NAB League | Bushies return to Shepparton for crunch clash with Calder Cannons

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Back in town: Murray Bushrangers make their return to Shepparton’s Deakin Reserve for a clash with the Calder Cannons. Photo by Megan Fisher

Murray Bushrangers will make their second appearance at Shepparton’s Deakin Reserve for season 2022 on Saturday, hosting Calder Cannons in what is a crucial NAB League clash.

Dropping their past two games by under a kick to metro sides Dandenong and Oakleigh, the Bushies are now just hanging on to eighth spot, and will be desperate for a victory to help secure a spot in the finals.

And with representative players from the national championships returning to their NAB League sides, both teams will be able to field their strongest line-ups in over two months, further adding to the intrigue of this clash.

Keen to make it two-from-two at Deakin Reserve this season, Murray Bushrangers coach Mark Brown said it was always a thrill to play in front of the Shepparton crowd.

“As the season gets to the pointy end with all the players returning from nationals and school footy the intensity is certainly going to go up,” Brown said.

“We always get really good support at Shepparton, it is probably the ground where we get the most support across our region and it creates a great atmosphere.

“Deakin is a nice little ground and as a result the spectators are right on top of the action, we’ve had one game there this year where we got a strong win and hopefully we can produce a similar performance this week.”

The Cannons come into this clash on the back of three hefty defeats to Eastern Ranges (36 points), Northern Knights (41 points) and Tasmania Devils (83 points).

But with an influx of Victoria Metro boys set to return to the squad, Brown said he was expecting a much stronger Calder lineup to greet his team at Deakin Reserve this weekend.

“Calder have had some tough results of late, but with how the competition works the side they roll out this weekend could be completely different to the one they’ve had over recent weeks,” he said.

“Traditionally we have really good contests against Calder and are expecting no different this time around.

“We’ve probably shot ourselves in the foot a little bit in the last two rounds, losing two close ones, so as a result we are back in the pack a little bit but we’re confident if we bring our best footy we’ll get the result.”

For those heading down to catch a glimpse of the region’s most exciting young football talent, Brown said to expect an eye-catching brand of football.

“We are very fortunate to have a very strong spine with a lot of height in it, and the boys are getting some good looks at the football, that makes for an exciting style of play,” he said.

“Our point of difference is our tall and versatile key position players, and if they can bring their best footy we’ll be a handful for most sides and put on a good show for the supporters.”

Mooroopna’s Coby James and Tatura’s Brayden George will miss the return to Goulburn Valley turf, with the former recovering from a shoulder reconstruction and latter nearing a return from a knee injury.

Murray Bushrangers take on Calder Cannons at Deakin Reserve on Saturday afternoon with the first bounce at 1pm.