East Wagga-Kooringal will be without backman Brenton Roberts for at least a couple of weeks but have been heartened by news his ankle injury isn’t too serious.
Roberts was carried off during last week’s loss to Marrar – his record-breaking 244th first grade game for EWK – and the Hawks feared he might have been facing a similar prognosis as their injured skipper Ben Absolum, who is out for the season.
However, scans have allayed fears of a fracture.
“There’s no break as such, so it’s mainly ligament damage we think… he’s obviously given it a fair old wrench so it might take a couple of weeks to settle down,” Hawks caretaker coach, Damien Scott, said.
“So he’ll miss this week (against North Wagga) and see how he goes next week. But he’s feeling pretty confident about it.”
Roberts has played 249 games for the Hawks and game 250 is on hold as the Hawks eye a trip to Temora next week followed by a home game against Coleambally, before a bye.
Fellow defender Joe Banks is also sidelined for at least a few weeks. He was a late withdrawal last week after injuring a finger at work, and has undergone surgery to repair a damaged tendon.
“I haven’t talked to him in-depth about it as yet ,” Scott said. “It’s still early days. He’d have to go back and see his surgeon and obviously be all clear to work and play football.”
Those injuries make the return of backmen Nick Curran and Tom Pocock particularly important for Saturday’s game at North Wagga, not to mention big man Nick Hull, after all missed with short-term injuries last week.
The Hawks are the only team to beat the Saints this year, holding on for a two-point win at Gumly Oval.
“It was a pretty good standard football game, that game,” Scott said. “In fact, it was a very good standard. We were probably fortunate to get away with the win that day because they were coming pretty hard at the end.”
After just two losses in the first half of the year, EWK are coming off back-to-back defeats to the Jets and then the Bombers.
“This week, we’ve had a focus on getting back to that style of footy (that brought the win against North Wagga) and moving it quick. I think the proof will be in the pudding, if the boys respond to that, but certainly the training’s been quite good,” Scott said.
Hull has been named at full-forward, with Kyle North-Flanagan to start in the ruck after a strong game in a beaten side at Marrar last week.
“Kyle had an outstanding game last weekend in the middle in Hully’s absence so while his confidence is high there, and Nick gives us that focal point (up forward), we’ll certainly start that way,” Scott said.