After a week off for the interleague bye, the Deni Rams will be thrown straight back into one of the toughest challenges in the Murray League when they travel to Numurkah tomorrow.
The Blues have been touted as one of the flag favourites this year, having a strong start to their season with four wins and their only loss coming against reigning premier Nathalia.
The Rams on the other hand are still a young side developing their game, having won two of their five games this year.
Deni coach Gary Parsons said his side is excited for the challenge ahead of them.
‘‘We know it’s a tough task playing Numurkah in Numurkah but any game is winnable in the Murray League,’’ he said.
‘‘In the past they’ve been bigger in the middle and have had the edge over us, but we won’t shirk the contest.
‘‘We’ll need to try our best to stop the midfield supply and try to move the ball to the outside to our faster players.’’
The Rams will be without ruckman Tom McGregor, who suffered a season-ending injury in round five against Moama. He will be replaced by returning ruckman Chris O’Connor, who will add some experience back into the line-up, while key forward Jayden Pitts will be another handy inclusion.
Deni will also be boosted by the return of running defender Mick Barnett who has missed a month of footy with injury.
‘It’s fantastic to have Mick running out for us again,’’ Parsons said.
‘‘He was developing so well last year and we expect he’ll have quite the impact for us.
‘‘I might give young Sam Willoughby a week off from the seniors this week. He’s played well but we don’t want him to be overworked playing thirds and seniors all the time.
‘‘Brett Rose could make his senior debut for us as a possible in. He’ll add a bit more pace for us on the wing.’’
Numurkah will welcome back key forward Nathan Hicks after missing round five with a hamstring strain, however they’ll be without key defender Luke McKeown who suffered a serious shoulder injury in their match against Mulwala.
Numurkah coach Chris O’Dwyer said star forward Josh Evans (hamstring) will most likely miss tomorrow’s game as well.
A key match-up will be in the ruck with O’Connor up against Numurkah’s Mitch Price.
The battle in the midfield will see Nick Fothergill, Brad Russell and Tim Arnel go head to head with Todd Gallagher, Ben Irwin and Matt MacDonald. Rams defender John Anstee may get the job on Hicks with veteran Anthony Bull also offering a chop-out in defence.
Selection: Numurkah by 10+ goals.