GANMAIN-Grong Grong-Matong coach Sam Martyn is racing the clock to be fit for the start of finals after scans revealed a quad injury is worse than hoped.
Martyn left the field during the final quarter of last week's win over Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, which saw the Lions leapfrog the Goannas to the top of the ladder on percentage.
But with four rounds left until finals, Martyn will miss four to six weeks in another blow set to further test the Lions' depth before Saturday's big road clash with a resurgent Wagga Tigers.
Martyn admitted he may have returned too early from the first time he tweaked the quad in round four against Leeton-Whitton, when he missed just one match.
"It's partially torn, but more of a bad strain. I went to the physio and couldn't even get into a stretching position because it was so painful," Martyn said.
"It's definitely worse than the last time I did it, and I probably rushed the last one to be honest. I probably came back sooner than I should and it hasn't been 100 per cent, but no footballer ever is.
"The aim is to come back for finals. From a selfish point of view if we can finish top (and get the first week of finals off) it would be excellent, but five weeks is still the aim."
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GGGM already have key forwards Riley Corbett (quad) and George Alexander (ankle) sidelined. Alexander is out for the year, while it is hoped Corbett will return before finals.
"It's a team sport, we'll embrace that victory on the weekend and talk about it doesn't matter who comes in or out, it's really the brand of footy and everyone buying in that matters," Martyn said.
"The next soldier up mentality will be crucial."
In better news, Michael Rothnie is available for the Lions for the Tigers clash after Orange's lockdown ruled him out of the Goannas match.
The Melbourne-based Kirk Mahon is in limbo, but the club still holds out hope he will play again at some stage.
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