Late change of plans for Clunes’ Jesse Baird

As late as Thursday evening, Jesse Baird would have been planning for a weekend away from football.

But the Clunes top-liner has been rushed into the Central Highlands Football League senior side that will take on Riddell District in Saturday’s AFL Victoria Community Championships clash.

Baird’s call-up came on the back of an injury to Buninyong winger Jarrod Rodgers, who strained a hamstring at the final training run on Thursday night.

Central Highlands coach Clive Raak said it was an easy decision to select Baird given he was a similar sized player to Rodgers.

“For us it’s a huge thing to bring someone in who can play multiple roles,” Raak said.

The Clunes best and fairest from last year had been one of three emergencies for the final side, which will look to end a sequence of two-straight interleague defeats under Raak.

LATE INCLUSION: Clunes player Jesse Baird has been given a late call-up to the Central Highlands side that will take on Riddell District on Saturday.

LATE INCLUSION: Clunes player Jesse Baird has been given a late call-up to the Central Highlands side that will take on Riddell District on Saturday.

Saturday’s appearance for the Highlanders will be Baird’s first at senior interleague level.

Gordon defender Mark Gunnell will captain the Central Highlands side, with Grant Luscombe, Jarrod Morgan, Johno Leoncini and Matt Beaston serving as Raak’s assistant coaches.

The game at Buninyong is set to begin at 2.15pm and will follow an under-18 encounter between the two leagues, which gets underway at 12noon.

CHFL LINE-UPS

SENIORS

B: Levi Cox (Beaufort), Mark Gunnell (Gordon), Alex Bomitali (Buninyong)

HB: Rhys Jenkins (Hepburn), Jack Robertson (Buninyong), Kyle Mackay (Learmonth)

C: Jesse Baird (Clunes), James Lukich (Waubra), Ben Wilson (Waubra)

HF: Mick Nolan (Gordon), Dean Robertson (Waubra), Harry McKimmie (Dunnstown)

F: Jimmy Rodgers (Hepburn), Jake Dunne (Buninyong), Thomas Nash (Waubra)

R: Geordie Lukich (Waubra), Tim Brayshaw (Buninyong), Brenton Powell (Learmonth)

Int: Finn Anscombe (Hepburn), Scott Mann (Bungaree), Joel Maher (Bungaree), Nick English (Dunnstown), Jarred Crabtree (Waubra)

Emerg: Nick Clarke (Clunes), Luke Parker (Carngham-Linton)

UNDER-18

Hunter Donald, Harry O'Keane (emerg), Kyden Brown, Nick Pantzidis, Lochlan Stewart (Buninyong), Mitchell Ryan, Joseph Watkins, Oliver Pescott (Beaufort), Dean O'Brien, Brodie Lewis (C-L), Brad Castleman (Creswick), Tim Collins (Dunnstown), Lucas Blazko (emerg) (Gordon), Tom Brown, Kyle Yanner, Tom Henderson (emerg) (Hepburn), Cody Lowe, Matt Harbour, Darcy Robinson (Learmonth), Josh Milne, Lachie Opie (Newlyn), Bailey Thompson (Skipton), Kieran Maher, James Spicer (Springbank), Trent Severino (Waubra)