COLLINGWOOD premiership player Tarkyn Lockyer will make his long awaited debut for the Morwell Football Club on Saturday in Gippsland League football.
“It will be massive for the club, (the) local community and football in Gippsland to have a player and person of Tarkyn’s calibre playing,” Morwell coach Harmit Singh said.
The 227-game Australian Football League player took training at the Tigers on Tuesday night ahead of its round four clash with Bairnsdale, where the side will attempt to keep its unbeaten record intact.
“Besides his AFL game experienced he has also coached at a Victorian Football League level,” Singh said. Lockyer has not played since the Magpies’ 2010 premiership, however Singh, who works alongside Lockyer at Collingwood, said he has worked hard to get ready for the game.
“Tarkyn is in incredible shape and has put himself in the best possible physical condition to play with us this season,” he said.
His new team mates are amped up and Singh said none of the regular side would miss out on a spot to make way for the former AFL star.
“Like Tarkyn there are a few players that aren’t available every week so we will rotate them through,” he said.
Undefeated after three rounds, Morwell will not be taking Bairnsdale lightly. The sides are renowned for their close encounters and the Redlegs are fresh from consecutive wins over Maffra and Drouin.
“They have a good program .. a good junior program. They are well coached and it will be a tough test for us. Hopefully we can come away with the win,” Singh said.
Bairnsdale coach Shaun Mooney welcomed Lockyer’s inclusion for the match and was expecting “a very tough and hard contest”.
“It’s great to have ex-AFL players involved in the competition. It gives our players the opportunity to test themselves against the best,” he said. Lockyer’s debut marks the start of an exciting era for the Morwell Football Club with his former Magpies teammate Anthony Rocca expected to line up for the club in four weeks.
“Hopefully the inclusion of Tarkyn, and Anthony in the future will bring a few of the Gippsland Collingwood supporters along to have a look at them in action,” Morwell Football Club president Wade Presley said.
The club is hopeful the pair will also prove an important coaching resource for its younger levels.
“Kids are the future of any club so I hope the involvement of myself and Anthony Rocca in the future, in addition to the other coaching staff, encourages a few new faces around the place,” Lockyer said.
Traralgon v Moe
FRESH from its first win of the season over Warragul, Traralgon will be eyeing off a second consecutive victory, and its first at home, when it hosts Moe on Saturday.
While it has won seven of its last eight encounters with Moe, it is not expecting a certain victory.
“As we have seen in the first three weeks, there are really no easy games. If you don’t come prepared to play you’ll come unstuck,” Traralgon coach Paul McCulloch said.
McCulloch faces some difficult squad decisions tonight.
“We have a couple more available this week, so it will make for a tough selection.”
Leongatha v Wonthaggi
BOTH Leongatha and Wonthaggi will be looking to return to the winner’s circle when the sides meet on Saturday.
Leongatha has not been a happy hunting ground for Wonthaggi since its 2010 return to the Gippsland League. The Power has failed to defeat the Parrots on their turf for more than a decade.
Wonthaggi served it up to the unbeaten reigning premier last week while Leongatha was gallant in defeat against Maffra.
Sale v Warragul
SALE will be vying for its 18th straight win when it returns home for the first time in two weeks to take on Warragul.
The trip to Sale has proven fruitless for the Gulls in recent years, with just one win from seven attempts. Warragul coach Ash Green was disappointed by his club’s efforts against Traralgon last weekend and will be looking to make amends.
Drouin v Maffra
FRESH from a win over Leongatha at home, Maffra will travel to Drouin on Saturday to take on the Hawks.
There is plenty of rivalry between the Eagles and the Hawks, who met in the 2011 grand final.
That match went Maffra’s way but Drouin got revenge when it knocked the Eagles off in round 11 last year.