Star power returns

August 18, 2017

Star players Daniel Willis (pictured), Cameron Valentine and Sam Toulmin return to Echuca's line-up tomorrow with a point to prove to arch-rival Rochester.

Echuca will welcome back some star power for its clash with arch-rival Rochester tomorrow.

Daniel Willis, Sam Toulmin and Cameron Valentine are among the Murray Bombers’ premier players.

Willis and Valentine have been out since June, while Toulmin’s last appearance was Echuca’s infamous 142-point belting to Kyabram in round 11.

It will be outgoing Echuca coach Andrew Briggs’ last game in charge at Victoria Park, with the Murray Bombers determined to end a long drought dating back to 2011.

‘‘I think there’s some older players who want to make a statement in terms of form,’’ Briggs said.

‘‘Our form hasn’t been very good and the players aren’t happy with that.

‘‘There’s older guys and younger guys who want to prove to the next coach, whoever that is going to be, and to our supporters that they can actually play senior footy at this level.’’

Star ruckman Kane Morris has battled niggling injures this season, but his presence automatically makes Echuca a better side.

But for the Murray Bombers to knock off their nemesis, it is going to take a mighty effort with Rochester peaking at the right end of the season. Tigers coach James Flaherty will be back on the field tomorrow after missing last week’s 37-point victory over Benalla because of a calf complaint.

Veteran ruckman Sam Brennan is another big inclusion for Rochester, coming back for his first game since round 12.

Leigh Millard is done for the season after scans revealed he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against Euroa last month.

The Tigers have secured their spot in the finals after memorable wins against Benalla and Euroa during the last two rounds, following up a smashing to Kyabram in round 14.

‘‘It’s always hard to win up at Echuca, but we’ve been happy with our form over the last two weeks,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘Our year has been a bit up and down, but our best is good enough, we just haven’t had that consistency.’’

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