MATT Petherick spent years honing his bowling craft under the tutelage of Merrivale’s older brigade.
Three seasons into a switch to Warrnambool and District Cricket Association rival Russells Creek, the 22-year-old paceman is preparing to face a Tigers outfit loaded with youth in Saturday’s season-opener.
Petherick’s brother, Jarrod, will also front up for Merrivale in the Twenty20 clash.
The challenge of putting his old club and brother to the sword is one Petherick is relishing.
“I used to play there so I know they’ve got talented people at their club,” he told The Standard.
“As (Merrivale co-coach) Josh Stapleton said, it’s about getting games into their young players at this point.
“There’s a bit in it for me in that my brother is playing so it’d be nice to get him out.”
Petherick, who claimed 34 wickets to help Creek on to a grand final in 2016-17, suspected early wickets would be vital if the Jetty Flat-based club was to topple Merrivale.
He said breaking through the Tigers’ top order – particularly Stapleton and his fellow co-coach Jeremy Burgess – would be “vital”.
“Players like Jezza (Burgess), you never know with. I think he had a bit of a disappointing year last season but he was absolutely super the year before,” Petherick said.
“When he gets going, he will take them pretty far as the younger players will follow. We’ll definitely need our A-game.”
Russells Creek has made just one change to its playing list, with former Sri Lankan first class Rukshan Weerasinghe replacing Atulugage ‘Lucky’ Silva.
Weerasinghe boasts more than 1270 first class runs with Panadura and Saracens in Sri Lanka.
Petherick revealed Creek was aiming to push deep into finals after falling just short of the association’s ultimate prize last season. “I don’t think our team has changed much but Bundy (Jayaweera Bandara) is pushing for us to get better,” he said.