NEW Warrnambool coach Ben Parkinson says the Blues plan to use captain Sam Cowling in defence in 2021.
The key target, who has been a focal point in the Blues' offence, was stationed in the back line in round one.
Parkinson said Cowling had the attributes, including a vice-like marking grip, to be a handful for opposition forwards.
"That will probably be the norm for us," he told The Standard.
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"We thought we were going to have Alex Shipard and Jordy Foott and we've also lost Will Jacobs to Barwon Heads, so we were probably a bit light-on down back for one but it's probably been the plan since we finished in 2019, to swing him back to where he started.
"Sam would probably admit he hasn't set the world on fire the last couple of seasons, coming back from some pretty significant injuries mind you."
Parkinson said Foott and Shipard, who is "taking a cautionary approach to his long-term health", left holes to fill.
"We'll get Jordy back eventually, he's got a bit of hip trouble at the moment so he's rehabbing it but it's probably a good couple of months before we see him," he said.
"Alex is probably not going to play. He'll do a fair bit of our running and still be involved in the club."
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Parkinson said the off-season additions of Jason Rowan and Rob Bright - both past players - also enabled them to switch Cowling's role.
"Rob played forward for Merrivale the past three years and having conversations with 'Rowy' since he's come back, he said he did a good job," he said.
"The plan is for him, Rowy and Harry (Ryan) to be our three talls up there."
The new mentor said he wanted a settled side but positions would be "a case-by-case scenario".
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