Terang Mortlake stars return for Koroit encounter

TERANG Mortlake last night regained two established stars from long-term injuries for tomorrow’s crunch game against second-placed Koroit.

Port Fairy coach Sam Rudolph addresses game strategy last night before training.

Port Fairy coach Sam Rudolph addresses game strategy last night before training.

Match-winning key forward Stephen Staunton and midfielder Tom McKenzie headlined four changes for the Bloods ahead of their round eight match at Koroit’s Victoria Park.

A shoulder injury forced Staunton to miss the past three games as well as the interleague match while McKenzie is resuming after a cheek bone injury sustained in round three.

Joe Conheady and Mitch Couch for his first senior game this year were also included after Sam McLean couldn’t be considered because of a corked thigh.

Fourth-placed Terang Mortlake face a buoyant Koroit, which is coming off a 62-point win over Cobden. Its confidence was reflected at selection with no changes to last week’s side.

Third-placed North Warrnambool Eagles’ injury woes deepened with experienced utility Tim Sheldon’s season over after it was confirmed he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in last week’s five-point loss to Port Fairy.

Coach Bernard Moloney said the diagnosis was terrible news for the popular Sheldon, who broke an ankle in the pre-season, and was working into good form in his second game back last week.

Defender Adam Wines couldn’t overcome a corked hip while teenager Hamish Withers was omitted. The Eagles promoted Wines’ younger brother Luke from the under 18½s, half-back Jeremy Bidmade and midfielder Dylan Cross from the reserves.

They face an injury-hit Hamilton Kangaroos, who made five changes for the trip to Bushfield.

The Kangaroos will be without coach Jarrod Holt, who tweaked his hamstring for the third time this season, star midfielder Hamish Waldron, who tore a hamstring and another quality midfielder Andrew Pepper, who broke his scaphoid bone, which is likely to end his season. 

There was some good news for the Kangaroos — talented teenager Eric Guthrie will make his senior debut after some strong performances with the North Ballarat Rebels while last year’s assistant coach Gareth Crawford is in for his first game of the season after travelling overseas. 

They also added some goalkicking power with Allan Martin, who kicked eight goals in the reserves last week after an injury-interrupted start to the season, while exciting defender Roger Morris is back from a thumb injury.

Camperdown was bolstered with the return of key defender Nick Bateman (facial burns) and ruckman Marcus Powling (calf) for its showdown with South Warrnambool at Leura Oval.

It couldn’t consider Matthew Pemberton because of a groin injury and teenager Jeremy Lucas, who suffered a bicep injury in last week’s win over the Kangaroos.

Opponent South Warrnambool rushed hard nut Liam Howarth into the side at the expense of an unlucky first-gamer Shannon Emmerton.

Unbeaten Warrnambool made no change for its clash with a new-look Port Fairy at Reid Oval.

Port Fairy included Portland forward Jaydon Stiles for his first game with the Seagulls after his clearance was approved late yesterday. He was one of two changes with Geelong VFL forward Jack Hollmer returning to the higher level and Sam McCartney out with a rib complaint.

Portland will finalise its side today for the trip to Cobden after naming five players on the bench. Talented half-back Mitch Bunworth was the one confirmed out with a calf injury. 

Cobden made two changes to the side that was thumped by Koroit last week, regaining runner Sam Uwland and young defender Christian Koroneos at the expense of Bronte McCann and Dom Dare.

grbest@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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