WAGGA Tigers' finals hopes have suffered a big blow after the club agreed to grant ruckman Tom Osmotherly a release this week.
Albury-based ruckman Osmotherly is yet to play for the winless Tigers this year, and the Riverina League club has granted him a clearance to join Thurgoona.
"Wagga Tigers has agreed for Tom Osmotherly to be cleared to the Thurgoona Football Club," the Tigers said.
"Senior coach Murray Stephenson and (club official) Chris Flanigan have tried for the past three months to sway Tom to stay with Tigers.
"Unfortunately Tom has made the call due to new work commitments, as well as starting a law degree via correspondence, that he can no longer commit to the travel to play with us.
"While we are extremely disappointed in losing Tom, he is a premiership player with us and will always be welcome back at our club."
Osmotherly's departure is the last thing the Tigers needed given their lack of experience in key positions.
Regarded as one of the better ruckmen in the league, Osmotherly would have given the Tigers an advantage in a position where many clubs are lacking in depth this season.
The Tigers handed youngster Henry Cook a senior debut in their last match against Coolamon, and he will play again in Saturday's trip to Narrandera.
Stephenson is confident Cook will do a solid job this season.
"We've decided to elevate Henry Cook. He played his first match last game and he did a good job," Stephenson said.
"We're pretty happy to see him playing senior footy and he's definitely up to it.
"He's right to play ones and in the first game he showed it. He dominated around the ruck and did some nice things around the ground."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.