Andrew Monte has returned to the club from Melbourne and is set to make a huge impact against Goulburn.

The Albury-Wodonga Spitfires’ ability to break a run of five straight losses in the Capital League men’s competition has been aided by the return of two quality Border hockey exports.

Andrew Monte and Tim Jones have committed to reunite with the Spitfires and are likely to slot straight into the starting line-up against Goulburn at Albury Hockey Centre on Saturday.

Co-coach Tony Donnolley is rapt to have the experienced duo back on board.

“Andrew was playing in Melbourne and wasn’t enjoying the competition there, so he’s come back for a hit with us,” Donnolley said.

“Tim Jones has been playing in the local comp and has seen how much the boys are enjoying it and decided to put his hand up to come back for a hit.

“Tim is an old state league player and has plenty of experience at that level.

“He’s an older, smarter head.”

The inclusions are even more important given the Spitfires have four key absences for the clash.

Matt Bardy has been ruled out for at least a week with an ongoing hamstring complaint, while Charley Wallace, Sam Quick and Jeremy Maggs are all unavailable. 

“Hopefully Andrew and Timmy can cover those positions,” Donnolley said.

“Andrew is also one of the best drag flickers going around, so hopefully we can use that to get a few better results off the corners.

“Chris Fazel has been away with the Defence Force in their hockey tournament, but he’s been playing a lot and should come back pretty sharp.”

Former Kookaburras centre forward Glenn Turner headlines a powerful Goulburn lineup, which also includes quality players Ben and Jake Staines, along with Aaron Kershaw.

Meanwhile, the Spitfires women also take on Goulburn at home off the back of three straight losses.

Coach Jerry Sutherland admitted the recent results have started to hit home with his side.

“We’ve got to get on the board and make sure of our marking up, tackling and desperation in the circle to get goals,” he said.

“The girls know it’s crunch time, we need to string two or three wins together to get up to fourth or fifth and then win some away games.”

Hayley Hutchinson and Ange McDonald will miss the clash, but co-captain Samantha Daly is a key in.

The women’s clash starts at 2pm, followed by the men’s game at 3.30pm.