Tolland’s hopes of keeping a tight leash on Lake Albert will rest upon the shoulders of teenage talent Mitchyl McCrory after regular goalkeeper Riley Portors was ruled of Saturday night’s clash with Cootamundra.
Portors sustained a shoulder injury during the Wolves’ impressive 5-2 win over Young last weekend and won’t be taking to the field in the immediate future.
The experienced keeper’s absence leaves a gaping hole in Tolland’s defence but Wolves coach Daniel Lawrence is excited to see how 15-year-old McCrory steps up to the challenge.
“Hopefully Riley will get better soon but it’s good for Mitch to get a chance with the seniors,” Lawrence said.
“He’s a good young player who’s still only 15 and he’s played a fair bit of seniors with us in the reserves and I know he’s been backing up for the under 18 Wanderers as well, so he’s got a lot of talent.”
Tolland’s squad depth will be sorely tested on Saturday with a number of Gardiner Shield regulars set to run out on Kessler Park in the first grade side.
Colin Cummins will be locked into a starting role after a strong performance off the bench against Young while Matt Kelly and Matt Baker will fight it out for a starting jersey in the absence of Cameron Cox (suspension) and Nicholas Young (work commitments).
Lawrence also is excited to welcome back Domenic Ciampa and Domenic Bertazzo to tackle the sixth-placed Strikers.
“I’ve got plenty of faith in the new guys coming in,” Lawrence said.
“The bonds that the boys have made during training this week has been promising and I think it’s a great test of our depth, which has been one of our greatest strengths this year.”
Meanwhile, Cootamundra veteran Aaron Kemp is hoping his side’s positive record against top-tier sides will come to the fore on Saturday night.
“We typically play better against the better sides in the competition and it was really tight last time we took on Tolland at home,” Kemp said.
“We were in third pretty recently and we’ve had a few tough games recently but I’m pretty confident we can come away with something.”
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