MANGOPLAH-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes forward Trent Castles is adamant a calf injury he suffered in last week's win over Wagga Tigers won't keep him sidelined for a big chunk of the season.
The full forward, who kicked 71 goals in 11 games for the Goannas last year, lasted less than two minutes in his first outing of the year before he limped from the field.
The injury is a huge blow before MCUE travels to a red-hot Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong in a battle between two unbeaten teams on Sunday.
"I have a mate who's a physio. He'll give me a program and I'll do everything to get it right," Castles said.
"I can walk now and it actually feels alright. I wouldn't be able to play but it's feeling a lot better than it was, that's for sure.
"I've been told they can feel a lot better, but once you play there's a chance it could go again, so it might be a couple of weeks extra.
"But it won't be eight weeks, that's for sure. Give me three weeks and then I'll start lightly running, then hopefully (I'll play) a couple of weeks after that."
MCUE will have to adjust their forward line further after last year's centre half forward left for the SANFL, while Brayden Ambler is also yet to return from a knee injury.
They also have to try and contain Lions key forward key forward George Alexander, who has kicked consecutive nine-goal bags in their two wins thus far.
The Goannas midfield has shouldered more of the scoring workload. Jonathan Male has booted five goals in two games, while Ryan Turnbull snagged three against the Tigers.
Matt Collins played one-out at times in the forward line against the Tigers, kicking two goals. MCUE had planned for him to play in defence for certain match-ups coming up, but injuries may force him to stay up forward.
Castles is confident they will find enough avenues to goal in his absence, and may result in them being more dangerous when he returns.
"This is the first time I ever got injured in footy. To have the first one at 33, I'll take that," he said.
"Myself not being there might help up find other options, and then when I slot back in hopefully we'll be cherry ripe.
"Rowey (Jeremy Rowe) is such a good coach, he'll have every scenario possible involving every player.
"They'll rely a bit more on the midfield (to kick goals) and I'm sure they'll step up, they're all good footballers.
"They've won two games without me now, so I'm sure they can continue on."
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