North Wagga’s top-of-the-table clash with Marrar has been the last thing on players’ minds this week, after the Saints were rocked by news ruckman Josh Hanlon is battling sickness
Hanlon was admitted to hospital with pneumonia early in the week but has since faced a number of serious complications, which affected his vital organs and caused major concerns for his health.
His condition on Thursday was stable.
But the sudden nature of Hanlon’s situation – just days after he was again among his team’s top performers in the 160-point win over The Rock-Yerong Creek – sent shockwaves through the club in what would otherwise have been their biggest week of the season so far.
“Josh’s health and welfare has been our priority,” North Wagga president Mick Barnes said on Thursday.
“He’s stable, but it’s a waiting game.”
Football club leaders have been by Hanlon’s side at hospital and Barnes said the club will be doing all it can for Josh and his family.
Playing a game of football isn’t the Saints’ number one concern. Thursday night training was cancelled in favour of a catch-up and a meal as the club also prioritises the welfare of players.
“The footy club is like a family and when someone is affected by something like this, everyone is affected,” Barnes said.
“We won't be picking a side tonight (Thursday). We’re just having a get-together. It’s about player welfare before anything and we’ll give them until 5 o'clock Friday to see if they’re in the right frame of mind to play footy.”
North Wagga’s match-up with Marrar has been highly anticipated, with the league’s two form teams having to wait until round nine before going head-to-head.
Hanlon has been in superb form in his first season with the Saints and is in the top six in the Farrer League’s player-of-the-year award, which is voted on weekly by coaches.