AN ABUNDANCE of leg speed and quick ball movement is hoped to give Central Highlands Football League the edge over its interleague rivals tomorrow.
Head coach Shane Skontra says the wide-open expanses of Nar Nar Goon Recreational Reserve should suit his side, which is chasing a lift from its ranking of 27 in Victorian Country Football League standings.
Skontra put his charges through a final hit-out last night at Wallace, fine-tuning the squad before its clash with Ellinbank and District league, which sits just one rung below the Highlanders in overall ratings.
“We’ve injected some young guys into the group, fully aware that it is a big ground,” Skontra said.
“It’s very wide. It’s nearly as wide as it is long. From centre to the goal-square isn’t overly big ... it’s a bit unique.
“We think we’ve got a pretty good mix of inside and outside players that has the balance right across the board.”
Despite a number of big-name players ruled out through injury or unavailability, Skontra said he was pleased with the group assembled.
“I’m really happy. The guys are keen, have been training well and I think that’s the recipe for a good performance – good attitude,” he said.
It has been 15 long years since the Central Highlands last stepped out for a senior representative bout – which resulted in a win over Mininera and District league – and while Skontra is happy to be part of the revival, he insists victory is the only reward.
“We are only chasing a win. Anything less will not really cut it,” he said.
“We’re here to win (tomorrow), and we will do everything in our power to do so.”
Ellinbank and District is also new to the interleague concept this year, and Skontra said profiling his rivals had been difficult.
“We’ve started to gather some information over the last couple of days,” he said.
“They have been slow in getting their squad out.
“We’ve identified a few players that we need to look after on game day.”
Skontra’s sidekicks this weekend include Creswick coach Damian Lubeek, Bungaree coach Greg Middleton and former Beaufort coach Phil Crouch, who will act as a midfield mentor on match day.
Skipper Adam Sewell and Louis Franc are among the assistants, and will help relay the messages on field.
The Central Highlands-Ellinbank and District encounter will kick off at 2.30pm, and is just one of the many interleague showdowns this weekend.
A total of 32 competitions will do battle across the state tomorrow and Sunday.