K rock Football

Darley returns for Shore

North Shore coach Sam Darley. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

NORTH Shore will be boosted by the return of playing coach Sam Darley for Saturday’s crucial clash with Newtown & Chilwell.

Darley was forced to follow the live scores of last week’s three-point loss to Grovedale from a hospital bed after being struck down with gastro and a fever that topped 40 degrees.

‘I sat there on my phone following the scores the whole game, and it doesn’t update second-by-second, so I thought we were home,” he said.

“I called ‘Stolky’ (stand-in coach Jason Stolk) after the game and to be so invested in the club in such a short space of time, I probably didn’t realise until the weekend with how much it hurt.

“But the good thing about footy is we get another chance this week.”

While the Seagulls fell just short of the Tigers, the Eagles were handed an 88-point hiding by Leopold in the Pride Cup clash, leaving both teams with 2-6 win-loss records.

“I think they’ll want to come out and respond as well, so by no means do we go into it thinking it’s a walkover or we should win,” Darley said.

“But, I think our group has realised, especially on the weekend, the way we want to play stands up.

“We’re walking into every game over this next couple of weeks with the headspace that we can win the game if we play the right way.”

Defender Harry Purcell is expected to be OK, despite suffering what was initially thought to be a broken collarbone against Grovedale.

However, off-season acquisition Mitch Vandenberg is unavailable.

Twitter: @tom_king79