Interleague v Tallangatta League Preview
From the Border Mail
IT’S five seasons overdue in Trent Castles’ book.
But the star Yackandandah full-forward can’t wait to finally get a chance to play on the pristine turf at Sandy Creek on Saturday.
“It’s going to be good,” Castles said.
“We haven’t played finals at Yack since I joined the club so it’s been hard watching.
“Hopefully I’m playing out there again later in the year as well.
“That’s the plan anyway.”
Castles is keen to help the competition makes amends for last season’s surprise loss to the Ovens and King at W.J. Findlay Oval in Wangaratta.
Both leagues will finalise their lists after training on Thursday night.
“It’s probably the strongest side I have been involved with since coming to the league,” he said.
“Our midfield looks really good with players like Farwell (Jarad), Craig Lieschke, Joel O’Connell, Tom Cartledge and Lee Dale.
“We look alright down back and up forward as well.”
In an era when many players snub representative football, Castles hasn’t missed an inter-league match since joining Yackandandah.
“I have played all of them,” he said.
“It’s good playing a good standard of footy and I enjoy it.
“You get a bit annoyed when players don’t show up like last year.”
Hume officials are also confident of fielding a strong side with Howlong’s Peter Hancock, Henty’ Brent Ohlin and CDHBU’s Russell Anderson formidable ruck options.
Osborne’s Duncan McMaster, CDHBU’s Mick Collins and Rand-Walbundrie-Walla’s Brian Lieschke could play in defence while Murray Magpie Ash Murray, Culcairn’s Peter Cook and Giants’ coach Myles Aalbers also look set to play.
Cook will have fond memories of the ground after kicking 21 goals in three matches for Barnawartha during last season’s finals series.
Some of the biggest omissions from the original squad are Justin Koschitzke, Kade Stevens, Nico Sedgwick, Josh and Daniel Maher and Curtis Steele.
“We’re fairly happy at this stage,” coach Brent Piltz said.
“You always lose a few but we have managed to keep a pretty good list together.
“Training was good on Tuesday night.
“I think we have most positions pretty well covered which is pleasing.”
HUME league coach Brent Piltz is eager for the competition to erase the memory of the 2013 debacle against Tallangatta and District at Sandy Creek on Saturday.
Still smarting from the 97-point loss at Albury Sportsground, Piltz said it was important to back up last season’s impressive win over the Riverina league.
“We haven’t spoken about it (2013) too much as obviously both squads have changed a lot since then,” Piltz said.
“It certainly left a bad taste in our mouth over the last three or four years though.
“We are looking to make amends and put up a good showing.
Piltz and TDFL coach Ryan Richardson have both named considerably stronger line-ups than last year.
However, Hume will be without former Kiewa-Sandy Creek premiership player and Culcairn midfielder Dane Hallinan after he was suspended for two matches on Wednesday night.
Richardson played down the theory that the TDFL would attempt to gain the edge in the physical stakes.
“I think both leagues will be fairly physical,” Richardson said.
“I know the TDFL has been known for that over the years and we will look to be hard at the footy as they will be.
“I don’t think it’s much of an edge though.”
Piltz said it was crucial to win the midfield battle with the TDFL having a star-studded forward-line led by Yackandandah goalkicking machine Trent Castles.
He has kicked goals for both competitions while playing for the Roos and Jindera over the past decade.
“We have some good backmen and a number of players we think could play on him so we’ll make sure we get the right match-up and back in our player to put in a good showing,” Piltz said.
“He will need some assistance at times and hopefully we can cut the supply.”
Piltz has several options in curbing Castles with Osborne’s Duncan McMaster and Rand-Walbundrie-Walla’s Brian Lieschke the most likely.
The Hume league will have no shortage of information on their opponents with Kiewa-Sandy Creek’s Jed Andrew, Tim and Dane Hallinan and Barnawartha’s Peter Cook now playing for Culcairn.
Cook, if passed fit to play, shapes as a trump card.
