Lavington's Luke Garland says the club's growing band of three to four-year players is pushing the club closer to ending its Albury hoodoo.
While Garland is obviously aware the Panthers will start underdogs at Lavington Sportsground on Saturday night, given the Tigers have won seven of the past 10 flags, he believes there's positive signs as the club looks to snap a 10-match losing streak against Albury.
"We're starting to get a lot more guys with 50 to 70 games, so they're starting to mature and play their positions well," he said.
"That's where the improvement is going to come from, guys having the confidence that they are good Ovens and Murray players."
Garland says midfielders Marty Brennan, Tom Hargreave and Shaun Mannagh fall into that category, labelling the trio as the "next generation leaders".
Lavington hasn't toppled Albury since round 16, 2015.
The average winning margin has been 46 points, so it's been a dominant era, which included the 2015-16 premierships.
Mind you, Albury has naturally dominated every club in the past decade, given they share the Victorian state record for the most successive grand final appearances.
"You've just got to be able to play your game and do the things that you put into place at training because that's obviously what the coaching staff see as the best opportunity to beat them," Garland said.
The Panthers' hopes of an upset haven't been helped though with defender Brant Dickson (shoulder) and Adam Flagg (head knock) ruled out.
"Once 'Dicko' went off last week, Adam Butler went back to fullback and did a really good job," Garland said.
"And 'Flaggy' is very good, he can play as a tall or a crumbing forward, so there will be multiple players to go through there."
Former Canberra player Grange McMahon will also debut.
"He's a solid backman who can move into the midfield, if required," Garland said.
Albury has just the one change, with premiership ruckman Zach Bye in for Jim Grills, who has polo commitments.
Fellow premiership players Dean Polo (back) and Jessy Wilson (suspension) have been named in reserves.
Polo has been named quicker than expected after it was first thought he would miss at least two more games.
The Tigers have played only one match, toppling an improved Wangaratta Rovers by 68 points, while Lavington has posted wins over North Albury and Wodonga.
Brennan and wingman Jack Kirley have been outstanding in those games.
Livewire on-baller Brennan is back to his best after battling a quad complaint.
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