DEFEATED the past two years, Heathcote DFL’s footy stars are aiming for a breakthrough victory in this Saturday’s clash with Sunraysia in the Worksafe AFL Community Championships.
The Heathcote line-up faces the long trek north to play at Mildura Recreation Reserve in Twelth Street.
Nick Carter is again in charge of the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football League’s stars and been rapt by the commitment of the players to the inter-league campaign.
“There are three key factors we have focused on,” Carter said after Tuesday’s training run at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.
“We spoke about being an honour to represent your league, competing and testing yourself at a higher level, and being part of a winning side.”
After a narrow defeat in Geelong last year, Carter believes Heathcote DFL will field a team capable of beating Sunraysia.
“It’s been a six-week build-up to inter-league.
“We started with a squad of 40, but injuries and unavailability have meant there’s now 30 players in the running for selection.
“A few injuries from last weekend have put some out of contention to play.”
Carter said the workrate at Tuesday’s training was superb.
“The great thing for us is we have a lot of players in great form.”
A strong attack could include Mount Pleasant’s Ben Weightman, Elmore’s Romain Grenville, Lockington Bamawm United’s Paddy Gardiner, and Mitch Dole from White Hills.
“They have all been in exceptional form,” Carter said.
The versatile Darcy Richards from North Bendigo, and Elmore’s James Harney may also be in the forward 50.
A key will be the centre clearances and link from defence to attack.
“Getting the balance of talls and smalls, pace from the backline, and a forward line that teams well is a great challenge.
“It’s why I really like being part of inter-league,” said Carter.
“Win enough of the ball and I believe we have enough talent in our forward line to capitalise.”
A talented squad includes Sam Kerridge and Jed Lamb who were team-mates at Carlton and are now at White Hills.
Heathcote’s gun recruit Codie Price provides a lot of dash and skill from half-back or through midfield.
Assistant coaches for Carter are Matt Hawken, Matt Sawyer and Danny Brewster.
Runner is Joel Condon.
The clash between Heathcote and Sunraysia starts at 1pm.
HDFL inter-league training squad:
Elmore: James Harney, Zac Laffy, Romain Grenville.
Colbinabbin: Hadleigh Sirett, Ben Southam, Todd Clarke, Nick Knight.
Heathcote: Dylan Robinson, Darcy McLean, Codie Price.
Huntly: Phil Ryan, Harry Whittle, Steve Kairn.
Leitchville-Gunbower: Logan Prout, Daniel Coates, Hoby Bussey, Brady Hore.
Lockington-Bamawm United: Jarod Bacon, Nathan Bacon, Paddy Gardiner, Rhys Woodland, Tyler Phillips, Bart Phillips, Tom Leech.
Mount Pleasant: Ben Weightman, Dale Young, Joseph Whiting, Luke Marchesi, Mitch Bennett.
North Bendigo: Jarrod Findlay, Joel Helman, Darcy Richards, Aaryn Craig, Jake Hyland.
White Hills: Jed Lamb, Rhys Irwin, Sam Kerridge, Mitch Dole, Kris Bedford.