THE North Central Football League will be aiming to build on its strong inter-league performances of the past two years and continue its charge up the AFL Victoria Country rankings.
North Central hosts Wimmera at St. Arnaud’s Lord Nelson Park on Saturday.
Since its shock 15-point loss to Mallee in 2011, North Central has bounced back with two convincing wins the past two years against Loddon Valley (73 points) and Geelong District (61).
This year’s team will be coached by Wycheproof-Narraport’s James Coatsworth and has a heavy Wedderburn influence.
The starting 18 includes eight Wedderburn players - Tom McCarthy, Rohan McHugh, Danny Benaim, Liam McCarthy, Brady Herdman, Sam Barnes, Adam Postle and Mark Lloyd.
The forward line is star-studded with Herdman, Barnes, James McNamee, Ricky Allan and Nick Coghlan all posing major threats inside 50, while Coatsworth believes the defence will also be a strength.
“Our back six is going to be really strong with Rohan McHugh, Cam Milward, Rhys Thompson, Aaron Wilson, Boe Bish and Tom McCarthy,” said Coatsworth, who will be a non-playing coach after suffering a jaw injury last week.
The on-ball brigade includes Mark Lloyd, who has been a regular Bendigo inter-league representative in recent years, former Carlton player Jesse Smith, Liam McCarthy, who has been the most consistent player this season for the undefeated Wedderburn and Charlton’s Walklate brothers, Aaron and Ben.
“There’s around 10 of the guys who have played over the past two years, so it has been good to have a bit of consistency,” Coatsworth said.
“We’ll be a fairly big-bodied side, but we’ve got a bit of class and run in the team that will hopefully, hold us in good stead on Saturday.”
The Wimmera league was beaten by Casey Cardinia by 12 points last year.
B: Boe Bish T. McCarthy R. Thompson
Hb: R. McHugh A. Wilson C. Milward
C: D. Benaim J. Smith A. Walklate
Hf: L. McCarthy B. Herdman J. McNamee
F: Nick Coghlan S. Barnes R. Allan
Foll: A. Postle M. Lloyd B. Walklate
Interchange: (from) C. Perry, H. Polglase, R. Tonkin, B. DeAraugo, D. Lourey, D. Thiesz, Sam O’Connor, K. Wilson
B: B. Harrison S. Christopher R. Conboy
Hb: J. Delahunty P. Weir A. McCrae
C: J. Wood P. Knott A. Trethowan
Hf: J. Williamson K. Delahunty B. Cosson
F: L. Cavanagh L. Excell T. Eckell
Foll: J. Chilver D. Mandes N. Pekin
Interchange: S. Field, J. Geue, N. Sibson, J. Peters