Wodonga Raiders have recalled three teenagers, including two Murray Bushrangers, for Sunday’s preliminary final clash against Wangaratta.
Dylan Clarke and Floyd Bollinghaus return from the TAC Cup under 18 competition, while Daniel Bond has been named for his first senior game since July 21.
The aggressive Bond has battled two long-term ankle complaints this season and played his first game in seven weeks in the 17-point first semi win over Wangaratta in reserve grade last Sunday.
And coach Daryn Cresswell is considering handing Bond the league’s toughest job – stopping boom forward Michael Newton at the Albury Sportsground.
“We’ve got Jordan Rouse and we’ve also got Daniel Bond, who’s big and tough, so we’ve got a couple of options we’re looking at,” he said.
Wangaratta coach Dean Stone has said publicly Newton has never been sharper over the past two seasons.
And the Doug Strang medallist showed that with an electrifying performance in the eight-goal first semi win over Yarrawonga.
Newton landed six majors, including a super 55m effort.
The former Melbourne forward has now kicked 72 goals in 17 games.
However, he’d kicked only seven in the previous four games heading into finals, although a number had been played in wet conditions.
Newton missed the 15-point qualifying final loss to Raiders through suspension.
And the Pies look at least a four-goal better outfit than the one which fell in the league’s first night final.
Defender Michael Bordignon will play just his third game in almost three months after also returning from suspension.
Bordignon missed a large slab of the second half of the season while overseas, before receiving a two-match ban following the final home and away season match.
While so little football would be a worry for many, the defender is a naturally fit player.
Bordignon is the only change with Luke Saunders making way.
The teams have met three times this season with Raiders stunning the premiers in the season opener with a 20-point win.
Wangaratta scored a pulsating two-goal win in a controversial round 11 clash, with Newton kicking five of the 13 goals.
He landed three in round one, so Raiders will be desperate to keep him under his average of four.
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