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Old rivals to lock horns on big day

Neighbouring rivals Merrigum and Lancaster will renew hostilities on Saturday in the WorkSafe Game of the Month in Kyabram District Football League.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 15, 2014 3:15am

Merrigum president Greg Pell’s and Lancaster president Rowan Bennett’s clubs will lock horns on Sunday in the WorkSafe Game of the Month.


Traditional rivals Merrigum and Lancaster will be out to put on a show when they clash at Merrigum Recreation Reserve on Sunday.

The round six Kyabram District Football League match is the WorkSafe Game of the Month, with Hawthorn champion and Victoria Country coach Peter Knights to present trophies to the winning senior football and A-grade netball games.

Knights is also the keynote speaker at a half-time function, while AFL Victoria Country football manager Brett Connell will be in attendance.

Comedian and radio personality Dave O’Neil will be the master of ceremonies.

Merrigum president Greg Pell said it represented a great occasion for the club.

‘‘It’s been a big process getting it organised and there are only five or so of these games a year, so we’re very chuffed to be selected,’’ Pell said.

‘‘The club is not making any money out of it, it’s just about promoting the club and the league.’’

Battles between Merrigum and Lancaster invariably provide a spirited contest.

While the Bulldogs are flying high on top of the ladder, with five wins from six games, coach Christian Barnett said the fifth-placed Wombats would put up plenty of fight.

‘‘Lancy and Merrigum is always a big rivalry,’’ Barnett said.

‘‘We always play for a cup anyway and at training I heard boys talking about it. But it’s not just players, but their fathers and grandfathers pumping it up as a big game.

‘‘They are fifth on the ladder and fourth for points against, so it’s not going to be easy.’’

The home side will be without Brodie Vick, but have players putting their hands up in the reserves — a rarity in recent years.

The likes of Josh Stammers, Travis Thomson and Luke Twynstra are in the mix to come into the senior side.

It has been the usual suspects leading the way for Merrigum this season, with Josh Pell, Ramadan Yze, Bob Knowles and Jon Barnett prominent through the opening five rounds.

However, winger Jason Christou has caught the eye as well.

‘‘(Jason) has been really handy for us as an up-and-comer,’’ Barnett said.

‘‘He’s moulded himself into the side and has actually surprised us with his ability.

‘‘He breaks the lines, has good foot skills and knows when to take risks and back himself.’’

Barnett said he was wary of Daniel Clarke and Wombats playing coach Paul Burnett and was confident if his side could keep them quiet, it would go a long way to ensuring the club celebrated its big day in style.

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