Intriguing match-ups beckon in Merrivale versus Dennington contest

MERRIVALE has lost a forward and Dennington shored up its defence for the Warrnambool and District league match of the round tomorrow.

The third-placed Tigers and first-placed Dogs meet at Merrivale Recreation Reserve for what shapes as an early test of both sides’ mettle.

Merrivale will be without lively forward James Fary (unavailable), along with Nathan McInerney, who injured a hamstring against Old Collegians.

Defender Mark Stewart and goalkicker Matthew Auld are the inclusions. The Tigers have also rotated their substitutes.

Dennington has added defenders Chris Vickery and Nick Short, plus Geoff Keane. Chris Paton and Matt O’Rourke are omitted, with one more still to drop out.

The match, a replay of the 2013 first semi-final, provides football fans with some of the best match-ups the Warrnambool and District league has to offer.

The pick will be Merrivale centre half-forward Joe Woonton against the Dennington utility Darcy Lewis, who has shifted into defence this season.

Tigers Matt Gleeson or Sean Barnes are likely to take the Dogs’ Chris Keilar while at the other end, Luke Moutray will play on Jet Dowie.

Second-choice talls will be in focus when Old Collegians welcome unbeaten Panmure to Davidson Oval.

The Warriors and Bulldogs have lost their big men — Darren Lloyd and James Keane respectively — due to injury for the second-versus-fifth clash.

Lloyd injured a calf against Merrivale, while Keane jarred a knee landing awkwardly in a marking contest against Kolora-Noorat.

Exacerbating the Bulldogs’ woes is a broken finger to Alex White, which sideline him until the interleague break. Louis Kew and Daniel Roache come in.

Lloyd is one of five omissions for the Warriors, although one is unconfirmed.

Josh Walsh (unavailable), David Lush (hamstring) and Jayden Brooks (back to South Warrnambool) are also out.

Aaron Williams is the pick of the ins. Jake O’Flynn, Elliot Warburton, Zach Brown and Joe Kenna are the inclusions.

Timboon Demons will benefit from the return of Simon Harkness for their clash against East Warrnambool at Timboon Recreation Reserve.

Andrew Lake and Alex Lees also come into the side which lost to Nirranda last weekend. Lyndon Alsop, Brad Hallyburton and Joe Paatsch are the outs.

East Warrnambool has promoted Shaun Palmer and Travis Wilson. Brendan Rhyne is unavailable, while Josh Scoble returns to North Warrnambool Eagles.

Kolora-Noorat will be without Luke Kenna and Michael Tebble but regains Brad Hillman when it hosts Deakin University at Noorat Recreation Reserve.

The Sharks, ravaged by injuries and unavailability all season, have made six changes.

Mitch Hodgson, Adam Williams, Dylan Walsh, Merrivale recruit Jack Ryan and Aiden Bourke all return,  while Jake Tanner will be the substitute.

Brent Astle has an ankle injury. Jed Rodgers and Jake Zippel are omitted, Brandon Cole and Jarrod Stafford are unavailable, while Will Berryman will play juniors.

South Rovers will welcome back gun onballer Braden Hotker along with Ethan Boylan for their intriguing match against Nirranda at Walter Oval.

Stuart McAlpine and Andrew O’Keeffe are the omissions. Nirranda is unchanged, keeping faith with the 22 which ran riot against Timboon Demons.

Key position player Nathan Wilson is one of three additions to the Allansford side which will take on Russells Creek at Allansford Recreation Reserve.

Recruit Matthew Spencer and substitute Sam Byron are also in, for Josh Parkinson (shoulder), Matt Dwyer (unavailable) and Taylor Johnstone (omitted).

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