WARRNAMBOOL will be without two stars in Saturday’s Hampden football league pre-season cup competition as injuries threaten to sideline them from next month’s season launch.
Maskell Medal-winning midfielder Tim Hunt and the league’s leading goalkicker Jason Rowan won’t be risked by the Blues on Saturday.
Coach Scott Carter revealed Rowan was battling an Achilles injury, while Hunt’s immediate playing future would be determined by a visit to the surgeon on Friday.
Rowan had to endure a painful procedure to have fluid removed from around his Achilles last week, derailing his pre-season after kicking more than 100 goals in the Blues’ premiership season last year.
He is rated a good chance to play in round one, but given his standing in the competition as the leading goalkicker for the past six seasons, the Blues will be monitoring him carefully, mindful of the long season ahead.
Carter said Hunt, who suffered a shoulder injury late in the Blues’ 2012 campaign, had surgery in the weeks after the premiership last year but has to have a plate removed before he can resume playing.
“We’ll be guided by what the surgeon says,” Carter said.
“We will be erring on the side of caution because he’s a class act.”
Carter said he had his own battles with Hunt in the off-season, trying to keep him off the training track.
But the skilful Hunt had completed most sessions and was in good shape, Carter said.
“He was back in four to five weeks and he’s been going well.”
Carter said Hunt was far too valuable to be rushed.
He said the Blues would also take a conservative approach with midfielder Nick Chirnside, who is returning from a knee reconstruction.
Chirnside, who suffered the injury in round five and missed the rest of the 2012 season, would be held back until well into the season.
“It’s 12 months in round five and I really think they need the 12 months and a bit more before they come back,” Carter said.
“They are not professional footballers who do rehab for hours every day.
“He’s only young so you don’t want him to rush back.”
Chirnside has also been training impressively, he said, but he would be steered away from contested work in the short term.