Blues and Bombers in Anzac Day battle

RIVALS Rosedale and Traralgon-Tyers United will pay homage to the Anzac spirit under lights on Thursday.

The North Gippsland Football-Netball League will join several other country leagues across the state in hosting matches on Anzac day.

The concept was initiated by TTU six seasons ago and is still going strong with the Traralgon and Rosedale RSLs involved.

It will be Nick Leechino’s first Anzac Day showdown as Rosedale coach, and was excited about gaining a different perspective of the match.

“I’m looking forward to the match, being a past Blue boy I have always been a spectator on ANZAC Day getting out to the club to have a look at the contest, so certainly it will be different this time around,” Leechino said.

The coach was fully aware it would be far from easy against a quality opponent. But with six-day break following round one and a five-day break after last Saturday’s match in addition to a far from full strength line-up, the odds are staked against the Blues.

“Country footy on a public holiday is a great concept and spectacle for the league, but it’s going to be tough coming off the back of two short weeks to recover from what have been tough bruising contests. Perhaps I should have approached the league for an extended bench,” Leechino laughed.

“Last week against Cowwarr was a pretty tough contest, a really hard fought game with the guys putting in a massive effort when the game was in the balance in the final term.

“I wasn’t particularly impressed with the style of footy that we played in the first three quarters but the way that the side responded to the challenge in the final term I was happy and pleased with.

“TTU are certainly the measuring stick of the competition, they have recruited well, they have a fantastic midfield and our focus will be on shutting them down.”

Pleased to get the early wins on the board with a less than full complement to choose from, Leechino was impressed with his charges’ efforts and was realistic he would have a few good headaches to deal with when more of his squad becomes available.

“We will monitor the injuries that we have and see on Thursday morning who will come up and who won’t,” he said.

“Everyone has been working really hard to get the early wins. We could have easily been two-zip, but the guys that are filling the void have stepped up and we are seeing good results.”

The early football and netball matches will begin at 12.15pm, with the senior football and A grade netball matches beginning after a small ceremony, featuring the Last Post, from 5.15pm.