Premiers ready for Anzac battle with Tigers

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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North Albany's Matt Orzel looks to handball as Railways' Zane Marwick ans Joel Want move in on Anzac Day last year.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Matt Orzel looks to handball as Railways' Zane Marwick ans Joel Want move in on Anzac Day last year. Credit: Laurie Benson

North Albany coach Craig Dew believes the reigning premiers face a major test in their quest for a fifth straight flag when they clash with Railways in tomorrow’s special Anzac Day fixture at Tigerland.

The opening round is set to be a cracker with the two sides meeting for the third time on Anzac Day.

The Tigers have won both Anzac Day games previously, the inaugural encounter in 2015 and last year, while in 2016 the match was part of an Anzac round but not played on April 25 with the Kangas successful.

Dew said the Tigers, having recruited strongly in the off-season, provide the best possible early season test.

“We’ve made round one a real focus this year,” he said.

“Last year we started poorly and we haven’t beaten Railways on Anzac Day so we really want to be bouncing out of the blocks.

“They’ve recruited very well and I expect Railways to be the benchmark this year, it will be a fierce test (tomorrow) I’d say.

“It will be really interesting for us, we’re a younger team and we have injected some pace through the midfield which we identified was our Achilles heel last year.”

The Kangas will blood a number of younger players and Dew said there was likely to be 10 changes from their premiership winning side come tomorrow afternoon.

Young trio Taj Williams, Lachy O’Shea and Ted Batchelor, who all played in a recent State country colts game, will make their first appearances in the Anzac Day fixture.

Returning duo Mitch Lenegan and Darcy Norman will both play, while injured trio Alec Haskins (groin), Adam Ditchburn (calf) and Beau Rogers (knee) have been ruled out.

The Tigers will have four new faces for the clash, with Mitch Green, Jayden Scott, Chris Miller and Scott Field all set to make their debut.

Green played 61 league games for Peel and Scott was best on-ground in last year’s premiership for Gnowangerup, that pair key to the Tigers premiership hopes this season.

Defenders Ethan Knee and Jack Hastie will both be missing and player-coach Craig Frost said his side were ready for the block-buster.

“North Albany are always tough to beat no matter what time of year,” he said.

“They have good experienced players and as usual when we play each other it will be another tight contest.

“Some of the young guys we have brought in have the chance to stand up.”

The Tigers will wear Anzac jumpers in the league fixture, which starts at 2.30pm following official formalities.

An Anzac Day medal will be awarded to the player that best represents the Anzac spirit in the match.

The minor grades will also be played on the day with the reserves starting at 12.30pm, the sixteens at 5pm and the colts at 6.30pm.

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