Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Good Friday face-off

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Deniliquin is hosting a battle of rival neighbours tomorrow as round three of the Murray Football Netball league is played out on the Good Friday weekend.

The Finley Cats and Deniliquin Rams will do battle on the Rams’ turf.

And it will be a test to expose the merits of each outfit behind their respective new coaches — the Rams led by former Victorian Football League player Ash Morris and experience­d assistant coach Jack Tyndall, and the Cats in the charge of former Western Australian Football League player Angus Robertson.

“We look forward to our first home Good Friday game in three years as we tackle Finley in what is sure to be a hot contest,” Morris said.

Along with new leadership, both sides have recruited strong contestant­s who are yet to face each other.

Recruits to the blue and gold Reid Crowe, Angus McKay and Angus Durnan are already showing their worth on the field.

Crowe, a ‘‘classy, goal-kicking midfielder’’ is a Shepparton United best-and-fairest winner, and comes to the Rams from Kyabram (Goulburn Valley League) and Durnan joins the Rams as a former Wagga Tigers premiershi­p player.

Key defender John Anstee captains the home side after a slow 2021 season, due to a broken foot, with support from vice-captain Lachie

MacDonald and leadership group members Matt MacDonald and Jake McManus.

Mainstays like Anstee, Todd Gallagher, Ricky Gittens and Bryce Scoullar all continue to dominate, while Charlie Hillier has brought deft ball skills with him.

And while this combinatio­n deals opponents a punishing blow in the midfield, the Rams will need to shore up their forward line to put scores on the board.

The Rams are shaping up to be the dominant side this season, picking off Barooga in round one and Echuca United in round two, while the Cats have fallen down to both Cobram and Numurkah.

Despite the short record so far, the Cats’ coach is excited to go head to head with the Rams.

“Good Friday is always so much fun — it’s a big crowd,” Robertson said.

“We understand Deni is a good outfit and respect the way they go about it.”

The Cats will meet the Rams at the Hardinge St Oval, Deniliquin today.

Recruits to the Cattery include Benji Neal, Ethan Reeves, Isaac Corvo and Charlie Ford.

Tall man Corvo, a versatile rotator between half-back, midfield and forward, spent two years playing state-level under-18 football in Queensland.

He followed it up with a stint in

NEAFL for the Brisbane Lions.

Last season he was in form in the Victorian Football League for Aspley.

Reeves, a quick midfielder, played with Corvo in the NEAFL, and most recently Southport Sharks.

His versatile style means he can show up as a pressure forward or midfielder. He is a hard runner and strong midfield contester.

Neal is a former VFL player for Port Melbourne and strong midfielder who also enjoys a run on the forward line.

Ford, who is described as ‘‘highly skilful with a fierce appetite for a contest’’, will add dominance in the midfield and forward line.

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