Mat Walker is facing the biggest debut in league history in Sunday’s grand final.
The Murray Bushrangers’ midfielder was included on Albury’s three-man bench against Wangaratta at the latter’s Norm Minns Oval.
The 18-year-old has never played a game, at any level, for the club.
The Tigers have stressed though they will only finalise their squad today, so it could change.
The club will host its captain’s run this morning.
Since the O and M started in 1893, it’s doubtful a player would have ever made his club debut in the decider.
Wangaratta Rovers’ Rohan Graham made his senior debut in the 1996 preliminary final against Albury.
However, he had played under 18s with the Hawks.
Graham’s bombshell selection was certainly a major talking point.
The Tigers head into a State record-equalling 10th successive grand final.
It has won six of the nine deciders, falling to Yarrawonga (2012-13) and Wangaratta (2017).
Wangaratta Rovers hold the greatest era of domination, winning seven in a nine-season period from 1971, while St Patrick’s record-breaking outfit claimed six in seven years in the 1920s.
Despite Albury’s experience – Chris Hyde, Michael Thompson, Luke Packer and Joel Mackie will be out to snare a record-equalling seventh O and M flag – the club has grand final debutants in Walker, Rhys King and Jessy Wilson.
“My big one is not to over-think it too early, don’t play the game in your head too early,” co-coach Shaun Daly said.
“I did it when I was younger … by the time Sunday comes around, mentally you’re drained.”
Albury will be chasing a league record 22nd premiership, while the Pies have 15.
The forecast is for a mostly sunny 19 degrees as the city hosts its first decider since 1994.
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