TAC CUP PREVIEW – ROUND 9
PULLING on the black, yellow and red strip after a six-week layout, Doveton dynamo Lachie Batten will make his eagerly anticipated TAC Cup return for Dandenong this weekend against Northern Knights.
Searching for a third win in a row – following a bye week for Vic Country versus Vic Metro last weekend – Dandenong welcomes back its vice-captain Batten alongside a swath of new, young faces.
Batten has been laid out with the bicep injury since the Stingrays’ round-four clash against Bendigo and is expected to make a raring return out of the back line before rotating into the centre.
“He’s been doing full training for the second week now – we wouldn’t pick him if he didn’t think he could come in and do the best he could,” Dandenong coach Craig Black said. “He’s the vice-captain and it’s always good to get back someone with that experience and we’ve missed his defence and rebound in the last few weeks.”
While the timing was unfortunate for Batten’s injury – leaving him out of the initial mix for Vic Country – Black believes he is capable enough to build his case in the TAC Cup and potentially push his way back into the mix.
“There are plenty of small forwards floating around in the AFL and they need good small defenders to play on them,” Black said.
“Lachie’s super aggressive and defensive and hopefully he comes back and in the next couple of weeks shows enough good form.
“We might introduce him to the midfield a little bit – but reckon he can play that defensive role for us down back and focus on one job.”
Joining Phillip Raso as the second Devon Meadows debutant in as many TAC Cup rounds will be Kyle Beveridge – a 183cm, 73kg key target – who is set to line-up at full forward after impressing in the Nepean Football League recently.
“We needed a forward this week and Beveridge had been in good form in pre-season,” Black said. “He kicked five for Devon Meadows in the seniors the other week and that holds a bit of merit and it gives him an opportunity at TAC Cup level.”
Thomas Jok will be out of Vic Country and Stingrays line-ups this week while Myles Poholke was a late-call up to Vic Country’s clash against Western Australia on Sunday.
“I reckon he’s (Poholke) a pretty talented junior from Sorrento – didn’t come into our 16s but came into 18s and has done well,” Black said. “He’s gotten used to the tempo and pace pretty well and it’s a pretty good effort to play six games of TAC Cup footy and now will be representing Victoria as a bottom age player.”
The fourth-placed Dandenong Stingrays face the struggling Northern Knights – currently languishing 10th out of the TAC Cup clubs – but Black knows the Stingrays can’t rest on their laurels.
“Their last game they beaten by Tassie – but they have a good team so there was plenty of good contested work from the Knights,” Black said. “When you’re dealing with the under-18 boys, it can be taken away really quickly so we have to make sure we keep our tackling up early and our pressure has to be up as well and hopefully the result looks after itself.”
Dandenong’s other debutant will be Mason De Wit, with the Mt Eliza tall playing as the Stingrays’ 23rd man.
The match commences on Saturday morning from 11.30am at Shepley Oval.
DANDENONG STINGRAYS – ROUND 9
IN: Batten, Downie, Z. Rouse, Kleverkamp, Nicholson, Beveridge.
OUT: Glen, Poholke, Rice, Lovett, Mutimer, Nyuon.
B: Batten, J. Rouse, Stoffels.
HB: White, McKay, Stewart.
C: La Fontaine, Roscoe, Pickess.
HF: Warke, Freeman, Raso.
F: Williams, Beveridge, Kiely.
R: Prior, Cox, Di Pasquale.
Int (selected from): Gladman, Kleverkamp, Nicholson, DeWit*, Downie, Turnbull, Z. Rouse.
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