TOP teams Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers and Birchip Watchem have plenty of players in contention to represent the North Central Football League in this Saturday’s round of the Worksafe AFL Victoria Community Championships.
North Central heads to Learmonth Oval to tackle Central Highlands from 2.15pm.
A final team of 23 will be selected after Thursday night’s training session at Wycheproof.
A multiple premiership-winning player with Wycheproof Narraport, Ricky Allan will coach North Central for the first time.
Allan said the league was desperate for victory following a run of defeats by 14 points or less in the past three inter-league clashes.
“The midfield is our greatest strength,” Allan said of this year’s line-up.
“Trent Donnan is at Sea Lake Nandaly after playing at Strathfieldsaye last season and he is in brilliant form.
“Another key on-baller is Sam Simmons who is playing for Birchip Watchem after also being at Strath Storm.”
North Central will be captained by ruckman Lochlan Sirett, a second-year coach at Birchip Watchem.
Selector Col Durie plays a key off-field role for the NCFL line-up.
A main focal point in attack will be Wedderburn’s Sam Barnes.
The gun full-forward has kicked 32 goals for the Redbacks in five matches.
“Sam is such a strong mark and presence in the forward 50,” Allan said.
“A key will not be looking to kick the footy to him all the time.”
Allan said the marking and goalkicking ability of Charlton’s Tom Finlay, Billy McInnes from Sea Lake Nandaly would test the Central Highlands defence.
“There are plenty of options in attack, in the air and at ground level.”
North Central’s squad includes three or four players who are coaching or have coached at club level.
“One of our greatest challenges for inter-league is having enough players available to train at the one time,” Allan said.
“We have players based north of Swan Hill, and it’s also crop season.
“They are challenges we accept and do our best to overcome.”
Play at Learmonth kicks off at noon when the under-18 ½ teams do battle.
Alistair Egan is coach of North Central’s rising stars.
North Central FL’s senior football squad:
Birchip-Watchem: Lochlan Sirett, Riley Hogan, Dale Hinkley, Fraser House, Sam Simmons, Joe Reid, Stefan Pye.
Boort: Kieran Wilson, Jack Smith.
Charlton: Brock Orval, Tom Finlay.
Donald: Jacob Werts.
Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers: Kade Donnan, Trent Donnan, Wade Donnan, Billy McInnes, Matt Elliott, Brodie Adcock, Bryce Delmenico, Tom Summerhayes.
St Arnaud: Harley Durward.
Wedderburn: Sam Barnes, Jordan Hargreaves, Jayden Jones, Cam Perry, Robert Tonkin, Corey Lowry.
Wycheproof-Narraport: Ricky Allan, George Turner, Trevor Rumbold.