Cannons, Knights depleted by nationals

Small forward Isaac Kako is one of five Calder Cannons players who will miss this weekend's match against Northern Knights due to Vic Metro commitments. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Matt Hewson

Calder Cannons have won their last three games to push into fourth place on the Coates Talent League ladder, but all bets are off for Saturday’s match against Northern Knights.

Players from both sides will be missing, playing in South Australia with Vic Metro for the under-18 national championships.

Cannons, who beat Northern Knights by 30 points during their first meeting earlier in the year, will be without captain Damon Hollow, Isaac Kako, Harry O’Farrell, Jayden Nguyen and Nash King for the clash.

Knights players Jesse Dattoli, captain Zak Johnson, Thomas Sims and Gabriel Stumpf are also part of the Vic Metro squad.

Cannons head coach Sam Willat, himself absent for the match due to his assistant coaching role with the Metro team, said the match would be “an interesting one”.

“It could be a really cool test of our depth; we’ve got some kids from school football returning, so we might use this to have a look at (the players) who we haven’t seen much of this year,” he said.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see the sides that come out. It will be a really good opportunity for a lot of our boys to show us what they can do, maybe in a different position, maybe some guys playing their first game.”

Willatt said he was impressed with the way the Cannons players had competed so far in the national championships.

In the first match against the Allies small forward Kako kicked two goals, while Hollow racked up 21 touches.

“If their best performances are in the nationals, that’s a really good sign, because obviously they’re valued quite heavily for their prospects going into the draft at the end of the year,” he said.

“It’s about the experience they get, to travel, to play with the best guys in the state and the league. The belief they get from being able to show it on the national stage is pretty cool too.”