Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Moama seeks improvement in derby game

Echuca United and Moama will play for the 3Jacks trophy at Echuca South Oval today.

LUKE MCMANUS April 18, 2014 3:57am

Echuca United's Liam Guinan and Moama's Tyler Jones are looking forward to the match.

Moama coach Simon Maddox is taking no risks ahead of today’s cross-border showdown with Echuca United.

Maddox highlighted six possible inclusions for today’s highly-anticipated clash at Echuca South Recreation Reserve in an effort to bolster a side fresh from its disappointing season opener against Barooga last week.

The Magpies were humbled by 58 points, dampening a promising pre-season campaign and forcing Maddox to concede ‘‘we may have got ahead of ourselves’’.

Jake Kilmartin, Matt Lynch and Brett Godfrey are among the likely inclusions but the coach stopped short of confirming a final list.

Maddox said some players with their hands up to play had been battling niggling injuries, which would automatically rule them out, including Matt Rickards, who injured himself last week.

Anyone under an injury cloud would be rested and would not be thrown into the deep end for the sake of a big game.

‘‘If they’re not right, they won’t play,’’ Maddox said.

‘‘I’d rather be 0-2 then risk blokes injuring themselves so early in the season.’’

Despite the conservative approach, the hype and significance surrounding the match-up was still an important factor in Moama’s preparations and not lost on Maddox.

The third-year coach is expecting a finals-like intensity against the reigning champion.

‘‘It will be hotter than normal,’’ Maddox said, who played in last season’s Good Friday fixture, which the Eagles won by 72 points to claim the 3Jacks Trophy.

‘‘Players look forward to these games, it provides a taste of what the intensity will be like towards end of the season.’’

A slow start against the Hawks last weekend proved costly, an area which Maddox sought to rectify at training this week along with basic skills errors.

Any lacklustre period against the Eagles could also prove costly, with the home side showing its ability to pull the trigger at any given moment, like in the second and fourth terms against Tongala on Saturday.

Eagles coach Scott Beattie was slightly suspect about the team’s sluggish start against the Blues, but was confident the Eagles’ ideal form would arrive soon enough.

‘‘Our start was concerning,’’ he said.

‘‘But in saying that we had an interrupted pre-season so our guys are still building towards the level of footy we expect of them.

‘‘If we can keep building then we’ll be okay.’’

Beattie said Ricki Waters was a confirmed starter in his return to the club’s senior side, while either Sandy Lawrence and Tyler Lethlean’s spot would depend on match-ups.

A win to the Eagles should top off a special day for its supporters and alike, with the club raising its 2013 premiership flag before the seniors kick off around 2.10pm.

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