Changes aplenty for grand finalists

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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North Albany’s Alex Pearce and Railways’ Ryan Davies reflect ahead of the Anzac Day game.
Camera IconNorth Albany’s Alex Pearce and Railways’ Ryan Davies reflect ahead of the Anzac Day game. Credit: Laurie Benson

Railways will blood two debutants in today’s Anzac Day game and their rivals North Albany will only feature half of last year’s premiership side as the grand finalists start their 2019 campaign at Tigerland.

New Tigers coach Troy Leo confirmed teenagers Ryan Davies and Sam Want have earned a league debut while recruits Kane Shephard and Liam Park will also make their first appearances for the club.

Leo was eager for the new season to start and said his side would only improve from what they produce against the reigning five-time premiers.

“It’s a bit of unknown really,” Leo said.

“There is definitely plenty of changes, we’ve got a bit of growth within the club with some talented juniors added with a couple of exciting recruits and there looks to be plenty of depth in our reserves this week.

“Whatever happens (today) we should only improve, I’m looking forward to getting into it and see how we go.”

The Tigers’ big test will come without chief ball winner Zane Marwick and key forward Kenton Gibbs, who have both moved on but Leo said it only created opportunity.

“With Zane you can’t replace a guy that gets 40 touches every week,” he said.

“We’ve got enough midfield talent at our club to go through there and guys have to pick up the slack.

“You can’t look backwards you’ve got to look forward. We are just excited for the opportunity to play on Anzac Day; it will be two good sides going at it.”

The Kangas will have a host of new faces from their grand final triumph over the Tigers back in September.

Coach Craig Dew expected his side to field 11 players from the grand final, with Matt Orzel and Ray Pafield ruled out.

The Kangas have won only one of the four previous Anzac Day clashes and Dew said they would again be slow starters.

“There is opportunities for guys to play league footy,” Dew said.

“Some have played a fair bit of reserves footy and now they get their turn. We’ve still got a really good core of 15-16 players going forward.

“Again they are probably a month in front of us but we don’t jump out of the blocks well.

“We certainly want to win the game but we have an eye on a bigger prize.”

Dew confirmed along with exciting talent Alex Pearce, youngsters Talon Delacey and Heath Spinks will also feature in the round 1 side.

Bouncedown is at 2.30pm and an Anzac Day medal will be awarded to the player that best shows the Anzac spirit in the match.

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