Leaders are pride of league

By Brayden May

ECHUCA will be strongly represented in the women’s interleague football clash on Sunday when the Northern Country Women’s League hosts the Central Victoria Football Women’s League at Shepparton.

The Murray Bombers have the strongest representation of any club in the remaining squad with six, while reigning premier Shepparton has four players included in the squad.

Forward Jodie Lake is set to captain the team where she will be joined by Aisha Kirchhofer, Bree Gaylor, Paige Baksh and Tayla Stewart against the Central Victoria Football Women’s League.

Meanwhile Sophie Douglas has earned a late call-up after the withdrawal of two players ahead of the final training session tonight.

Echuca coach Mick McInnes will take the reins alongside Shepparton’s John Wilson for the second consecutive year, with Kerang’s Ash Wise joining the coaching staff in 2019.

And McInnes believes the Murray Bombers representatives are well equipped for the clash.

“The step up in standard will be a good test for the girls especially after a couple of weeks off,” McInnes said.

“I’m confident the girls will be able to handle themselves well because a few of them played last year.

“We’re expecting another good effort from the entire group.”

After suffering a 13-point defeat against the same opposition in 2018, McInnes believes the team are in a better place to secure victory this time around.

“It is a bit of a rivalry game considering how close the two leagues are,” he said.

“We know they’ll bring a similar style to last year which gives us more confidence. Hopefully we are able to square the ledger.”

While McInnes is determined to win the match, he believes the opportunity to develop relationships with other clubs is one of the biggest benefits.

‘‘Getting to know the other girls is really exciting,’’ he said.

‘‘It isn’t everyday where you get to work with the best talent in the competition. But also the friendship I’ve developed with John Wilson means we’ve been able to bounce ideas off each other.’’

McInnes and Wilson will announce their final team after tonight’s training session.

The game will take place at Deakin Reserve, Shepparton beginning at 1pm.

There will be a curtain raiser between SDJFL youth girls teams Shepparton Notre and Shepparton United prior to the clash.