It will be the first hit-out in the royal blue and white for a number of Kangaroos in Port Lincoln today. A promising summer on the training track for free agent acquisitions Shaun Higgins and Jarrad Waite should see them play a prominent role against the Crows.
Meanwhile three of the players picked up in the National and Rookie Drafts have their chance to play for the club, with Sam Durdin, Daniel Nielson and Will Fordham all named in the 29 man squad.
There are a number of North’s key position players not making the trip to Adelaide, with the likes of Aaron Black, Lachlan Hansen, Nathan Grima, Scott Thompson and Michael Firrito all not playing for one reason or another. It allows the youngsters, Durdin and Nielson especially, the time to shine at either end of the ground if given game time.
Brad Scott indicated on Thursday that he’ll be playing some blokes out of position on the day so be wary that Supercoach scores may be artificially inflated. “We’ve got the flexibility to structure up our forward line a bit differently so we’ll have a look at all different aspects and probably play a few guys through the midfield who haven’t spent much time in there before”, Scott said.
The coach went on to note that Higgins would likely spend time running through the midfield. Considering Andrew Swallow will be absent on the weekend, the former Bulldog will be one of the most experienced players in the centre of the ground.
For the Cows, up to seven players could make their debut.
Trade period recruits Kyle Cheney and Luke Lowden, defenders Harrison Wigg and Sam Siggins, and rookie-listed trio Jake Kelly, Reilly O’Brien and Keenan Ramsey have been included in the squad.
Wigg was selected with the club’s second pick (No.35 overall) in last year’s AFL National Draft, while O’Brien and Ramsey became Cows in the Rookie Draft.
Siggins, 20, is in line to play his first game since being recruited with pick No.62 in the 2012 National Draft. In his second year on the rookie list, Kelly could also pull on the tricolours for the first time.
Cheap as chips midfielder, NvB, will make his long-awaited return from injury. Van Berlo hasn’t played at any level since rupturing his Achilles tendon at training in January last year. The match will be Taylor Walker’s first as captain.
Experienced players Scott Thompson, David Mackay, Sam Jacobs, Richard Douglas and Patrick Dangerfield will sit out the game as part of their management ahead of Round One. Mackay (hamstring) and Jacobs (knee) have returned to full training after minor setbacks.
Defenders Brent Reilly (fractured bonce), Andy Otten (knee) and Sam Shaw (hamstring), and half-forward Riley Knight (ankle) were unavailable for selection because of injury. Matt Crouch is building towards full fitness after ankle surgery.
The club is taking a conservative approach with first-year talls Jake Lever, Harry Dear and Mitch McGovern, as well as rookie Anthony Wilson.
Should be a good game. Pity they aren’t televising it – you can watch it on the clubs’ websites though.
Got anyone in particular you’ll have the binoculars trained on?
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