Tatura will likely be boosted with the return of favourite son Mitch Elliott for tomorrow’s crucial clash against Seymour.
Elliott suffered a serious knee injury in round one of the Goulburn Valley League season, but even after a somewhat favourable diagnosis was never expected back on the field this quickly.
‘‘It is ahead of schedule,’’ Tatura coach Jamason Daniels said.
‘‘He’s been the runner the past two weeks and is moving really well.
‘‘There’s none more professional than him, probably in country footy.
‘‘He hasn’t had a drop of alcohol since the injury — which included coming to the club ball sober — and has been on the bone broth soups. He’s just the ultimate professional and we’re rapt to be playing with him again provided he gets through training (last night).
‘‘For him to be playing again this year is great for the footy club, let alone this early.’’
Joining Elliott on a handy list of inclusions for the Bulldogs will be Matt Ryan (illness), Braydon Sutton (ankle) and James Fraser (managed), making for a tough night at the selection table for Daniels.
‘‘There’s going to be some guys who are stiff to miss out,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘I’ve had some tough conversations this week, but it’s a mark of a good side when blokes who are still in reasonable form are being squeezed out.’’
The Bulldogs have had two critical victories in the past fortnight — against Mansfield and Benalla — after a loss to Shepparton, and can give themselves some breathing space in third position on the ladder with another win tomorrow.
‘‘We knew it was a really important block of games in our season, after next week we will have played everyone once,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘It’s an important game against Seymour and we really need to go down there with the right mindset.
‘‘(Our form) is a week by week proposition, but if we show up with the right mentality we can match it with everyone in the comp.’’
The Lions are also eyeing off third spot on the table, but will focus firmly on the immediate task ahead of them at Kings Park tomorrow.
‘‘It’s third v fourth with the winner going into outright third, it’s a huge game,’’ Seymour co-coach Ben Clifton said.
‘‘Third’s often been the spot to finish in the GV, it’s very important, but us getting a win over a quality opponent is more important.
‘‘We know over the last couple of weeks in a couple of big games (Tatura’s) leadership group and top end players have really stood up.’’
Kier Bol and Phil Soloman stood out in a demolition of Shepparton United last week for the Lions, while James Wooster will be among a number of inclusions this round.
Clifton and his coaching team will look for a similar output from their troops to last’s weeks efforts.
‘‘It was good to play some good footy last week,’’ Clifton said.
‘‘The effort that we rolled out against Mooroopna and the Swans wasn’t ideal and could hijack our season if we put in more performances like that.’’