K rock Football

Garner return delayed

Jarryd Garner in action for St Mary’s in the Round 1 win over St Albans. (Russell McMahon Image)

STAR St Mary’s midfielder Jarryd Garner was set to make an earlier than expected return from a severe hamstring injury in Sunday’s blockbuster clash with St Joseph’s.

However, Garner who has been sidelined since dominating the opening round win over St Albans on April 2, has been struck down with COVID-19.

Speaking before the diagnosis, co-coach Travis Robertson revealed the former Colac gun was in line to take on Joeys.

“He’s a little bit ahead of schedule,” Robertson said. “He’s got a couple more boxes to tick,

“But, I’d be confident at this point of time he should play.”

Captain Jack Blood and ruck Nick Nott will return for the unbeaten Saints after being managed out of the win over Lara.

“We rested Jack and Nick just to look after them,” Robertson said.

“These guys have got a block of 11 games of footy in a row, and guys haven’t played 11 games of footy in two years.

“So, it’s important we look after the playing list.”

With Geelong and Werribee both in VFL action this week following a bye, Robertson expects that to impact selection.

Ruck Sam Conway may not play anywhere because of a rolled ankle, but Joe Maishman and Matt Keast played alongside Conway at the Tigers the week before last, while Charlie Sprague may be required at the Cats.

Robertson would especially like to see Keast get another chance at the next level.

“Hopefully for Matthew, his VFL start doesn’t stop at one game,” Robertson said.

“We’ll wait and see what happens during the week with those guys.”

St Mary’s faces a St Joseph’s team riding a five-game winning streak, with Robertson impressed with the vision he’s seen from Joeys’ 100-point mauling of Geelong West.

“Their form of late looks pretty good,” he said. “Joeys’ midfield was pretty impressive (against West).

“James Gow looks to be playing good footy; Brant Haintz is in good touch.

“And some of their stalls up forward look to be developing pretty quickly.

“I think they’ve taken 25 inside 50 marks, so that’s a good day for any footy club.”

Twitter: @tom_king79