HATHERLEIGH V TANTANOOLA
TANTANOOLA has lost yet another key player to injury on the eve of its clash on Saturday against its arch cross-town rivals Hatherleigh.
Experienced Tigers key position player Matt Pilmore will not pull on the red-and-white jumper again in 2019.
Strained shoulder ligaments means he will spend the rest of the season on the sidelines.
Playing his 150th senior game at home at Tigerland against Port MacDonnell on Saturday, Pilmore was tackled fairly in the opening term and fell awkwardly.
His shoulder became dislocated and he was taken to Mount Gambier Hospital for attention.
Pilmore is one of the most experienced of the current crop of Tigers.
After a decorated underage career, Pilmore played his first A Grade game in 2006.
The list of “walking wounded” among the Tigers includes assistant coach Sam Haniford, Chris Hale and Ben Chant.
Like Pilmore, they are all experienced and key position players.
The absence of such team leaders means coach Josh Peters has to play himself in A Grade along with such fellow veterans as Nathan Chapple and Kym Dodd.
Tantanoola has yet to open its account in 2019 and is unlikely to do so against the undefeated Eagles.
Hatherleigh sits comfortably at the head of the premiership table and has just achieved a significant 107-point win at Kalangadoo.
The win was achieved without the services of six outstanding players who were either injured or unavailable.
Players of the calibre of Jack Sullivan, Caolan Buckley, Josh Wight, Joe Rayson, Todd Watson and Joe Rayson were missing and yet the Eagles were still able to whip the Magpies and keep them to a mere four goals on their home ground.
There will be great competition for places in the 21 when these players are ready to resume and this will test first-year coach Gerard McGrath and his fellow selectors.
Meanwhile, Tantanoola players need to keep their spirits up as they do not want to become the first team to lose to Nangwarry in five years.
On current form, that is a possibility as the Saints and the Tigers meet in round eight on June 1.
KALANGADOO V NANGWARRY
THERE are several factors which will add interest to the meeting of near neighbours Kalangadoo and Nangwarry who are only separated by 11km.
Firstly, the Saints will be celebrating the passing of 20 years since they won their fourth and most recent premiership.
It was achieved under coach Leigh Capewell at the Glencoe Oval by a margin of eight points over the Magpies.
In those days, teams only had 20 players each and one of those 40 combatants from 1999 is still playing A Grade.
The evergreen Trevor Fenn turns 51 tomorrow (Friday) and he is the epitome of club spirit.
When there was a late withdrawal from Nangwarry’s senior side in round six at Mount Burr, the man they call “Scooter” happily stepped up to play both A and B Grades.
Secondly, Nangwarry had some hopeful signs last Saturday while Kalangadoo had a forgettable day.
The Saints managed eight goals at the home ground of the Mozzies while the Magpies only scored half this amount at home to Hatherleigh.
It has been quite a while since Kalangadoo had a game where 19 of its players did not register a goal.
Thirdly, the Kalangadoo list includes three former Nangwarry players – ex-coach Brett Lindner, past captain Matt Fatchen and Nathan Reeves.
It will be quite a day at Nangwarry, but the visitors will win.
KONGORONG V GLENCOE
NEW Hawks coach Will Whitty is best known as the unofficial marshal of the Mount Burr backline during a golden era for the Mozzies over the past decade.
While the Mount Burr ruckmen, on-ballers and the forwards received the most acclaim, it was unheralded defenders like Whitty who did much of the heavy lifting.
Whitty has to work out a plan to counter the Glencoe forward lie which has dominated in every match bar one so far in 2019.
There is great potency among Brodie Foster (39 goals), Alex Hentschke (21) and Adam Gregory (14).
The Hawks will not have to worry about two other key Glencoe forwards on Saturday as Tory Weaver is suspended and Patrick Mitchell is injured.
There is plenty of chatter around the league at the moment suggesting Glencoe is a near-certainty for a grand final berth.
That talk will evaporate if it cannot win well at Kongorong.