The old band is getting back together.
Wangaratta’s hopes of retaining its flag received the biggest boost in months with four premiership players returning at home against North Albury on Saturday.
Powerful on-baller Matt Kelly hasn’t played since breaking his wrist against North Albury on May 26, while heady defender Ben Douthie (AC joint) and interleague fullback Michael Bordignon (overseas holiday) have both missed seven weeks.
Rugged midfielder Daniel Boyle only missed the Wodonga game on July 28, but he’s played just six games after a late start following a broken foot while water skiing in the off-season.
It’s not all good news though with the league’s best centre half-back, Dylan Van Berlo, not expected back before the final round game against Wangaratta Rovers.
Van Berlo limped off against Wodonga with a hamstring injury.
The return of the star quartet is among six changes for the game, which has no bearing on the top five, with Mark Anderson surprisingly dumped after some fine performances during the season.
And in good news, vice-captain Matt Hedin will play his first game in reserve grade since re-injuring his knee against Lavington in round one.
Hedin missed all last year after tearing his ACL in round two.
The Pies have been decimated by injuries and unavailability, but there’s no doubt if the team is at full strength, it’s still capable of contesting a second successive grand final.
North Albury has two debutants, including South Australian country star Nick Schmidt, the older brother of sidelined co-coach Chris, who has a broken wrist.
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