Smart sidelined again by hamstring complaint

SITTING OUT: Gundagai will be without captain-coach James Smart for the third time in the past four weeks due to a hamstring complaint.
SITTING OUT: Gundagai will be without captain-coach James Smart for the third time in the past four weeks due to a hamstring complaint.

Gundagai will be without captain-coach James Smart for the third time in the last month to tackle Junee on Saturday.

Smart missed two games before returning to tackle Brothers last week only for his hamstring injury flared up again.

However the 28-year-old still isn’t happy with the problem and will be sidelined for at least another week.

“It didn’t go as planned on Sunday,” Smart said.

“It felt good during the week, during training I did everything I needed to do and it felt good during the warm-up, but early on in the first half I went to push up with one of the boys and it started to really tighten up.

“In the second half I was just trying to hang in there and hope it wasn’t going to do any further damage.

“Luckily I got through the game and I wouldn’t say I’ve torn it or anything I just think there are some issues there that are probably coming from my back.

“It’s just really tight at the moment so I will miss this week and hopefully be right to go for Tumut the following week.”

It is far from ideal as Gundagai look to get things back on track.

The Tigers come into the clash with the third placed Diesels with just two wins and three losses so far and have lost to top four teams Southcity, Cootamundra and Brothers to start the season.

After missing out on the finals last season, Junee have won four of their five games this time around.

While Smart doesn’t want to focus on the ladder, he knows his team need to come with the right attitude to Laurie Daley Oval.

“They are hungry and are similar to a few sides in the competition who have been out of the finals for a little while – they want to win games and that is something we are quickly figuring out,” he said.

“No matter who you play against this year if you turn up in the right frame of mind you are probably going to win the game.

“That is something we have addressed as a group.

“We are still working hard at training and still enjoying what we are doing so I’m confident things will turn around.”

Gundagai will also be without front rower Joel Field for the next month.

Field also missed the loss to the Brethren and scans has revealed he’s broken his scaphoid (hand).

In some welcome news Brett Eccleston has been named to make his return.

He missed last week’s loss due to a head knock but the Tigers are still waiting on final clearance before he takes his place.

With Eccleston in at lock and Smart out, Luke Berkrey will move back to five-eighth.

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