Bendigo's ruck strength a concern for Gippsland

BENDIGO’S ruck strength is a major concern for Gippsland Football League coach Harmit Singh ahead of Saturday’s Worksafe Country Championship clash at the QEO.

GREAT FORM: Gisborne's Tom Waters and Sandhurst's Tim Martin do battle in a centre bounce last Saturday. Picture: PETER WEAVING

GREAT FORM: Gisborne's Tom Waters and Sandhurst's Tim Martin do battle in a centre bounce last Saturday. Picture: PETER WEAVING

Sandhurst’s Tim Martin and Gisborne’s Tom Waters give Bendigo an imposing one-two punch in the ruck.

“Tim and Tommy, in my opinion, are in the best five ruckmen in country Victoria,’’ Singh, who formerly played with Castlemaine and the Bendigo Bombers, said on Tuesday.

“They’re a fantastic combination for Bendigo to have and a great challenge for our two ruckmen.

“From the side I saw in the paper, the Bendigo team looks very strong through the ruck and midfield.

“The side has good pace and will be able to move the ball quickly, so we’ll need to put some pressure on and force some turnovers.”

Gippsland released a squad of 27 for the game, but Singh has already been forced to make one change with Sale’s Bendigo Gold-listed midfielder Tom Hams to miss the game because of injury.

Gippsland is also without star forward Matt Ferguson (ankle) and key midfielder Michael Stockdale (knee).

“We have a training session tonight (Tuesday) and we’ll look at bringing in another one or two to the squad,’’ Singh said.

“We’ll wait and see on conditions and match-ups before we pick our final 23.”

Singh has gone for a tall squad, with 11 players listed at least 190cm.

“We’ve got a good mix of talls,’’ he said.

“Some of our taller players are quite quick, so we have some good flexibility with where we play them.”

One of those talls is Bairnsdale centre half-forward James Gibbs.

The 28-year-old was one of Gippsland’s best players in the clash with Bendigo two years ago and he will captain Gippsland this year.

Gippsland’s squad will head to Bendigo on Friday, stopping at Victoria Park in Collingwood for an early-afternoon training session.

Gippsland's squad:

Luke Dyer  age 24, height 183, weight  83 GFL club: Bairnsdale

Harmit Singh 27 184 84 Morwell

Ryan Pendlebury 21 194 87 Sale

Mitch  Davis 23 191 90 Sale

Wes Russell 19 194 98 Bairnsdale

Chris  Verboon 27 195 87 Leongatha

Tom Hutton 24 191 87 Morwell

James  Blaser 25 178 81 Moe

Tom Long 26 183 85 Moe

Jack  Blair 21 172 70 Wonthaggi

Aaron Ware 29 185 87 Wonthaggi

Andrew  Quirk 24 191 82 Sale

John Gooch 24 194 95 Sale

Brad Scalzo 26 167 72 Warragul

Aiden  Lindsay 21 183 82 Wonthaggi

Kane  Martin 25 176 77 Sale

Luke Collins 33 181 88 Sale

Ben Kearns 19 184 79 Morwell

James  Gibbs 28 195 95 Bairnsdale

Daniel Bedggood 22 187 85 Maffra

Michael Geary 30 184 86 Traralgon

Darren Sheen 26 195 95 Maffra

Jack  Lipman 23 198 95 Sale

Chris  Carey 19 196 96 Warragul

Zac Vernon 23 183 83 Leongatha

Kelvin Porter 24 183 87 Maffra

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