Local rivals clash

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The Deni Rovers and Blighty arguably have the biggest rivalry in the Picola & District League and they will add another chapter to their storied history at Memorial Park tomorrow.

The two sides will meet in the first Wellways ‘Thought. Talk. Tackle.’ footy day in order to raise awareness for mental health.

The day will also be of big importance on the field, with Blighty aiming to keep their slim chances of finals alive, with the Redeyes still one game outside the top eight and just four rounds before finals.

They took care of Tocumwal by 38 points before their bye, but will need to avenge round two’s result against the Roos where they went down by 38 points to keep in touch.

The Rovers are sitting sixth on the ladder, but have just a 6-6 win-loss record this season, and will look to make it three wins in a row tomorrow.

Josh Flight was in great touch last time out with a six goal haul against Jerilderie, while Nathan Kerr and Rhys McCulloch have also been playing well.

Blighty playing-coach Jack Tyndall said he hopes his side has learned their lesson after their previous clash with the Roos.

‘‘I think we say it every time that discipline plays a big part in these games,’’ he said.

‘‘We don’t want to go out and go the man, we just need to focus on being first at the footy.

‘‘Last time the umpires made it clear they weren’t going to tolerate anything rough, but recently I feel they’ve put the whistle away a bit, which has been good.

‘‘I hope that’s the case this weekend because this is the biggest rivalry in the Picola League so there’s going to be a bit of push and shove.

‘‘Both sides love beating each other and it’s always a physical contest played in good spirits.’’

The Redeyes will have some key changes to their personnel this week, with skipper Sam Singleton and defenders Jack Bunnett and Leigh Culton expected to return to the side.

‘‘Having Singo (Singleton) back in means that myself and Lachie (MacDonald) can play where we prefer to at half-back,’’ Tyndall said.

‘‘We had to share a role in the middle last week, and I’m not the quickest bloke in the world, so we’re much better off not having me play in the middle.

‘‘I’m also really excited to see how TAB (Tyler Amor-Beale) goes in this game, as he didn’t play in round two. A physical game suits him quite well.

‘‘His brother Jordy Amor will also get the call-up for seniors this week. He’s got a bit of grunt about him and plays a physical brand of footy too.’’

The Roos will have their strongest line-up of the 2019 season this weekend, with Aaron Purcell coming back into the side this week.

Rovers coach Josh Bode said that while his side will be at full strength, he expects a tough contest.

‘‘It’s the first time this season that we’ve been at full strength so I’m excited to see how we go,’’ he said.

‘‘The bye came at a good time for us with all the blokes who were sore getting a rest before our charge towards finals.

‘‘It doesn’t matter where either side is on the ladder in a game against Blighty, it’s always a tough contest.

‘‘We’re fighting for the same thing this weekend. They need to win to stay in touch of finals and we need to win to keep that gap to ensure we do play finals.’’

While the Redeyes should put in a better performance than their round two loss, the Roos should still prove too strong for their rivals at home.

Selection: Deni Rovers by 27 points.

■More information on the Wellways ‘Thought. Talk. Tackle.’ footy day can be found on page 21.