Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bushrangers to blood four more players

Due to players being on representative duties this weekend Murray Bushrangers will take on a new look and four players will make their debuts against Geelong Falcons.

DAMEN FRANCIS June 20, 2014 3:05am

Mooroopna’s Michael Reidy has been elevated from Murray Bushrangers’ development list and will make his debut against Geelong Falcons.

Murray Bushrangers truly are the TAC Cup’s leading land of opportunity.

The Bushrangers are in the unique position of providing players for two state programs — Victoria Country and NSW Rams.

While they regain three Country representatives this weekend, they lose eight players as NSW begins its AFL Under-18 Championships campaign.

It gives the Bushrangers a chance to blood four more debutants against Geelong Falcons at Highgate Recreation Reserve tomorrow.

Mooroopna’s Michael Reidy, Mulwala’s Dale Powell and Myrtleford pair Callum Crisp — brother of Brisbane Lions player Jack — and Ryley Sharp will play their first games, while Deniliquin Rams’ Jake Marshall, Cobram’s Dion Metzner and Jerilderie’s Lachlan Leeds get another opportunity.

Rennie’s Daniel Howe and Benalla’s David Mennen return from Country duty, but Caleb Marchbank has been rested after a heavy recent workload.

Mooroopna star Nathan Drummond also makes his comeback from injury to round out 10 changes.

Mitch Mahady, Kieran Ellis, Nick Coughlan, Dougal Howard, Dylan McDonald, Jimmy Carroll, Isaac Muller and Brydan Hodgson are those on state duty.

Yarrawonga’s Brady Pritchard and Nathalia’s Tom Nihill were omitted.

The high turnover at this time of year is nothing new for Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier, who said the forced changes provided fresh opportunities for players to stake their claim for a regular spot in the side.

‘‘It happens every year,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘We start off with the top-age kids and the nationals kids and then they go and other kids come in and put their hand up and they’re in the side for the rest of the year.

‘‘(North Melbourne rookie) Kayne Turner did it last year and we’re certainly on the lookout for others.’’

The Bushrangers have lost height in Muller, Mahady and Howard and experience in Ellis and Hodgson, giving the likes of ruckman Alex Tattersall and full-forward Sharp a great chance to impress.

‘‘From a marking perspective, we certainly haven’t set the world on fire this year, particularly inside-50, and we’re not expecting miracles, but we want our tall timber to show us some of the talent they have,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘They (Geelong) are a good running team, they’re a small team and a skilful team.

‘‘We haven’t gone to try and totally match their run or get them with our height, but we’ve got a balance of both, we’re hoping to try and get some of our talls to have an impact and try and limit their run as much as we can.’’

The Bushrangers are still searching for their first win of the season at Highgate and will be buoyed by good form there last weekend, despite not getting the right result.

Country representative Darcy Parish has been named for the fifth-placed Falcons, but the likes of Nick Dixon, Hugh Goddard and Joe Maishman have not.

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