Football Mid North Coast: Rangers depth to be tested with seven out

Depth to be tested: Macleay Valley Rangers first grade player Steven Morn steers the ball away from an opposition player. Photo: Penny Tamblyn.

Depth to be tested: Macleay Valley Rangers first grade player Steven Morn steers the ball away from an opposition player. Photo: Penny Tamblyn.

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The Macleay Valley Rangers have been the front runners of the Premier League competition since the opening round and coach Dean Riordan credits their success to hard work during the pre-season, formation and positional changes along with the growth of their depth.

The latter will be key in their top of the table clash against Port Saints on Saturday.

The Rangers will be without seven of their regular first graders through injury and suspension.

Captain, stopper and leading goal scorer Paul Thurlow and Adric Bobin are still a couple of weeks from making their returns from hamstring injuries and Jesse Polzen isn’t match fit after a holiday in China.

Josh Morn has relocated due to work while his father Darren broke his leg a month ago and brother Brett is on the sidelines with a knee injury.

To add to the Rangers’ injury crisis, they will be without one of their key attacking weapons Sam Applegate.

The 15-year-old was given his fourth yellow card of the season in his last start and as a result he will miss a game through suspension.

“It will just be next man up for this team,” Riordan said.

“We have plenty of depth this season and a lot of youngsters have stepped up at different times.”

Fortunately for Riordan, Jeremy Masters returns from a one match suspension while Josh Tynan and Brent Ryan are two experienced players he will call upon.

Riordan believes the depth in the side has helped them excel on both ends of the field this season.

"It is like any sport, when you have a strong defence, your attack thrives off it," he said.

“We are really strong across the park but especially in the midfield. We attack and defend with seven players with those blokes in the middle doing a bit of everything.

“You always have success when you have a strong midfield.”

The Rangers have scored 23 goals and have only conceded four goals in their six matches this season .

Both statistics are the best in the competition with their closest rival, Port Saints, scoring 15 and conceding six.

“Everyone has been scoring goals which is a sign that we are in form,” Riordan said.

"It will be a tough match against Port Saints but we are all playing for each other at the moment and when you play like that you are going to earn positive results.

“We trained hard and had plenty of matches in the pre-season and you can tell that is paying off now.”

The Rangers are five competition points above the Port Saints but the latter has a game in-hand.

The washed out match between the Rangers and Wallis Lakes on Saturday June 10 will be played on the allocated make up game weekend. 

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