YOUNG all-rounder Lachlan Strachan and batsman Keiran Brien have been called into the Specsavers Dubbo SCG Cup squad in the lead-up to next week's qualifying finals on the central coast.
Brien and Strachan, a NSW Schoolboy representative, replace veteran Jason Green and all-rounder Dan Medway in the 13-man squad, which will leave Dubbo on Boxing Day to prepare for their quarter-final against Merewether at Wyong on December 27.
Green played a pivotal role in helping Dubbo defeat Parkes back on December 9 but announced his representative retirement straight after the game, with Brien expected to take his place in the side and captain Jordan Moran pushing up the order to open the batting.
Both Moran and fast bowler Tim Cox are confident the squad picked has the ability to worry Merewether.
"We've picked a pretty good squad with a lot of depth in all areas," Cox said.
"With Keiran we have added a batting option and Lachlan has played at a high junior level and dominated with bat and ball at times so he offers some all-round ability.
"One of the advantages we're looking to take into this carnival is the element of surprise.
"We know a lot more about Merewether than they know about us and hopefully the boys can put it together on the day, which is what it will all come down to."
The squad will have a centre wicket training session at No.2 Oval on Saturday as a final hitout before leaving, however Moran will be in Coffs Harbour, where ironically enough he will train with their SCG Cup squad who have drawn top seeds Hamilton-Wickham on day one.
"We're going to Coffs (Harbour) for Christmas so I will miss that final session but I've organised with the Coffs boys to have a hit with them," Moran said.
"The boys had a good hit in the nets on Wednesday night and we've worked on some plans for Merewether.
"The biggest thing for us will be adapting to the bounce at Baker Park. It's generally a flat wicket but with the dead pitches we're playing on in Dubbo at the moment we haven't been exposed to anything with a great deal of bounce.
"But we play cricket to be tested and there will be no bigger test than Merewether on a pitch with some bounce so we're looking forward to it."
o DUBBO SQUAD
Jordan Moran (c, Rugby), Mitch Bower (Rugby), Keiran Brien (Macquarie), Greg Buckley (RSL-Colts), Brad Cox (RSL-Colts), Tim Cox (RSL-Colts), Declan Hoare (Macquarie), Chris Morton (RSL-Colts), Ben Patterson (Newtown), Jason Ryan (RSL-Colts), Ben Strachan (CYMS), Lachlan Strachan (CYMS), Ben Taylor (Rugby)