Coach Jake Wooden is every chance of joining midfielder Tim McAuley on Temora’s list of outs for Saturday’s preliminary final against North Wagga after injuring an ankle at training this week.
In another setback for the Roos, Wooden doesn’t hold a lot of hope about his chances of passing a fitness test on the morning of the match.
“The ankle’s black and got a couple of golf balls on it. I’ll go for a run in the morning and put myself to the test but if I don’t come through, Lachy Leary will come up and take my spot,” Wooden said.
The Kangaroos ruled McAuley out at Thursday night training.
“He’s a good player and don’t get me wrong, we’d love to have him out there,” Wooden said. “But we’ve played all year with him not being there and we’ll do the same again on Saturday. His shoulder’s not right and he didn't want to be out there at 50 percent and get a hip-and-shoulder in the first few minutes and be done.”
The Kangaroos face a tough task, turning around a 10-goal loss to the Saints two weeks ago.
“Our attitude and preparation I thought was good last time we played them but we went away from our structures after half-time and let them get that outside run and easy ball,” Wooden said. “We need to stop that run and get on the inside of them.”
Wooden says last week’s win against East Wagga-Kooringal was a sign that they can dig in.
“We’re confident our best footy is good enough but we need to bring that pressure and intensity for four quarters,” he said. “We did it last week. It wasn’t pretty and I know (the challenge) goes up against North Wagga but I think we’re ready.
“Especially after that first final, the boys will want to hit back. It hurt.”
The Kangaroos are aware they need to improve dramatically around the stoppages if they’re to prevent North Wagga getting away.
And Wooden says they owe it to their potent forwards to get some quick, clean ball into their forward 50.
“That’s probably the area we’re most focussed on, is getting first use,” he said. “We do have a dangerous forward line once we get that ball and if we can hit those targets coming out, it will put a lot of pressure on them.”
Jack Irvine and Charlie Vallance kicked five goals between them in the first quarter of the qualifying final while Matt Wallis kicked eight of his team’s 12 goals in Temora’s loss to North Wagga at McPherson Oval early last month.
A hamstring injury saw Irvine go for a shower at half-time against the Saints two weeks ago and limited his involvement against the Hawks last week but Wooden is confident it’s improved since.