The Northern Blues face another big test as they look to build on their momentum from last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Dodge, AFL Media)
A first home win of 2018 will be at the forefront of the Northern Blues’ mind tomorrow morning.
The Blues play host to Footscray at Ikon Park from 10am, looking to build on last week’s important win.
Northern will no doubt have its eyes on a win at home at the fifth time of asking this season: the previous wins have come at Frankston and Collingwood.
Ciaran Byrne and Patrick Kerr return to Northern’s line-up, with it to be Byrne’s first match of any kind in nearly three months. Kerr comes back via the VFL after a debut month in the senior side.
It will also be Byrne’s first game for the Northern Blues since the last time the club took on Footscray, and the Irishman will be hoping for a similar return. On that day, he registered 27 disposals and seven marks.
Ciaran Byrne was named to make his return from injury in the Bertocchi 23 last night.
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) June 28, 2018
At the time of writing, the Blues have named nine AFL-listed players in the side, with one expected to come out of the line-up as the hold-over emergency for the Carlton game later that day.
Northern will be out without half-a-dozen Carlton-listed players who contributed last weekend, including Nick Graham, Andrew Phillips and Jarrod Pickett. All three have been rewarded with AFL selection.
In their place, the challenge will be put to the club’s youngsters to rise to the occasion against the 6-4 Bulldogs, who will be out to consolidate a spot in the VFL’s top eight.
Alex Federico and Ethan Penrith shone around the ground last Sunday, while the experienced Darcy Lang, Matthew Lobbe and Tom Wilson will be crucial with their leadership in the middle.
Alex Federico and Ethan Penrith enjoyed the best performances of their short @VFL careers to date, contributing strongly in Sunday's win.
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) June 27, 2018
Northern leading goal-kicker Jesse Palmer will be buoyed by the inclusion of Kerr: the pair averaged four goals between them per game when playing together.
They’ll be joined by Harry McKay, with the young Carlton tall named at full-forward.
Reigning Laurie Hill Trophy winner Cameron O’Shea will be crucial in defence for the Blues, alongside the impressive Mason Blakey, Kane Keppel and Marcus Stavrou.
Mitch Honeychurch and Jordan Roughead feature for Footscray, who have 10 AFL-listed players of their own.
Both sides have their own VFL-listed representatives with vast AFL experience, and it’ll be no surprise if Josh Hill (173 games) and Angus Monfries (211 games). Hill has been in great touch for the Blues since moving to the half-back line.
The game begins at 10am, in what is a big day for the Blues across all competitions. The VFLW game will follow at 1pm at Ikon Park, while Kade Simpson’s 300th game takes place at the MCG at 1:45pm.
There will be no live stream of the game.
Round 13 VFL
Northern Blues vs. Footscray
Saturday, June 30 — 10am
Adults — $10
Concession — $5
Children under-15 — Free entry
Carlton and/or Northern Blues members — Free entry