PUMPED: Raiders captain Jack Di Mizio steps up a gear at training on Thursday night. He says the match with Lavington is season-defining.
This is it for Jack
WODONGA Raiders captain Jack Di Mizio says Saturday’s blockbuster with Lavington is the club’s most important match of the season.
The Raiders are in a tug-of-war with Yarrawonga and North Albury for third spot and the double chance that comes with it in the finals.
It could be decided when Raiders travel to Yarrawonga in the last game of the season, but Di Mizio is hoping the double chance is sewn up before then.
“I think this game is it for us,” Di Mizio said.
“We would have to win this one to hold third spot.
“Third spot would obviously help out a hell of a lot come finals time.”
As expected, Ethan Boxall and Matt Neagle return from the Murray Bushrangers, while Stewart Williams also comes in for the Raiders.
Lavington was dealt a blow at selection, leaving out coach James Saker, but the Panthers named Kade Stevens and Tom Yensch.
However, Lavington played the cautious card with star midfielder Luke Garland and his hamstring.
He could return next week against Albury.
“If I come back and do it, it’s basically season over,” Garland said.
“I will be taking a very cautious approach (but) I was back running last Thursday and I couldn’t feel it.
“I would presume we’re going to have a top three finish so I want to get it right for the finals.”
Raiders are fresh after the week off, and have had plenty of time to recover from their 83-point loss to Albury.
“We were happy to admit that we learnt a lesson in football,” Di Mizio said.
“We’ve just got to try and imitate what they did and find some consistency in our football.
“We’ve had a long time to think about the last game which obviously wasn’t too good.
“Defence was an issue with Albury and we know how good Lavi are with their forward line so we’ve built on that and we’ll go from there.”
Article courtesy of the Border Mail