THE Loddon Valley Football League will be on the rebound from back-to-back inter-league defeats when it meets Central Highlands at Bungaree on Saturday.
Since its 40-point win over Maryborough-Castlemaine in 2011, Loddon Valley has lost its past two inter-league games against North Central (73 points) and Horsham District (30) and is now at No.23 in the AFL Victoria Country rankings.
“It looks like being a very strong side compared to what we’ve had over the past couple of years,” co-coach Corey Gregg said on Thursday.
“There will be plenty of expectation this year to chalk up a win in inter-league, which we haven’t been able to do for a couple of years.
“The league has really put its best foot forward and set the guidelines for each of the players and we’ve had a really good response from the playing group, which is fantastic, so we’ll now go out and try to play some good footy and get a win.”
As is the case with any inter-league side, Gregg says the strength of Loddon Valley will be an even spread of talented players across every line.
“We won’t be reliant on a select few to get us up and going,” Gregg said.
“Our backline is looking reasonably tall, but there’s good mobility there with guys like Richard Tibbett, Darren Clutton and Andrew Gladman.
“Our backline will be good in the air, but also able to run and create.”
The forward line will include the season’s two leading goalkickers in Newbridge’s Rhys Ford and Pyramid Hill coach Paul Grayling.
“Grayling hasn’t put a foot wrong all year. Every game he has played he has had an impact, so he will be a big target for us,” Gregg said.
“And Rhys Ford, who is new to the competition, will give us a really strong focal point to kick to as well.
“One of our main focuses will be to make sure we have the right mix of talls and smalls in the forward line.”
The Loddon Valley side will also be co-coached by Damien Featherby.
Central Highlands, which has 18 clubs to pick its team from, flogged Ovens and King by 109 points last year.
B: Leighton Driscoll (YCW), Daniel Nalder (Bridgewater), Josh Shaw (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine).
Hb: Darren Clutton (c, Bridgewater), Brodie Leonard-Shannon (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine), Andrew Gladman (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine).
C: Matthew Perri (Mitiamo), Lachlan Ford (Newbridge), Glen Scholtes (Calivil United).
Hf: Rhys Ford (Newbridge), Taylor Strachan (Bridgewater), Jye Sandiford (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine).
F: Zeb Broadbent (Bridgewater), Paul Grayling (Pyramid Hill), Zac East (Bridgewater).
Foll: Chris Morgan (Marong), Adam Parry (Bridgewater), Corey Gregg (Marong).
Inter: Gavin James (Pyramid Hill), Jordan Gilboy (Newbridge), Angus Fortune (Newbridge), Danny Bateman (Pyramid Hill).
Coaches: Corey Gregg (Marong) and Damien Featherby (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine).
B: Jimmy Rushton (Waubra), Mark Gunnell (Gordon), Alan Ware (Hepburn).
Hb: Nicholas Hind (Clunes), Damien Day (c, Beaufort), Ashley Munari (Gordon).
C: Jarrod Morgan (Buninyong), Sam Turner (Buninyong), Scott Mann (Bungaree).
Hf: Will Young (Newlyn), Shaun Finlayson (Bungaree), Joel Mahar (Bungaree).
F: Tom Eltringham (Springbank), Brendan Sutcliffe (Hepburn), Nathan Pring (Carngham-Linton).
Foll: Dave Benson (Bungaree), Chris O'Keefe (Bungaree), Jason Delaney (Waubra).
Inter: Luke Gunnell (Gordon), Sam Jenkins (Dunnstown), Dan O'Halloran (Hepburn), Tyrone Ross (Skipton).
Coach: Greg Middleton.