TEMORA’S premiership-winning forward partnership of Matt Wallis and Matt Harpley will re-form at Gumly Oval on Saturday, just two weeks out from finals.
Wallis hasn’t played seniors for Temora since the elimination final of 2015. He moved to South Mildura last year but broke a knee cap in just his second match.
After nearly two seasons out, Wallis has played three reserve grade games for Temora, bagging three, four and then five goals.
“I’m quite excited,” Wallis said. “Originally I got told I’d be back in six weeks…
“The next bloke said you probably won’t be able to walk properly again. And the next bloke said 12 months so it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for a while there.”
The key forward’s return is ominous for rivals and ramps up the expectation around the second-placed Kangaroos, who have won four of their last five games.
“The first few rounds it was hard to get a gauge how we were travelling but right now, sitting second and looking pretty good, it’s quite positive coming into finals,” Wallis said.
It's been more than two years since Wallis and Harpley played in tandem, with Harpley also returning this year after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament late in 2015.
They combined for 94 goals that year and 115 the previous season, when the Kangaroos won a third straight flag.
“It was the story of the knees that year so it’s been a while,” Wallis said. “But we usually kick a few together and play well so it should be good.”
Wallis has been named in a forward pocket, alongside Harpley. He noted the half-forward line including Luke Gerhard and Mark Breust also offers plenty of height.
This year, Wallis believes they have a well-rounded side, led by skipper Charlie Vallance at the back and their midfielders.
“Once we can tie it all together, I think we’ll be pretty dangerous come September,” he said.
Coach Jake Wooden and midfielder Sam Jensen also return against the Hawks on Saturday.