Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bushrangers ready to rumble with Rebels

Murray Bushrangers are prepared for a real slog when they take on North Ballarat Rebels in Bendigo tomorrow.

DAMEN FRANCIS April 11, 2014 3:10am

Murray Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier is preparing his charges for a tough slog against North Ballarat Rebels tomorrow.

The Rebels are winless through their opening two matches, but Ogier warned they far from represented a free kick for his side.

‘‘The Rebels are pretty tall and have been very competitive so far in both of their games,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘They could very easily have been two (wins) and zero (losses) and our players need to be prepared for a hard contest.’’

The clash will be the third of a TAC Cup country triple-header at Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval tomorrow — one day after two final round games of the Victorian Country Under-16 Championships at the same venue.

Those games include the Bushrangers’ clash with North Ballarat, with Notre Dame College’s Will Brodie and Harry Boyd and Mooroopna trio Jye Simpkin, Jason Myrtle and Jayk Papoulis in action.

With rain also likely to be a factor on either day, heavy conditions are expected.

‘‘We’re the fifth game on there, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it holds up,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘If it is wet under foot our skills won’t be as good, so we’ll need to work harder.

‘‘The boys were bitterly disappointed in last week’s effort and desperately want to turn it around.’’

The senior Bushrangers have made two changes from the side that slumped to a disappointing loss to Gippsland Power last week.

Allister Clarke and Will Carlile have been restored to the side that opened the season with a win against Bendigo Pioneers.

Finley’s Trojan Clarke has been passed fit again, after sitting out last week with suspected shin splints, and will line-up in the back pocket.

Michael Duncan misses out with a heel problem, while Mooroopna ruckman Alex Tattersall has been omitted.

‘‘Alex is just lacking more match fitness than we anticipated and we decided to go with one tall this weekend,’’ Ogier said.

In-form big man Isaac Muller — 57 hit-outs in two games — will carry the bulk of the duties, with support from key position player Dougal Howard if required.

After gathering 26 possessions, including nine handball receives, in a losing side last week, Mooroopna’s Nathan Drummond will have an important role to play again.

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