MAX TIME: Former Sydney Swans Academy member Max Hillier will make his debut for Wodonga Raiders against Rovers. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

Former Sydney Swans Academy player to make O and M senior debut

A pacy wingman, who was in the Sydney Swans Academy, will debut for Wodonga Raiders against Wangaratta Rovers on Saturday.

Teenager Max Hillier has spent the season in reserve grade after battling back related hamstring injuries.

“It means a lot (to debut) actually, I’m very privileged, my first O and M game, I’m pretty excited,” he said.

Hillier won the Cardiff Hawks’ best and fairest last year in the Newcastle-based Black Diamond League.

“He’s had a few injuries and he’s starting to hit full fitness and get back to the form we thought he could get back to,” Raiders’ coach Daryn Cresswell said.

“He’s a really tough kid and been playing some really good footy,

“He’s a goalkicker, but very tough inside and a very good defensive tackling player.

“He’s got a bit of class about him.”

Hillier replaces the club’s most exciting player in brilliant Brodie Filo, who will miss at least another month with a broken jaw from the Albury game a fortnight ago.

In fact, Cresswell will face his toughest coaching test in three years at the club as he looks to replace Filo.

He’ll be helped though by the fact the club faces the battling Rovers, albeit away.

It will allow the tactically-clever Cresswell to experiment without the fierce pressure premiership contenders Yarrawonga will bring next week.

The club has made a number of changes, but none as important as the return of Jydon Neagle.

Raiders’ Mr Fix It missed the Albury game with illness.

Neagle can play literally everywhere, from full-forward, to ball-magnet midfielder to defence.

Raiders will need both Neagle and Filo fit and firing if they’re to have any hope of making an impact at finals.

With four games left, Raiders face two finals contenders, along with winless Corowa-Rutherglen, in round 17.

Raiders will be hoping there’s no rain against the Hawks, as they chase a percentage-boosting win to keep their top three hopes alive.

Raiders have a nine-five record and should topple the home team to jump two wins clear of Wodonga.


Article courtesy of the Border Mail

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