COMPETITION for spots at North Warrnambool Eagles is heating up with defensive duo Darcy Keast and Mitch Bowman to make their returns from injury through the reserves tomorrow.
Eagles coach Bernard Moloney said it was “a good sign” for the club as the countdown to Hampden league finals starts.
“They are going to have to fight their way back through the ressies like everyone else,” he said.
“The guys in there (the seniors) at the moment are working hard for their spots and just tipping them out is not good for morale.”
Moloney said the club was confident midfielder Dean Gavin and defender Brendan Murfett would return after the bye next week too.
North Warrnambool Eagles made one change for their clash against Terang Mortlake — the team Keast kicked a last-minute winner against in round three — at Bushfield Recreation Reserve.
Teenage wingman-cum-midfielder Hamish Withers returns after strong performances in the under 18½ competition for fellow teen Josh Corbett.
Terang Mortlake bolstered its defence, welcoming back former Geelong Falcon Alex Moloney for his first senior game of the season.
Moloney returned from an overseas trip to play two games in the reserves before a minor injury sidelined him last weekend.
He will give the Bloods another tall option in defence.
Fellow teenagers Sam Crawley, Jason Lee and Danny Craven will join Moloney in the Terang Mortlake line-up.
Joe Conheady (overseas) and Jake Meade (shoulder) will miss as will omitted pair Sam McLean and Jake Richardson.
Hamilton Kangaroos welcome back experienced trio Kane Uebergang, Hamish Waldron and Hugh Douglas for their clash with Koroit at Victoria Park.
Uebergang returns from a two-match suspension, while Waldron and Douglas have overcome hamstring and calf injuries respectively.
Teenager Tom Feely is out with a minor knee injury and Adrian Linke and Luke Uebergang were omitted.
Koroit veteran Chris McLaren returns for the Saints after overcoming a calf injury which ruined his 250th game against Warrnambool in round six.
Cobden welcomes back captain Paul Foster for its battle with South Warrnambool.
Foster played in the reserves last weekend after overcoming a knee injury.
Daniel Semmens and Brad Salmon also return from injury.
North Ballarat Rebels-listed teenager Liam Howarth was one of two ins for South Warrnambool.
Portland elevated teenager Nathan Jennings for his senior debut for its crunch match against Port Fairy at Hanlon Park.
Tigers coach Jake Myles said Jennings, who replaces teenager Jake Edwards, was a back pocket with good skills.
Port Fairy will go in unchanged after pushing Koroit to the wire last weekend.
Warrnambool will take an unchanged side into its match against Camperdown at Reid Oval after midfielder Damien McCorkell failed to overcome a back complaint.
Blues coach Scott Carter said McCorkell would be “cherry ripe after the break”.
Brad Bull was sidelined during the second half of the Blues’ big win against South Warrnambool on Sunday with hamstring tightness but was cleared to play this weekend.
Camperdown made two changes, bringing in Matthew Pemberton and Jesse Gallichan for Alex Place, who could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, and the unavailable Jack Hickey.