TWO senior football coaches have decided to play with 21 players rather than 22 when their teams clash on Saturday.
Koroit's Chris McLaren and Hamilton Kangaroos' Hamish Waldron came to the agreement ahead of their round seven Hampden league contest.
New rules came into play in 2023 allowing clubs to have four players on the bench - like the AFL - rather than three.
It was a change which was contentious and "gentlemen's agreements" were permitted given some of the backlash.
McLaren said it was pleasing clubs could work together if it best suited them to pick smaller interchange line-ups on certain weekends.
Koroit played with 21 opposed to Cobden's 22 in round one as the Bombers had the numbers.
But the Saints and Roos have both picked just 21 players for their game at Victoria Park.
McLaren said it was a regular discussion between opposing coaches.
"We don't expect clubs which have lots of numbers to do it - it's in the rules and the rules are rules," he said.
"I think it's great clubs are working together.
"Across the board numbers at under 18s are a fair battle for most teams.
"Holty (Jarrod Holt) reached out when we played Portland early in the week and then we contacted them later in the week and we were both pretty good then so we went with 22," he said.
"I reached out to Swayny (Neville Swayn at Camperdown) and he was a bit the same, numbers were OK, although ressies numbers were a bit of a challenge for both of us."
Waldron said the round seven match would be the first time this year the Kangaroos had played with 21.
"We'll see how it goes this week. It does take a little bit of pressure off the ones on the bench, you're not moving as many around," he said.
"It (four on the bench) is a bit of pressure on you as a coach because you're trying to keep everyone happy.
"You're trying to give everyone a decent run."
Koroit has lost Taylor McKenry (hamstring) and Tom Couch (pectoral/rib) while Will Couch will return following a two-week suspension.
McLaren said Tom Couch, who has kicked eight goals in two games since rejoining the club, will have a scan on Monday.
"He has a little bit of pain through the chest and lost power," he said.
"He really struggled with it last week."
Hamilton has three players - Jack Hickey, James Pike and Mick McMeel - away on a stock agents' work trip.
Emerging forward Hamish Cook (concussion) and teenager Noah Herrmann will come into the Roos' side.
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