OLD Collegians are resisting the temptation to abandon their youth-first policy in an effort to throw everything at lower-table rival East Warrnambool today.
Co-coach Nathan Forth said he would persevere with a young side for the 11th-versus-12th clash at Davidson Oval.
The contest presents the Warriors with their best chance to break their season duck and claim a morale-boosting triumph which could spark further success.
But despite a host of omissions through injury and unavailability, Forth and co-coach Jamie McKenzie have opted against reinforcing the side with ready-made senior players.
The first-year coaches have instead turned to two teenagers still eligible to play junior football among seven inclusions.
Andrew Geary and Matthew Petherick join fellow teenagers Jacob Lacy, Indiana Phillips and Jesse Cruickshank, who have punched above their weight this campaign.
Dylan O’Brien, who has been the Warriors’ best player the past fortnight on a wing, is also in his first year of senior football after playing in Koroit’s under 18s.
Forth this week made no apologies for the stance.
“That’s where we are as a club, that’s how the club is going to get better,” he said.
“We’ve got to get games into these kids to make them better footballers.
“I’d rather play a 17-year-old kid than a 35-year-old bloke who is on his last legs.”
Forth said the Warriors would enter the match confident.
The two sides shared the spoils last season, with East posting just its second win in 89 matches in round nine and Old Collegians turning the tables in round 18.
“We’ve got to go in confident,” Forth said.
“We’ll keep sticking to our plans and philosophies and back ourselves to do well. We’ve really got to get on top in the middle and run and create.”
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