FOOTBALL is back.
On Friday, Murray Football League club Moama will face Picola and District Football League club Mathoura in a bushfire fundraiser.
The clubs will play at Jack Eddy Oval in Moama, aiming to raise funds for the Corryong Football and Netball Club.
But while the game is for a special cause, there is expected to be more than a bit of life in the contest.
While Mathoura coach Darcy Robinson is intent on raising as much money as possible, he said his side was ready to test itself against another club.
“We started in November so it will be nice to break the training cycle,” he said.
“It’s a massive opportunity for both clubs to see where they sit with the season still a few weeks away.”
And one of the keys for Robinson will be to see how much his players have learnt.
“I want our boys to focus and execute our structures,” he said.
“We sat down earlier in the week to see where guys are at. We’re going to have about 30 guys play, but some will play more than others. A contest with another club is the best way to see what works.”
The game will also give Mathoura supporters an opportunity to get a glimpse of new recruits, including Joel Donehue and Josh Flight.
“Joel had a very successful career with Leitchville-Gunbower and we’re really excited what we can add to our group,” he said.
“He’s been great on the track, so to see him in a game environment will be very exciting.
“Josh is hellbent on making a big impression on the competition this year after coming back from Deniliquin Rovers and I’m expecting him to be a big performer.”
Moama coach Luke Eldridge said his side was excited to get back on the field, but also aware of what stage of pre-season the Magpies were up to.
"It's probably a little early for a full-blown hit out,” Eldridge said.
"We want a good contest for the first half. We have 38 available, so we want to give everyone a taste.
"We won't be playing for sheep stations, we’ll play a good brand of footy early and see where we go from there.”
Like Mathoura, Moama will use the opportunity to unveil some of their new - and returning - players for the 2020 season.
"We will see Marcus Wattie, a lively midfield forward, and Jack Gleeson will be lining up at centre half-forward,” he said.
"Darcy Bibby comes in as well, while Callum Doyle and Fraser Verhey to the club. We were all about finding players who would get us first use of the footy and provide options forward, and we love the dynamic they add.”
But Eldridge said the focus of the game will remain on the fundraising.
"In the end, the intention is to have a bit of fun and enjoy the night,” he said.
"Hopefully we are going to raise a bit of money for a great cause. People have been through an incredibly tough time, and we are looking forward to doing our bit and helping out.”
Tonight's game starts at 7pm at Jack Eddy Oval, with gates opening at 6pm. Entry is a gold coin donation.