Injuries put Bloods under pressure

TERANG Mortlake is counting the injury cost of its loss to Warrnambool as it prepares to take on a confidence-filled Hamilton Kangaroos this weekend.

Damian O'Connor, out with a groin complaint.

Damian O'Connor, out with a groin complaint.

The Bloods will be without key forward-cum-ruckman Stephen Staunton, tough onballer Damian O’Connor and defender Michael Sargeant for the round five fixture and will put promising midfielder Sam McLean through a fitness test.

Terang Mortlake coach Matt Irving said the Bloods — precariously placed with a 1-3 win-loss record — were disappointed to lose the experienced trio.

Staunton is carrying a shoulder injury and O’Connor a groin complaint, while Sargeant injured his hamstring in the final term against the Blues. 

McLean was concussed and sat the second half of the match on the bench as Warrnambool ran away with a 34-point win.

“Steve will miss a month at this stage,” Irving said.

“He injured it against Port Fairy last week in a collision and landed on it 10 minutes into the game (on Saturday).   He was tackled and pulled it the wrong way.

“Steve played all game and shouldn’t have but we had no numbers but he’ll have a spell now.”

Irving said he was unsure how long O’Connor and Sargeant would miss.

“(With Sargeant) it’s a hamstring. How bad? We’re not sure yet,” he said.

“We have two games and then the bye so it might be a three-week period.

“It’s been ongoing (with Damian). We’re hoping it’s a minor hiccup and it might be a week, maybe two.”

Staunton and O’Connor were named in the Hampden league’s initial squad for its interleague showdown with Ovens and Murray on May 24.

Irving said the pair would be hard-pressed to return and represent the Bottle Greens.

“I spoke to Steve and Damian after the game and they are both going to really struggle (to get up for interleague), which is disappointing for them,” he said.

North Ballarat Roosters have a bye in the VFL this weekend, giving Terang Mortlake the opportunity to play Nick Couch and Chris Baxter against Hamilton Kangaroos.

“My initial thoughts are we’ll get Chris but not Nick because he needs a spell,” Irving said.

Irving watched Baxter make a commendable VFL debut on Sunday  for North Ballarat Roosters against Footscray.

The Roosters recorded their first win of the season, beating the Bulldogs in a nail-biter.

“Chris didn’t look out of place but you could tell the pace got to him a bit and Chris is not slow by any stretch,” Irving said.

Irving said Terang Mortlake performed admirably against Warrnambool as its injury list mounted.

“The first quarter we were really competitive and used the ball well,” he said.

“We kicked 2.5 and had it been 5.2 it might have been a different story.

“As the day went on Warrnambool showed it is a class side for a reason.

“To come away with four injuries and to get beaten by just under 40 points is disappointing but there is still room to get positives out of it.”

The Bloods will host the Kangaroos at Mortlake on Saturday.

Hamilton Kangaroos, who could be without injured pair Jarrod Holt and Jason McIntosh, are coming off a 10-point win against Port Fairy. 

“It’s a massive ground,” Irving said.

“Some of our boys who will come in will have to be ready for a tough day at the office because Hamilton move the footy well and are quick.”

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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