FIFTEEN players are set to run out for their first senior interleague encounter in a Central Highlands Football League jumper on Saturday.
But senior coach Greg Middleton isn’t worried about a perceived lack of experience in the side that will take on Loddon Valley in the state country championships at Bungaree.
“I don’t see those players as debutants. They have been around the competition for quite a while now and they are very good players that have established themselves as very good players of the competition,” Middleton said.
“Although it’s their first time at this level, I know they’ll put their hand up and do a really good job.”
Only seven players have represented the Highlanders at senior level, including skipper Damien Day and vice-captain Shaun Finlayson. Others that have featured in the past are Ash Munari, Nathan Pring, Jarrod Morgan, Tom Eltringham and Mark Gunnell.
Middleton told The Courier he was pleased with the team that had come together in what is his first year at the helm after taking over from former coach Shane Skontra.
The side has certainly got depth across all lines and plenty of pace and versatility, including a host of talls who can help Dave Benson in the ruck. A potent forward line is led by Eltringham and Newlyn spearhead Will Young, while the onball brigade is filled with some of the best players in the competition.
A defensive division has a mixture of names capable of marking key forwards and rebounding into attack.
“We tried to pick a side that caters to all conditions and it has got that balance in all areas,” Middleton said.
“We really don’t want to have a weak link if we can help it and we feel we’ve got the depth in the competition to have that really balanced side.”
Loddon Valley is 23rd in the overall championship rankings, one place ahead of the Central Highlands.
Saturday’s clash kicks off from 2pm and follows an under-17.5 intraleague curtain-raiser between two Central Highlands sides.