Ploenges faces tough doubleheader as Henwood Park prepares for Leeton

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Jake Ploenges is gearing up for matches with the Wagga City Wanderers and Henwood Park, playing with both sides within the span of four hours on Saturday. Picture: Laura Hardwick
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Jake Ploenges is gearing up for matches with the Wagga City Wanderers and Henwood Park, playing with both sides within the span of four hours on Saturday. Picture: Laura Hardwick

When Jake Ploenges lines up for Henwood Park against Leeton on Saturday night, it will be his second game within the space of four hours.

The star striker will play for the Wagga City Wanderers at 3pm, before backing up for the Hawks at Rawlings Park just two hours after the final whistle blows at Gissing Oval.

Ploenges, who made himself available for Wanderers selection mid-season, said he wasn’t daunted by the prospect of playing 180 minutes of soccer in one day.

“It should be fine, but we’ll just have to see how we go,” he said.

“It’s a little bit hard to gauge because I’ve never been in this position before.”

Ploenges’ Hawks came close to spoiling their unbeaten record last month, finding themselves on the ropes late in games against Cootamundra and Tumut, before ultimately salvaging draws.

But the Wagga-based side has since returned to its form of old, thrashing South Wagga 4-0 and Junee 5-1 in its last two outings.

Ploenges, who scored a hat-trick against Jaguars, said his team’s two near-losses had provided his side with the wake-up call it needed.

“We needed to change our mindset and we’ve now done that,” he said.

“We went into those games thinking they’d be pretty winnable ones, but both teams came out and surprised us.

“We can’t go out there thinking we’ve got it in the bag just because we’re undefeated.”

Henwood Park downed Leeton 3-1 on the road when they last met in round four, but will be without striker Sam Thompson this week.

Meanwhile, ladder-leaders Lake Albert will be hot favourites against Wagga United, playing adjacent to Henwood Park and Leeton at Rawlings Park on Saturday night.

Despite grinding out a shock draw with winless Junee late last month, Lake Albert has not lost since its round three clash with Leeton, while Wagga United has won just two if its past five clashes and sits in seventh spot on the ladder.

Tumut will host South Wagga at Bull Paddock on Sunday, while Tolland will travel to Gus Smith Oval for a clash with Young and Cootamundra will meet winless Junee at O'Connor Park.