Werribee will be chasing back-to-back home wins to open its 2019 season when it takes on Coburg at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
Saturday 13 April | 7pm
Avalon Airport Oval @ Chirnside Park
Adults $10; concession $5; children $5
Listen live on Casey Radio HERE
THE STORY SO FAR
Werribee will be riding high after kicking off the Mark Williams era and its 2019 campaign with a 39-point victory at Avalon Airport Oval last Saturday, but it will not want to fall into the trap of taking fellow standalone side Coburg lightly. The Lions suggested they mean business this year after almost causing a big round-one boilover at home, falling just three points short of 2018 finalists Collingwood.
Werribee has had the better of Coburg in recent times, coming out on top in its last two trips out to Piranha Park. The most recent of those was a 47-point victory in round 18 last year for the very first “six-six-six” match, where former Werribee defender Sam Collins was at his imposing best with 25 disposals (18 kicks) and 15 marks (10 contested).
How will the first-gamer fare? Small forward Ryan Kemp set the Wimmera Football League alight last year, but he will face a much sterner test in stepping up to the big stage for his VFL debut. Still, if his deft little baulk-and-weave for one of the goals of the game in the practice match against Footscray three weeks ago is anything to go by, he won’t be shy about looking to turn on the excitement at the higher level.
Who comes in? With Michael Barlow, Michael Sodomaco, and Baxter Norton all out of the side, at least two new faces will need to swing into the side this week in addition to Kemp. Ryley Barrack and Keegan Gray loom as the likely candidates given their experience, though the likes of Hudson Garoni, Aiden Domic, Alex Marklew, and Tom Boyd could also join Kemp in making their debut in the “big W”.
Who steps up? While Werribee would love to have both its captain and its playing midfield coach available this week, their absence provides an opportunity for some of their teammates to shoulder more of the load. With vice captain Matt Hanson now leading both the team and the midfield charge, the support work at the clearances of Josh Clayton, Tom Gribble, Joe Maishman, and Dom Brew takes on new importance, while Dane McFarlane has the chance to emerge as the chief line-breaker out of defence with his skipper out of the side.
Will House catch fire? Jack Henderson rightly won plenty of plaudits for his four goals against North Melbourne, but Timm House did enough to suggest he could be the main danger in front of goal going forward. The big man was marking everything that came within his reach in the second half against the Kangaroos, and if he manages to find his radar and straighten up a touch, he could prove a handful for the Lions defence.
Where will the twin pillars stand? Of course, it was just last week we were discussing House’s prospects as a like-for-like replacement for key defender Sam Collins, and it’s entirely possible he will find himself assuming that role this week – particularly given he has again been named in the side at full back. That Werribee has both House and Nick Coughlan capable of holding down key positions at either end of the ground is something it will no doubt look to exploit throughout the year in a bid to keep its opposition guessing.