Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ryan's army ready for battle

Goulburn Valley interleague coach Travis Ryan has named a strong team, including 12 new faces, to take on Ballarat on Saturday.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 22, 2014 3:15am

Kyabram’s Jason Morgan (vice-captain) and Shepparton United’s Tim Looby (captain) will lead Goulburn Valley into battle against Ballarat on Saturday.

There were few surprises, but a lot of relief when Goulburn Valley Football League coach Travis Ryan unveiled the 23 players who would don the purple and gold on Saturday.

Such was the quality at Ryan’s disposal, a dozen of the competition’s finest players didn’t make the final cut.

Two others pulled out through injury.

Shepparton United playing co-coach Tim Looby will lead Goulburn Valley into battle against Ballarat, with Kyabram defensive general Jason Morgan named vice-captain.

‘‘Tim’s been vice-captain for the last couple of years, so he’s a logical choice as captain, and Jason Morgan has been a terrific player and a good servant for the league,’’ Ryan said.

Last year’s skipper and interleague champion Paul Newman misses the clash through injury, but was at training last night and addressed the players after the session and before the final team was announced.

Twelve new faces come into the team as Ryan attempts to guide Goulburn Valley back to the promised land of a shot at the AFL Victoria Country Championships No.1 ranking.

The winner at Deakin Reserve on Saturday will meet the winner of Geelong and Peninsula next year.

Ryan said choosing this year’s team was the most difficult challenge yet, but he was looking forward to seeing some fresh faces wearing the jumper.

‘‘We had six or seven that have missed out this year, which is disappointing for them, but good for us having the options there,’’ Ryan said.

‘‘Ballarat are very similar to us in that a lot of their established players that have been around a long time are either injured or have moved on, so they’re playing some blokes, the same as we are, but they’re going to be strong opposition.’’

Euroa teenager Will Hayes is the youngest player in the side, while Shepparton Swans on-baller Quade Johnstone was rewarded for his stellar run of form with a prized place in midfield.

Liam Ogden and Nick Warnock retained their places from last year and once-AFL listed key position player Lachie Smith got the nod.

Brad Henderson, Adam Boshevski, Nick Gray, Nathan Gilliland, Brodie A’Vard, Justin Maddern, Josh Marchbank, Will Martiniello and Dan Willis are the other newcomers.

Marchbank and A’Vard are the recognised ruckmen in the squad.

Euroa playing coach Nathan Gilliland and Will Martiniello were unavailable due to prior engagements, while Shepparton Swans star Dan Lovick got held up at work, but were included in the team.

Reigning Rochester best-and-fairest Nick Knight, Benalla prime-mover Al Jacka, Shepparton Swans bolter Michael Tinkler, Tatura captain Billy Lovel, Echuca running defender Matt Pollock, Kyabram hard nut Nick Coulstock and Shepparton ruckman Ash Holland were the unlucky players not to have their names called on the night.

Matt Di Bella, JD Hayes, Jake Pallpratt, Tom Sullivan and Ryan Colbert also missed out.

Seymour’s ex-Sydney Swan Brett Meredith suffered a groin injury last weekend and Tatura hard nut Shannon Broadbent also withdrew through injury.

Mooroopna forward Daniel Lewis didn’t train, but was named in the final team.

The defence looks Goulburn Valley’s biggest strength, with Matt O’Keefe and Jason Morgan able to lock down key forwards and Tom Sheldon and Daniel Lovick providing plenty of rebound capability.

An all ex-VFL on-ball division of Josh Marchbank, Will Martiniello and Nick Gray also catches the eye.

In announcing the team, Ryan reminded players of what was on the line and warned that Ballarat would be coming to play, with one eye on avenging the championship defeat it suffered at Deakin three years ago.


B: Brad Henderson (United), Matt O’Keefe (Seymour), Tim Looby (United)

HB: Dan Lovick (Swans), Jason Morgan (Kyabram), Adam Boshevski (Mansfield)

C: Quade Johnstone (Swans), Will Hayes (Euroa), Brendon Hollow (Rochester)

HF: Nathan Gilliland (Euroa), Dan Lewis (Mooroopna), Lachie Smith (Benalla)

F: Liam Ogden (Kyabram), Brodie A’Vard (Swans), Justin Maddern (Swans)

Foll: Josh Marchbank (Benalla), Will Martiniello (Benalla), Nick Gray (Mansfield)

Inter: Dan Willis (Shepparton), Luke Morgan (Benalla), Nick Warnock (Benalla), Andrew Riordan (Swans), Tom Sheldon (Kyabram)

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