WAGGA Tigers ruckman Tom Osmotherly is racing the clock to take his place in Saturday's ANZAC showdown with Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes.
Albury-based Osmotherly missed the Tigers' season-opening loss to Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong through university commitments, but faces an uphill battle to return against the Goannas after contracting COVID.
The big man's potential absence would rob the Tigers of a potential huge advantage at the stoppages given the hosts are one of a handful of Riverina League clubs without an experienced ruckman.
"If I have symptoms I'll have to keep isolating. I've still got a few days left," he said.
"Everyone is different when it comes to it (COVID). It knocks around your respiratory system, we'll see how we go. Even just doing stuff around the house you catch yourself being a bit breathless.
"I have seen that most clubs haven't really got an experienced ruckman this year. It might be a nice change, it's been pretty tough up there (in the league).
"I'll have to play it by ear and see how I'm feeling."
Osmotherly was restricted to just eight games last year after experiencing difficulty with his troublesome shoulders, both of which have been operated on.
"There always seems to be something, it's never a smooth run," he said.
"They're not too bad, I've been training in town (with Thurgoona)and getting through it.
"I haven't played any practice matches or anything like that, but they (shoulders) will be what they'll be. That's kind of how it is now.
"I've got both of them done, I'm a bit over them, to be honest. A bit of luck would be nice.
"They're obviously cooked because of the position I play. To get a chop out every now and then would be nice, but it doesn't really happen when you're a foot taller than everyone else."
The Tigers trailed by 63 points at halftime against the Lions in round one, but were competitive after half-time in a 67-point loss to last year's minor premiers.
It doesn't get any easier against the Goannas, who are expected to welcome back a handful of key players for Saturday's clash.
"We've lost a couple (of players) but Jesse (Manton) is obviously good, I played with him in 2019 (when Tigers won the premiership), he said.
"There's heaps of decent young kids coming up, so we should be able to fill some holes with that.
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