DEFENDING premier South Warrnambool’s injury curse has returned at the wrong time as it prepares for tomorrow’s round 17 crunch game against Cobden.
The Roosters’ plans of regaining dynamic midfielder Zac Struth from VFL club North Ballarat for the clash against the sixth-placed Bombers were scuppered by a potentially season-ending medial ligament injury.
That news comes on top of revelations co-captain Joe Dalton will have to again undergo surgery with complications for his recovery from a broken collarbone.
Midfielder Adam Wolff is out with sickness and key forward Jason Bourke, who returned for his first senior game of the season last week, is unavailable.
There was some good news for the fifth-placed Roosters, who regained premiership co-captain Danny Finn from concussion, key forward Sam Kelly (hamstring) and midfielder Sam Thomas (oestitis pubis/hip).
Coach Matthew Peake couldn’t believe his side’s luck, having been decimated in the middle part of the season with injuries to key players like Dalton, co-captain Jarrod Thompson and teenager Jordan Brown.
Opponent Cobden had no such issues, regaining Tom Watson from the North Ballarat Roosters and Leigh Rosolin from a calf issue. Lachie Green and Chris Mahony were omitted.
Competition form-side North Warrnambool Eagles bolstered its attacking options with the return of Marcus Darmody from the VFL for tomorrow’s third-place showdown with Koroit at Victoria Park.
The Eagles couldn’t consider gun midfielder Andy McMeel, who is unavailable.
Fourth-placed Koroit regained teenager Haydn Drew from TAC Cup side North Ballarat Rebels, with Brady Purcell making way.
Top side Warrnambool made no change for the second consecutive week as it looks to claim the minor premiership with a victory over seventh-placed Terang Mortlake at Reid Oval.
The Bloods made three changes, regaining versatile teenager Alex Moloney from TAC Cup duties with the Geelong Falcons and promoting Matt Arundell and Michael Payne. The Bloods couldn’t consider midfielder Sam Holloway (knee), wingman Justin Wallace (finger) and defender Jordan Payne (quad).
Second-placed Camperdown’s return to form last week came at a heavy price, with the Magpies forced to make three changes for tomorrow’s home game against bottom side Port Fairy.
The Magpies’ star forward Sam Gordon suffered an ankle injury in the final five minutes of the game that was worse than first thought, while Jacob Mahony (Achilles) and veteran James Gellie (unavailable) are also out.
Camperdown regained runner Mitch Danahay from a heel complaint, David Young (shoulder) and Lewis Iversen.
Port Fairy made three changes, regaining assistant coach Mick Sheehan, the consistent Zac Crozier and Lachie Campbell.