Sharks to push for youth injection
Albany coach Scott Sedgwick has called on his colts players to help strengthen their league side as they prepare for an all-out tilt on fellow strugglers Denmark-Walpole in Saturday’s bottom-of-the-table clash at McLean Park.
The Sharks are winless in 2017 but their only encounter with the Magpies back in round 5 was their best performance of the season; trailing by 21 points at the final change after a four-goal-to-one third term.
However, Tyler Stone stepped up to lead the Magpies to their only win of the season, getting home by 62 points after a six-goal-to-nil last term.
Sedgwick, though, was encouraged by the signs shown in that loss to the Magpies and said his side were once again setting themselves for a crack at their first win since 2015.
“We will be trying really hard at the selection table on Friday night to get some colts come up and play,” Sedgwick said.
“We took a few colts in last time against Denmark and they played really well and will no doubt benefit from that experience.
“We will be looking to use some of those colts we have already blooded this year to come up and play league in what is an important game.” Tall utility Marcus Mellon, ball magnet Fraser Eaton, goal kicker Jordan Wallam, the skilful Bryce Blaszkow and brothers Zamahl and Zainel Bin Busu are among the names Sedgwick hopes to add to his league side.
The Sharks have had 12 colts-aged players play a league game this season, with Mellon (five games) making the most appearances.
In the colts, the Sharks are two games and percentage clear in second place with six games to play and appear likely to secure a top-two spot, but Sedgwick said it was an ongoing struggle to get their talented younger players coming up to the higher grade.
Four colts played in the loss to Magpies — Zainel Bin Busu, Eaton, Blaszkow and Mellon — but Sedgwick said the Magpies still presented a very tough challenge regardless of his personnel.
“Spirits will definitely be high this week at training,” he said.
“But take nothing away from Denmark, they were very competitive against Royals and it will be a big challenge for us.
“We are looking at a few areas to improve on from last week but the boys are playing with a lot more endeavour right now.”
The Magpies are not expected to regain star Shayne Zanetti, who is still struggling with a stress fracture in his foot, while Luke Hutcheson will miss through suspension and Ethan Burton is another possible omission with a hamstring injury.
In the other fixtures, as part of Volunteer Recognition Round, Railways host Mt Barker on Saturday at Tigerland in a vital game to both sides’ top-two aspirations, while on Sunday the highly anticipated clash between traditional rivals Royals and North Albany will be played at Centennial Oval.
League games in 2017 from Albany colts-aged players
Marcus Mellon — 5 games
Callum Redshaw — 4 games
Fraser Eaton — 3 games
Jayden Francis — 3 games
Nicolas Penny — 2 games
Jordan Wallam — 2 games
Bryce Blaszkow — 1 game
Jake Abbott — 1 game
Peter Grocoe — 1 game
Scott Timms — 1 game
Zamahl Bin Busu — 1 game
Zainel Bin Busu — 1 game
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