The Murray Bushrangers will be out to halt a two-game losing skid when they travel to Queen Elizabeth Oval for a derby with the Bendigo Pioneers tomorrow.
Murray struggled to produce its best football in a 10-goal thumping by Oakleigh last weekend, doubling the side’s misery of a loss in its previous game to Dandenong.
Missing the key cogs of Zane Barzen, Laitham Vandermeer, Lachie Ash and Hudson Garoni, all on Victoria Country duty, the heart of the Bushrangers was effectively ripped out and it showed on the park.
The side conceded the first five goals of the contest and could not work its way back.
But facing the struggling Pioneers, the Bushies would have their eyes firmly on four points, even without their representative starts.
The Bendigo side is just 1-7 and has not won since round one, sitting on the bottom of the TAC Cup ladder.
The contest will bring debuts for Shepparton United’s Liam Fiore, as well as Shepparton Swans’ bottom-age talent Luke Whyte.
Fiore has only played three games with the Demons’ under-18s this season, while Whyte has been in the Swans’ thirds in recent weeks after playing the first four games of the season in the seniors.
The Bushies will have to battle through the absence of defensive pillar Ajak Dang, the Mooroopna marvel sidelined for the game with a foot injury sustained at training.
Euroa prospect Robbie Paradzayi, excited with his appetite for the hard ball in his debut, retains his place in the side, as does Mansfield’s Joel Sanford.
Benalla’s Mark Marriott will again be called on to lead the way, his 21-hit out, 13-disposal game last weekend a brilliant solo display.
The Pioneers’ side features a host of GV talents, with Echuca’s Noah Wheeler and Liam Tenace joining Rochester’s Jacob Atley and Kyabram’s Cooper Vick in the line-up.