The Northern Blues host an in-form Werribee at Ikon Park tomorrow. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Murdoch)
It’s a Round 9 VFL clash with top-four ramifications tomorrow at Ikon Park.
The Northern Blues host Werribee tomorrow afternoon for the first game at the venue in 2017, with both teams looking to extend a formidable unbeaten run.
Northern have won six games on the spin, while Werribee are victorious in five straight matches as the two sides look to consolidate a strong start to the year.
With winning form treated as good form, the two sides name largely settled line-ups in a game which is littered with AFL talent all over the park.
Northern has named six inclusions onto an extended bench, with one of those being the confirmed debut of 23rd man, Sam Fowler.
The entire starting 18 is made up of players who featured in the narrow win over Coburg last weekend, where the Blues withstood a late surge to continuing its victorious run.
Werribee once again pose another threat for the Blues, with Northern senior coach Josh Fraser saying they’d provide “one of the biggest challenges yet”.
There is AFL experience wherever you look, with Northern’s Dennis Armfield and Simon White matched by the know-how of Andrew Swallow and the returning Lindsay Thomas.
While the Blues notched up the win against the Lions last weekend, Josh Fraser will put the test to Northern following a disappointing close to the game.
The midfield battle will have a big say in the context of the game, led by the ruck duel between Andrew Phillips and Braydon Preuss.
With Nick Graham, Sam Kerridge and Rhys Palmer all having solid performances last time out, they’ll need to back it up again for Northern to come away with a seventh straight win.
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) June 16, 2017
It is the first game of a huge month of football for the Blues, who have Richmond, Box Hill, Port Melbourne and Essendon in the coming weeks.
The game will be broadcast live on Channel 7 in Victoria from 2pm. Interstate viewers can also tune in: simply change your postcode to 3000 on the PLUS7 app or website.
Round 9 VFL
Northern Blues vs. Werribee Tigers
Saturday, June 17 — 2:10pm
Live on Channel 7 in Victoria, PLUS7 app for interstate viewers
Entry: $10 adults, $5 concession, Carlton/Northern Blues members and children under-15 free
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ciaran Byrne: All eyes were on the returning Irishman last Saturday at Preston City Oval, and Byrne will continue his comeback trail tomorrow at Ikon Park. In his first game back after 12 months, Byrne collected 13 disposals in three quarters against Coburg, and is expected to increase his game-time this weekend. In what is expected to be a tight tussle, Byrne’s rebounding work from the back half will be crucial for the Blues.
Sam Kerridge: Kerridge has had an extremely consistent run for the Northern Blues so far this season, not dropping below 20 disposals in his five VFL games so far. With 31 disposals and a goal last weekend, Kerridge will be hopeful of carrying his form into tomorrow’s game, in a midfield battle which could prove decisive. So far, he’s averaged over 28 disposals and just shy of a goal a game.
Jarrod Pickett: In his first game in just under a month, Pickett buzzed around against the Lions in a handy display in the forward pocket. With the ability to push up the ground, Pickett formed part of an exciting small forward line-up along with the likes of Andrew Gallucci and Kym Lebois, while they’ll be joined by debutant Sam Fowler tomorrow. A similar performance from Pickett in the forward line will be crucial for the Blues and set the exciting youngster on his path to an AFL recall.