DAYLESFORD has named a string of important inclusions for its showdown with rampaging Central Highlands Football League ladder leader Bungaree.
The Bulldogs, humbled by Buninyong before the AFL Victoria country championships’ break, have added the experienced Cade O’Brien, Toby Hughes, Tony Castrignano and Kane Trimble among four additions to the side.
O’Brien is back from a groin strain, Hughes an ankle issue and Castrignano and Trimble hamstring injuries.
Daylesford slipped to seventh following the loss to the Bombers, which was its second of the year.
The Bulldogs’ opponents this weekend have a hefty injury list, one that has grown following the back problem to star half-back Marty Dufty.
Dufty was forced to withdraw from the Central Highlands’ interleague encounter last week.
With a host of important players out of the side – including Ricky Cummins (shoulder), Jason Linke (hamstring), Nicholas Weightman (North Ballarat Rebels), Chris Cowan (knee) and Matthew Sheridan (overseas) – the club’s depth is now being put to the test.
Senior coach Greg Middleton said he had faith in the players who were coming into the senior team. This week they include Matthew Billington, Jordan Payne and Aidan Murphy.
“Last year, I reckon (depth) cost us because we had six or seven out at a bad time but this year our depth is really, really good and will be tested over the next month of footy,” he said.
Bungaree will be looking for a repeat of last year’s semi-final win over the Bulldogs, which ended its rival’s season.
PREDICTION: Bungaree by 25 points.