Woodsmen look to consolidate 2nd spot
The Woodies take on 5th placed UQ tonight at the Nest and will be looking to consolidate 2nd spot on the ladder.
Coming off a well earnt bye, with plenty of sore old bodies the team should be fit and firing and will need to be on their game against the Red Lions. The competition is fierce this year and while UQ have suffered a couple of heavy defeats, they were beaten grand finalists in 2016 and have plenty of firepower and also plenty of legspeed!
Selection and availability continues to be a revolving door in 2017, and the Woodies again see 6-8 changes (depending on final selection) this week to the side that defeated Morningside by 2 points before the bye.
Out of the side go Lachlan Woods, Gerard Moore, Scotty Matthews, Sean Toohey and Rick Masterson while the team also welcome back 50 Gamer Chris Davis, Jakey Fuentes, Irish Sam Banim, Tim Green and West Australian debutant via Byron Bay – Shayne Baldwin.
This week will see reliable full-back Pauly Eaton given another chance up the game on one wing, with young speedster Elliott Heath patrolling the other wing, while veteran Kiran Verma returns to half back. Completing a strong half back line are the super consistent Sam Long and the super star, Tim Green – creating a formidable wall for the renowned Woodies defence.
Matty Prior and Blake Barkley fill the defensive pockets, offering both creativity and hardness at ground level and in the air – and the bullocking Andrew Bell will be patrolling the defensive goalsquare and busting a few packs open.
The onball division is again having their fitness tested this week, with a strong starting lineup – but all will be looking for a regular change this week! Andrew Thomson in the ruck will be looking to give his teammates first use, while Matt Hockley in the centre will be building nicely after his first game in 2017 saw him play unchanged on the ball, giving his fitness a solid test! Chris Davis returns to the side at the coalface, and Sammy Curtis has recently hit peak form and will look to break the lines and deliver the ball inside 50 with regularity.
The forwardline for this match looks as though it has the best balance of the year so far, with a strong mix of experience, speed, size and agility throughout the front six. Irish Sammy Banim and the relentless Jakey Fuentes will be tackling harassing and crumbing like the youngsters they are, while Jay ‘ The butcher’ Baker and Matt ‘Horse’ Garland will provide quality targets in the air. Balancing this mix nicely will be Lochie McDonald and Chris Mihalopoulous who can both play tall or small, and will be looking to get on the end of a few and provide a target, but will also clean up plenty of crumbs when available.
The Woodies will be looking to keep it in tight against their younger/quicker opponents and dominate around the stoppages before locking the ball forward in a contest likely to be decided in the centre. Having the luxury of naming an extended bench for this game, the Woodies will have the likes of the experienced Brett McEvoy & Greg Matthews available, as well as potential debutant Shayne Baldwin, youngster Ryan Christopher or 2016 Rising Woody winner Nick Masters.
Get down to the game tonight, enjoy a Coopers and a meal and cheer the Woodies home!