Temora have been dealt a significant blow on the eve of finals with forward Mark Breust forced to give the game away due to a bulging disc in his back.
Breust kicked four goals in his last game against The Rock-Yerong Creek two weeks ago but felt his back “grabbing” a couple of days later, and believes he may have exacerbated an injury originally suffered against Charles Sturt University early in the season.
He missed last week’s game at North Wagga, almost as a precaution, but results of an MRI scan this week confirmed bad news.
“It’s a bulging disc in my lower back, with some ligament damage around the spine,” Breust said.
“Recovery will be fine – it’ll take about eight weeks to a few months – but in terms of football, that’s put a pin in it.”
Breust let his coach know on Wednesday night that he won’t be back for finals, or this weekend’s milestone game for veteran Damien Ponting against Barellan.
“I want them to just continue as normal because I can’t change what happened. I hope they can keep going and try to get a win for Rambo,” he said.
Breust was part of Temora’s 2014 premiership team. He missed the 2012 grand final with a broken leg and then sat out the 2013 season. He also gave football a break in 2015 and 2016 but returned last year and played a big role in their run to another grand final.
With a daughter, Maggie, arriving last month, Breust said the injury brings forward a decision he was likely to make at the end of the year.
It’s rotten luck for the Roos, who were banking on his influence heading into finals.
“It’s massive, it’s a huge loss for us,” Temora coach Jake Wooden said. “Whether you’d play him at centre-half-forward or centre-half-back, he was just a guy who adapts so quickly and gives you so much.”
Temora are also sweating on the fitness of Rob Grant for finals with the backman spraining his wrist just as he was recovering from a hamstring strain, while Tim McAuley appears to have aggravated his shoulder injury playing rugby league last Sunday.
“I was hoping to get him, Mark and Granty all back into our side, but that’s footy,” Wooden said.
“It’s been one of those years for us. We’ve just got to get through Barellan this week, have a win and lock in third spot. Hopefully we can beat Barellan and have that week off (with the bye) and then we’ll see where we’re at.”