Nhill v Stawell

Nhill ruckman George McWaters will play a key role in Saturday's clash with Stawell. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Nhill ruckman George McWaters will play a key role in Saturday's clash with Stawell. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Ground: Davis Park, Nhill, Saturday, 2.20pm.

Last time they met: Round three, 2014. Stawell 14.10 (94) d Nhill 7.15 (57).

NHILL coach Shane Grover is confident his charges can break through for their first win of the season when they host Stawell on Saturday.

The club set its sights on finals at the start of the year, but things have not gone as planned for the Tigers, who are without a win from the opening nine rounds.

But Grover believes that is set to change.

“The week off has been fantastic for us and there’s a really good buzz around at the moment,” he said.

“It’s a big game for us and we see ourselves as a real chance.

“We’ll go in to it pretty confident.”

Grover said the Tigers should be boosted by the return of Tyren Liebel and Jayden Fischer.

But it will by no means be an easy task for the hosts, who will return from a two-week break to face a Warriors side confident after a competitive showing against Ararat on Sunday.

The Warriors were triumphant when the two clubs met earlier in the year and coach Brad Cassidy said his side would be eager for its second win of the year.

“There’s no doubt, it’s a big game not only for us but for Nhill as well,” he said. 

“We certainly know it’s going to be a tough contest so we need to be well-prepared mentally and physically.

"Both clubs need a win and I really can’t wait, it will be great to see how it unfolds.”

Cassidy said the the Warriors were set to field a handful of changes to their line-up.

“At the moment it looks like five or six changes, but that’s what happens in footy,” he said.

“I think it’s a bit of a like for like with all our replacements which is a positive for us.”

Skipper Tom Eckel will be a big inclusion, as will David Morris, while Andrew Cameron and Angus Barham will step up from the reserves and junior product Mitch Collins will make his senior debut.

But key forward Chris Ford, midfielder Jesse Eckel and Toby Reid will miss with injury, while Jarrod Illig is unavailable.

Grover said he believed the match would be won and lost in the middle, with ruckman George McWaters to play a key role feeding first use of the ball to a young midfield group featuring the likes of Liam Albrecht, Lachie Barber and Sam Bone.

“George the last two games has been really good and we expect him to have a massive influence,” he said.

“It’s up to our midfielders then to dominate out of the middle.

“They’re pretty strong with guys like Eckel in the middle, but we’re quite young and strong in the midfield as well.

“We’ve given the young guys a go and they’ve really stood up for us.”

With the Warriors’ equal-leading goal-kicker Ford out of the line-up, key for the visitors will be kicking a winning score.

Brenton Potter will be even more important in the forward half, as will Shane Field, while the returning Cameron could provide an x-factor.

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