COOLAMON is confident its young ruck brigade can hold the fort as some Riverina League teams battle to fill a big man void this season.
Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong is well stocked with ruck options with two-time Jim Quinn medallist Jacob Olsson to again be deputised by versatile swingman Daniel Foley, while Wagga Tigers hope Tom Osmotherly's shoulders allow him to play more games this year.
Canberra-based ruck Shaun Allan is back in Turvey Park's fold, but other sides tipped to be in finals contention the Hoppers, Mangoplah-Cookardina United-Eastlakes and Collingullie-Glenfield Park look set to put their faith in youngsters.
Hoppers co-coach Mark Carroll indicated in January the club hopes experienced ruckman Anthony Atkin, who missed most of last year with a knee injury, will play some games despite moving to Newcastle.
Fellow Hoppers co-coach Jake Barrett said the club is hugely confident in their midfield quality and depth after luring quality recruits Shae Darcy, Allister McDermott and Aidan McCauley to the club.
Will McGowan filled ruck role at times last year and has been solid in trial games, while Gerard Okerenyang is another option.
"We've got six genuine midfielders we can rotate like myself, Jeremy Maslin, Shae, Allister, Jeremy Sykes, and Hayden Bradley," Barrett said.
"What we're lacking in is the ruck, and that's something a lot of teams have struggled to fill this year around the Riverina and Farrer Leagues.
"At the same time, we've got a couple of young fellas going through there who have competed really well in trials.
"Will McGowan has done well and he's looking at being a good ruck filler, or have the no.1 spot. We've got a couple of options there, but we're still working that out before round one."
Coolamon has added former Bathurst player McCauley to their roster. He plays mainly as a half forward-winger, but has spent time in the midfield with Canberra side Gungahlin.
"It's about juggling the points (Player Points System), but at the same time we're pretty lucky a lot of our team are one pointers.
"Ganmain and Tigers having those good ruck options which is going to help them, but I feel like we can back our midfield to nullify that, especially the way we're setting up our game plan.
"It'll certainly help them, but they (ruckmen) don't grow on trees unfortunately."
The Goannas have indicated youngster Zac Hanrahan will have more ruck responsibility this year after the departure of Sam De Sousa.
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