A NUMBER of key East Wagga-Kooringal players will be back available for selection for Saturday’s crunch showdown with reigning premier Temora.
The Hawks have started the season strongly, cruising through the opening half of the season undefeated as they look to take the Farrer League mantle from three-time reigning premier, Temora.
A huge final quarter helped the Hawks to a 145-point win over Charles Sturt University last Saturday and in ominous signs, EWK will welcome back a number of key personnel against Temora.
Key defenders Trent Garner and Blake Aichinger, key forwards Chris Jackson and Jake Robinson, along with Ryan Campbell will all be available for selection against Temora after missing the win over CSU.
EWK coach Gavin McMahon believes the Hawks will need everyone on deck to take on an improving Temora team, that is getting better every week.
“They’re a good side,” McMahon said.
“They were always going to take a little bit of time, we know what it’s like when a new coach comes in, and they’ve also had a fair personnel turnover.
“They were always going to improve and clearly they have in the last month so it’s a massive game for us this week.”
There was not much between the two teams when they met in round one.
Temora led by a goal at three-quarter-time before the Hawks kicked five unanswered goals in the final term to run out 23-point winners.
“They had more scoring shorts than us last time,” McMahon explained.
“They clearly move the ball very well so we’ve just got to make sure we control the stoppages and don’t let them get the ball to the outside.
“They’ve got some quality players and some talented kids that are only going to get better every week.”
While Temora has improved, so have the Hawks.
They have added the likes of Christian Kelly, Jake Robinson and Kade Rowbotham to their squad, while James Hodges has returned from Western Australia but is yet to break into the first grade team.
They have also successfully cleared a second Victorian key forward, Tim McCrickard, to the club.
McCrickard trained with the Hawks last week but is yet to be a firm part of McMahon’s first grade plans.
Both EWK and Temora will come together to raise funds for Neale Daniher’s MDN campaign.
Hawks president Rob Richards called on more AFL Riverina clubs to get behind the cause, given what the Daniher family has done for football in the region.