Junee skipper Adrian Merrigan is hoping to field a full-strength side in Sunday’s Pascoe Cup showdown with Young Lions.
However, the Jaguars leader remains at the mercy of rival clubs after revealing the second grade side may have to forfeit their game in order to provide troops for the first graders.
Junee’s already undermanned squad will be stretched further this weekend with the Pascoe Cup side scheduled to play in Young just two hours after the Gardiner Shield clash with Henwood Park in Wagga.
“We’re discussing whether we can defer one of those games with the other clubs because so many of our players are backing up at the moment,” Merrigan said.
“We’re hopeful that Henwood Park might be happy to, otherwise we might end up having to forfeit one of the games.”
Merrigan suggested the Gardiner Shield clash would be the likelier sacrifice should it come to a forfeiture, but insisted his squad was ready to play.
“I think that, over the last few weeks, we’ve become a much stronger outfit and our performances have shown that,” Merrigan said.
“We played really well against Lake Albert and it was 2-1 right up until the last ten minutes and I honestly thought we could’ve pushed for a draw in that game.
“It was just a couple of lapses that hurt us at the end.”
Sunday’s upcoming game against the fifth-placed Lions looms a banana skin game for Mark Mellish’s Young outfit and the veteran coach is wary of a Junee fightback.
“Last time around was less comfortable than the 5-2 scoreline suggested and they’re a handy side,” Mellish said.
“We were 2-all and they missed a penalty, so they could’ve easily had a lead and then it’s a very different story.
“I think it’s clear the club is struggling a little, but at the end of the day they’ve still got a good core nucleus of players.”
Mellish admitted his side had plenty to work on at training but reinforced his belief in the Lions as genuine title contenders.
“We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be at this point and it would be quite a disservice to the players if we didn’t make it through to finals,” he said.
“We’ve probably been a bit complacent these past few weeks … but we’ve got a tough run home and I’d much prefer facing those teams having won this weekend.”
Meanwhile, the table-topping Leonard Cup Jaguars have the week off as well as their Madden Trophy counterparts, who also sit atop their competition ladder.
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