Barker reaches ton

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Blighty will be intent on saluting one of their most passionate clubmen in round six of the Picola & District season when they host Mathoura tomorrow.

The Barker name is synonymous with the Redeyes and Blighty stalwart Matt Barker will continue the family’s legacy by playing his 100th senior game for the club.

The key defender made his senior debut in 2007, playing five games at the top level in his debut season.

Barker is a bit of a journeyman for the Redeyes, having overcome obstacles of three years of university studies and recovering from a car crash in 2012 to reach his 100th game.

Blighty playing coach Jack Tyndall applauded his efforts.

‘‘He’s such a competitor and hates being beaten, so you always get the best out of Barks,’’ Tyndall said.

‘‘We know he’d much prefer to be playing in the twos and watching us on a Saturday but with injuries and unavailabilities he’s put his hand up to play.

‘‘I’m very grateful for this as he’s the best defender at the club.

‘‘It just goes to show his for the club that he continues to put his hand up while we’re struggling a bit for numbers.’’

It’s been a tough start to the year for the Redeyes, having just one win from the first five rounds of footy.

The Redeyes were competitive for three quarters against an undefeated Katamatite injuries and lack of experience took its toll — conceding 12.4 and scoring just one behind in the final term.

The Timbercutters on the other hand have sharpened their axes and lopped off two wins in a row to give themselves plenty of confidence ahead of the contest at Blighty Recreation Reserve.

Last week Darcy Robinson’s troops held on for a thrilling one-point triumph against Katunga, with his and Jesse Pridham’s three majors apiece contributing heavily to the result.

With the current form both sides are in, Tyndall said tomorrow will be a tough clash for his side.

‘‘With the form we’re in we can’t be confident that a win is guaranteed,’’ he said.

‘‘They’ve (Mathoura) won two in a row now and Darcy (Robinson) seems to be doing well over there.

‘‘With our injuries and having faced top teams of the competition each round it’s a bit of an unknown as to where we’re at compared to Mathoura.

‘‘We’ve been flogged nearly every week but we have an expectation that we need to play four quarters of footy.’’

The Redeyes could see a few changes to the line-up with defenders Dylan Maxwell and Leigh Culton, forward Beau Close and small forward Brett Napier all ‘‘a chance’’ to return.

The Timbercutters will likely head into the game unchanged but despite their form, the Redeyes should be able to get the win at home.

Selection: Blighty by 15 points.