“They are all fantastic players,” Richardson said.
“’Cooky’ has played some fantastic footy at Sandy Creek and can take a game away in the space of 20 minutes.”
Richardson, a former Kiewa-Sandy Creek premiership coach, said he hadn’t seen the Sandy Creek surface in better condition and believes the ground has been a major factor in both competitions selecting strong teams.
“It’s fantastic,” he said.
“It’s easily the best surface around in our whole area.
“The job Steve Knight and his crew from the Tallangatta league have done is just brilliant.
“Hopefully it continues to get better every year and they can keep adding to it.”
The match starts at 2.15pm.
HOWLONG midfielder Tim Brook didn’t have to be asked twice to return to Sandy Creek on Saturday.
Brook’s last match at the ground was the 2015 grand final when he played in Tallangatta’s thrilling extra time victory over Kiewa-Sandy Creek.
The Hoppers had come from last the previous season to win the most pulsating TDFL grand final in recent history.
Brook admits it will be a special feeling running back on to the ground in Hume league colours against his former league.
“It will be great getting back there,” Brook said.
“We put six months of work in to get there and to win by one point in over time is outrageous.
“It’s always good to play on a good deck and I can’t wait.”
Brook finished the 2014 season at Howlong before crossing to Tallangatta in 2015 and 2016.
He made his way back to the Spiders this year and has formed a powerful midfield with teammate Matt McDonald.
Brook finds it difficult to split the Hume and Tallangatta leagues.
“They are both good leagues – quick and really competitive,” he said.
”Tallangatta has a good side on paper and we have a quick, young side as well.
“The game will be tough.
“It will fast and serious from the get-go.
“There is always a good rivalry between the two teams.”
Hume has appointed Henty defender Josh Gaynor as skipper with Rand-Walbundrie-Giants coach Myles Aalbers his deputy.
In a setback, Azzi medallist Peter Hancock withdrew from the side on Thursday night due to soreness.
“The side has come up well,” coach Brent Piltz said.
“There are always a few who are unavailable, but every league has that.
“All of our blokes want to be there and I think we’ll be really competitive.”
Hume has a strong TDFL flavour in its line-up with Duncan McMaster, Brook, Tim Hallinan, Peter Cook and Jed Andrew having previously played in the competition.
On the other hand, Craig Lieschke, Trent Castles, Jared Farwell and Kane Westlow are former Hume league players now donning TDFL colours.
Castles will captain the host league, with Tallangatta coach Sam Livingston his vice-captain.
Coach Ryan Richardson had no hesitation labelling the TDFL side as the strongest he has been involved with.
“Definitely,” he said.
“We go deep in the rotations in the midfield and have options at both ends.
“The boys have trained well this week.
“Hume looks strong as paper as well so I’d expect a tough game.”
The match starts at 2.15pm.
SANDY Creek curator Steven Knight admits he hasn’t seen the ground look better.
With the league putting in an irrigation system and spending money on over-sowing each year, Knight said the planets had aligned perfectly for Saturday’s showdown.
“This is the best I’ve seen it at the moment,” Knight said.
“About two years ago it was looking really good but nothing like this.
“We have had the perfect weather with the days still warm.
Knight was approached by the TDFL to look after the ground following the 2011 grand final which was played on a dust bowl.
The ground is over-sown each Easter, fertilised and mowed weekly.
About five weeks before the finals, work steps up to ensure the ground is at its picturesque best.
Only six players – Trent Castles, Kodee Lowe, Lee Dale, Jacob Barber, Ben Kunkel and Trent Turner – played for the competition last year and are backing up on Saturday.
LAST MINUTE PRACTICE
Hume is leaving no stone unturned in its preparation for Saturday’s open netball clash against Tallangatta.
The Beck O’Connell-coached line-up played Jindera in a practice match on Thursday night.
“We actually played against Tallangatta last year in the lead-up to our Wagga games and it’s really good because you are often playing with players for the first time and can try different combinations and positional changes without the pressure,” she said.