Opposition Watch: Round 9 vs. Werribee

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What can the Northern Blues expect from an in-form Werribee tomorrow afternoon? (PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Murdoch)

TEAM NEWS
Werribee welcomes back Lindsay Thomas for his first game since Round 4 after the ending of his suspension. He’s one of six inclusions, including North Melbourne-listed Josh Williams and debutant Dom Brew. Declan Mountford comes out of the team due to AFL selection.

FORM LINE
Werribee come into tomorrow’s game with an undefeated streak of their own, having won five straight since Round 2. They come into the game with two straight five-point wins against North Ballarat and Richmond, as well as having the bye last weekend.

LAST TIME WE MET
It was a proper old-school shootout between these two sides at Avalon Airport Oval last year. After an even first half, the Tigers stormed home in the second half to record a 63-point win, piling on 25 goals to Northern’s 15. It was the only time under Josh Fraser where the Northern Blues have recorded at least 100 points in a game and lost.

Werribee 25. 15. (165) defeated Northern Blues 15. 12. (102)

BY THE NUMBERS
After conceding over 100 points in their opening two losses, Werribee has steadied the ship and become a tight defensive unit in their wins to date.

In four of their five straight wins, the Tigers have been able to keep their opponents to 10 goals or less for the game, restricting their opposition each week.

The exception to that was the game against Collingwood: despite conceding 101 points on the day, Werribee also showed they had the attacking firepower, triumphing by 11 points in that Round 5 match.

Nick Larkey and the returning Lindsay Thomas have been key exponents of scoreboard impact, with Larkey kicking 11 goals in seven matches while Thomas has seven from two.

OFF-SEASON ACQUISITIONS
Similar to their AFL counterparts North Melbourne, Werribee welcomed a flurry of young talent through the door over the summer who have played important roles in the year to date.

The likes of Max Augerinos (Geelong Falcons) and debutant Dom Brew (North Albury) are in the squad for tomorrow’s game, while Nick Buykx from the Western Jets has had an instant impact down back for the Tigers.

They lost three key figures at the end of last year, with Isaac Conway, Josh Porter and Jake Wilson all seeking pastures new heading into 2017.

WHAT TO EXPECT
Games in the past between these two teams have historically been high-scoring, with both teams recording over 100 points in the last two matches.

The two teams have also had a taste of each other this season, with two practice matches taking place earlier in the year at Arden Street, with the most recent taking place just two weeks ago.

However, with four points on the line, expect it to lift another gear, with a win for either side potentially having top-four ramifications come the end of the round.
With AFL talent aplenty across both sides, it’ll be a fast-paced, combative battle between two sides desperate to keep a winning run going.

IN THE BALANCE
One-on-one match-ups all over the field will prove critical in the make-up of Saturday’s game. Dylan Buckley could be pitted against Lindsay Thomas, Andrew Phillips and Braydon Preuss will slog it out in the ruck and Harry McKay and Patrick Kerr will have their work cut out for them against Sam Durdin and Daniel Nielson. Wherever you look across the ground, tomorrow’s game is evenly poised.