NORTH Warrnambool Eagles will take a depleted midfield into Saturday’s showdown with unbeaten Cobden after star Andy McMeel yesterday accepted a one-match ban.
McMeel took the one-match set penalty after being reported by central umpire Chris Egan for engaging in rough conduct in the third quarter of Saturday’s 70-point loss to Warrnambool at Reid Oval. McMeel was booked after an incident with Blues teenager Jye Turland.
The Eagles, which went into the game unbeaten, might pay a heavy price on top of the percentage dent they suffered, with another leading ball-winner Dean Gavin in doubt for Saturday’s home match against Cobden.
Gavin suffered an ankle injury in the second term that sidelined him for the second half.
After receiving a handball, he crashed to the turf within a couple of strides, clutching his ankle. He tried jogging on the boundary line in a bid to return but spent the second half on the bench with a large ice pack strapped to his ankle.
Coach Bernard Moloney said he would know more about Gavin’s injury at training tonight but conceded his prime-mover was in doubt.
Moloney said defender/midfielder Xavier Mills was also in doubt with a calf injury. He played on with the injury on Saturday.
If Gavin is unable to shake his injury, the Eagles could be forced to take on Cobden without two of their top three midfielders.
Warrnambool didn’t escape the fiery encounter unscathed. Impressive teenager John Paulin accepted a one-match set penalty after being booked by Egan for striking Eagles defender Xavier Mills in the second quarter.
Cobden will need to make one forced change, with teenager Christian Koroneos also suspended. He accepted a one-match set penalty after umpire Craig Kerr reported him for striking Camperdown defender Eddie Lucas in the final quarter of the Anzac Day night match at Cobden.