SAM Holloway believes Allansford has the midfield depth to break a 27-year premiership drought, despite a broken collarbone prematurely ending his season.
Holloway has his right arm in a sling and is unable to work on the family farm after breaking the collarbone in three places against Old Collegians on Saturday.
The injury, sustained in a collision with Warriors defender Scott Williams, is all but certain to rule him out of the rest of the Warrnambool and District league season.
He will see a surgeon today. The best-possible, but highly unlikely, scenario is he will miss the next month and can make a late bid to play in finals.
But the former Warrnambool and Cobden player, into his second year with the Cats, has confidence his teammates can fill the void left by his injury.
The responsibility of winning the clearances will fall to Nick Johnstone, Leatham Robe and Josh Brown, along with potentially Sam Burchell and Josh Parkinson.
“Robey and Browny have really played some good footy the last half of the year,” Holloway said.
“We’ve got Burchy and there are a few others who can run through the midfield. Jason Wilson will hopefully be back this week. Parky is getting better each week.
“And we’ve picked up Morgan van der Mark too. He played at Nirranda a few years ago. He’s got a bit of pace and uses the ball really well.
“To be a good side you’ve got to have that depth in the midfield. You can’t rely on three players.”
Holloway said he was “bloody shattered” he would miss finals.
The broken collarbone is the latest of a run of setbacks since he joined Allansford last season.
He only played four games in 2013 because of a damaged medial ligament and a torn calf but has managed 13 out of the Cats’ 15 in 2014.
“The footy got kicked over my head. I turned around and went to pick it up and (Williams) was there,” he said of Saturday’s injury.
“It was a 50-50 contest. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could’ve happened 100 times again and I could’ve been fine. It was one of those things.
“I knew straight away I’d broken my collarbone. I felt it snap … went straight to hospital, had X-rays and they said I’d broken it in three places.”
Holloway expected the surgeon would recommend surgery to pin the bones back in place.
“It’s a bit of a mess. I’ll get it pinned or something like that. I’ll say it’ll be six weeks at best. If we made the grand final I might be able to play but I can’t see it.”
Fourth-ranked Allansford takes on Nirranda at home this weekend before away matches against Russells Creek and Deakin University to finish its home-and-away season.
The Cats have 44 points but have an easier run home than flag rivals Merrivale, Dennington and Old Collegians, raising hope they can finish second or third.