Tally tuned out to news at Nagambie

August 10, 2017

Tallygaroopna coach Chris Earles is not paying any attention to Nagambie's absences ahead of Saturday's blockbuster, preferring to focus on his side controlling its own destiny with a finals double chance up for grabs.

A double chance?

Tallygaroopna would like to see that.

The Redlegs can go a long way towards earning a week off in the first week of the finals if they can topple Nagambie on Saturday.

The task won’t be easy, with the Lakers on the rebound from their worst loss in almost six years last week.

Linc Sullivan’s side was smashed at Violet Town by 90 points, with Nagambie missing its centre square brigade of Mick Shiels, Michael Roberts, Anthony Haysom and Steve Barber.

Shiels is still away on his honeymoon and will not be lining up against Tallygaroopna, but Haysom is a definite starter after recovering from concussion, while Roberts and Barber are a chance to return.

The Lakers are far from full strength, but Redlegs coach Chris Earles said his side was paying no attention to who the opposition had out.

‘‘We can’t go in with that approach, we’ve got to prepare for them to be at full strength,’’ Earles said.

‘‘We’ve had injuries during the season, like every other club, but we’ve got ourselves back in a position now that we probably didn’t think we’d be able to get to a few weeks ago.

‘‘Things have fallen in our favour and we’ve got an opportunity to stay in second spot, so the destiny is in our hands now and we’re not relying on other things to go our way.’’

Adam Brassil and Jayedon Hexter come back into the team, but Jayden Goodwin and Austin Tricarico are expected to be out due to injury.

Midfielder Tyler Pedretti and aggressive tall Luke McCluskey are still on the casualty list.

One of the Redlegs’ strengths has been their versatility up forward, with Jai Simmie (33 goals) and Sam Muggleton (30) the leading contributors at the front end of the ground, but there are eight other players to reach double figures.

Compare that to last year when former spearhead Brent Arho kicked 108 goals and Goodwin was next best with 33.

Lancaster v Longwood

Lancaster is in the box seat to secure a finals appearance.

It looked doubtful after a poor run of results, but Nick Bertoli’s Wombats are back in the race and should make it, barring any dramatic slip up.

They will start favourites in all their remaining games, with Saturday’s clash against Longwood to be followed by matches with Undera and Rushworth.

Lancaster’s last outing was a 103-point loss to Violet Town on July 22, with two straight byes.

Steve Thomson, Andrew Pettigrove and Chris Eddy have been leading the way all season.

Longwood will be looking to respond from a disappointing showing against Girgarre last Saturday, with the Redlegs entering that game on the back of two straight wins.

Braydon Kearns continues to be superb up forward and around the ground for Longwood.

Stanhope v Merrigum

Stanhope should be all refreshed to host Merriugm on Saturday after last week’s bye.

The Lions are still a chance to finish inside the top two, but everything would need to fall their way.

They will start warm favourites to put an end to the Bulldogs’ finals aspirations, with Mick Power’s side coming off three straight losses, including being smashed against Nagambie and Avenel during the past two weeks.

Key forward Jack Exell has had a quiet three weeks, kicking only two goals, but the Dogs know what sort of danger he presents.

Exell slotted 12 against Merrigum in round five as the Lions cruised to a 52-point win.

Josh Smith has been the Dogs’ dominant figure up forward this season with 27 goals, but they will need to bolster their scoring significantly after managing only five majors in their past two outings.

Undera v Girgarre

Girgarre is still a mathematical chance to feature in the finals going into Saturday’s match at Undera.

The Kangaroos should rack up another big win after smashing Longwood last week, but Lancaster should make their task of finishing inside the top six impossible with a win on the same day.

Shannon Tucker’s team has been hit hard by injuries, making a breakthrough finals appearance difficult.

But the Roos will be looking to take as much belief and momentum into next season as they can.

They had 10 individual goalkickers last week, with Ash Hughes, Jake Hyland, Jackson Neville and Matt Bartlett instrumental.

Undera kicked six goals against Rushworth last week — its biggest score since round seven when the Lions played Murchison-Toolamba.

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