Mt Barker are set to regain three players for Saturday’s second meeting with ladder-leaders Railways this season as they try to end the Tigers’ winning start to the 2018 Great Southern Football League season.
The Bulls rebounded from a disappointing loss to North Albany at home in round 5 to record a 31-point win over Royals last week and coach Brad Hook says his side must build on that performance to knock off the red-hot Tigers.
A thumping win over the Kangas on Sunday helped the Tigers to a 6-0 record but in their previous encounter with the Bulls they conceded the first five goals of the match and had to erase a six-goal deficit in the second half.
Injured duo Dionne Woods and Luke Hammond are strong chances to return for the Bulls, while young talent Aidin Williss is likely also to be included after State Country Colts duties in recent weeks.
Hook said his side would need to be at their best to end the Tigers’ winning run but he believed they were getting close to their best side.
“We are pretty excited about (Saturday),” Hook said.
“Railways are definitely the benchmark this year and we play them at home.
“We had six ins last week and are looking at three more back this week, so we are getting close to our best team.
“We are going to have to be at our best but if it’s anything like our last game with them it will be a ripper.”
The Bulls will be without rugged defender Jack Horrocks, who popped his collarbone out in the win over the Lions but avoided a break, while Darren Humble, Michael Wright and Lee Pavlovich are likely to return after next week’s general bye.
Centre half-forward Kallan Bond will not play against the Tigers but small forward Kym Monteath will need to be kept in check after booting nine goals in a best afield display last week.
Hook said he believed the key to beating the Tigers was preventing the midfield drive key duo Zane Marwick and Joel Want generated.
“Their win over North Albany surprised a lot of people, not the win but the margin,” he said.
“Zane Marwick got on top of us last time. We went head-to-head with their midfield and they beat us in the last half.
“We’ve got to try and slow their midfield down, especially Zane and Joel Want.”
The Tigers have confirmed State 16s squad member Jacob Blight will be promoted from the colts to make his debut in the trip to Sounness Park, while Matt France and Scott Fielding are likely omissions.
Fielding was injured in the win last week while Zak Hortin (hamstring) and Chris Miller (ankle) remain on the sidelines and could be given another week off given the bye next weekend.
Albany and the Lions will meet in the clash of the co-tenants at Centennial Stadium in Saturday’s other round 7 fixture, while the sole Sunday fixture has the Kangas looking to rebound against Denmark-Walpole at Collingwood Park.