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Bushrangers have power Ranges in sights

Murray Bushrangers will need to be right on top of their game when they tackle reigning premier Eastern Ranges under lights at Norm Minns Oval tomorrow in the TAC Cup.

DAMEN FRANCIS April 25, 2014 3:10am

Murray Bushrangers’ first home game of the season will be up in lights, as the club hosts its maiden TAC Cup night fixture at Norm Minns Oval tomorrow.

The Bushrangers take on reigning premier Eastern Ranges in their first meeting with metropolitan opposition for the season, following matches with Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power and North Ballarat Rebels.

‘‘There’s plenty to look forward to and it’s Anzac Day weekend, so hopefully the boys can transfer all that spirit onto the ground,’’ Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier said.

‘‘All the metro teams are very strong and Eastern aren’t as tall as last year, but they’re still tall and they’ve got good belief and work ethic, so we’ll have to be at our best.’’

That belief was put to the test last time out, when the Ranges recovered from a nightmare second quarter where they trailed nine goals to two at half-time, to win by four points in a thrilling clash with Northern Knights.

Bushrangers vice-captain Caleb Marchbank makes his long-awaited return from a shoulder injury and the Benalla big man was champing at the bit to get out and play.

The news was not as good for fellow long-term absentee Nick Coughlan, who was also set for his first TAC Cup game since round two last year, but suffered an ankle injury at training on Wednesday night.

‘‘He and Marchy both played their last game together and it would have been nice for them to play their first game back together, so it’s unfortunate,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘Marchy’s very happy, it’s one of the first times I’ve seen him smile in 14 months. He’ll play limited game time and he won’t be a match-winner, but hopefully he can get through the game, that’s the most important thing.’’

Coughlan was replaced in the selected side by emergency Shaun Mannagh from Walla.

Euroa’s Nate Trotter also gets his first crack at TAC Cup football.

Trotter, an under-16 Victoria Country representative, had an interrupted pre-season, but gets his chance under the 23rd man rule, that allows him to play 50 per cent game time anywhere but the midfield.

Ogier said Trotter was predominately a defender, but would be used at both ends of the ground, with his tenacious attack on the ball and love for one-on-one contests to be an asset.

Elijah Wales (foot), Tom Mogg (school commitments) and Will Carlile (omitted) miss out from the round four win against the Rebels.

The game starts at 7pm.

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