Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes skipper Ryan Price has proven his fitness ahead of the Goannas’ elimination final clash with Leeton-Whitton and will the lead his side at Narrandera Sportsground on Sunday.
The talismanic captain suffered a tear of his anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (AITFL) and a partial tear of the intraosseous ligament holding the tibia and fibula together last month, a rare injury that has kept him on the sidelines during a lean patch for last year’s semi finalists.
The Goannas have won just two of their past six outings to slide out of top-three contention and, unlike last year, they won’t have the luxury of a second chance in this year’s finals series.
Price has been carefully managing his unusual injury in the meantime and says he’ll be right to take on the Crows this weekend.
“I should be alright to play, thought it’s taken a bit longer than expected to recover properly,” Price said.
I’m keen to play and really looking forwards to it.MCUE skipper Ryan Price
“I’ve been training for a few weeks now and it’s really just been managing the pain – the impact of kicking the ball and just running has been the worst part – but I’m keen to play and really looking forwards to it.”
Leeton-Whitton have been a bane on the Goannas’ title aspirations two years running, having dished out a 41-point thumping in the 2016 preliminary final before handing them another heavy loss in last year’s qualifying final.
MCUE extracted revenge earlier this season with a 43-point win in round five but the Crows are favourites after taking a seven-point win in their most recent encounter.
It’s no surprise that Price is taking a cautious approach to the contest ahead.
“The Crows won it last year and we can’t underestimate them,” Price said.
Narrandera’s a big field and we’ll probably try to use the full width out there this weekend.MCUE skipper Ryan Price
“We didn’t play well enough against them in last year’s finals and we’ll need to be on our game because they’re a good side.”
The Goannas skipper will nevertheless take confidence in having a full squad refreshed and available after enjoying a bye weekend before the elimination final.
“We’ll be at full strength for the first time in a fair while, so we’re definitely keen to get out there,” Price said.
“Narrandera’s a big field and we’ll probably try to use the full width out there this weekend.”
MCUE and Leeton-Whitton will get underway at 2.15pm on Sunday.
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