South Warrnambool coach optimistic hurt star will return in the Nick of time

SOUTH Warrnambool is hoping star midfielder Nick Thompson will bolster its line-up for tomorrow’s Anzac Day clash with Koroit at Victoria Park.

Thompson, a walk-up interleague player, has been sidelined with a lower leg complaint for the first two rounds of the season, but coach Matt Monk is cautiously optimistic his match-winner will be cleared to play at training tonight.

“We are hopeful he will play this week,” Monk said.

“He had a niggle and it’s only early stages in the season so we didn’t want to rush him.”

Thompson’s delayed start to the campaign has hurt the winless Roosters, who need all their experienced and skilful players on the park for tomorrow’s clash.

Thompson, a member of last year’s triumphant Hampden interleague team, is a premier onballer and would give the Roosters added drive.

The Roosters have to find a replacement in the ruck for Knox Ratu after he was suspended last week for two matches on a striking charge from the match against Cobden.

Monk said the Roosters were encouraging senior players to embrace Anzac Day by attending the dawn service in Warrnambool.

He said he would be borrowing some of the Anzac themes in the lead-up,  including mateship.

Monk said the Roosters’ senior list would have a light run tonight alongside the club’s under 14s and under 16s.

“We are going to buddy our under 14 and under 16s up with senior players to help them this year and we will talk a bit about mateship and camaraderie,” Monk said.

Opponent Koroit is expecting to take a settled line-up into the match. Coach Adam Dowie said the Saints weren’t panicking after their loss to Hamilton Kangaroos.

He said no club could underestimate the Kangaroos’ improvement, saying they would be hard to beat, especially at their home base of Melville Oval.

“It’s only a matter of time with Hamilton I think,” Dowie said. 

While his team enjoyed last weekend’s bye, ruckman Jeremy Hausler played with SANFL club West Adelaide on Thursday night.

Dowie said the Saints would touch on the importance of Anzac Day at a team meeting tonight but tomorrow players would focus on the game.

Versatile Tim Martin is expected to begin his season in the reserves tomorrow after waterskiing commitments delayed his campaign after a long break from the sport.

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