K rock Football

Hultgren set for return

St Joseph’s co-captain Rhys Hultgren will make his return from a serious knee injury on Saturday. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

ALMOST 12 months to the day since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, St Joseph’s co-captain Rhys Hultgren will make his return to playing.

Hultgren, who underwent a full knee reconstruction after suffering the injury against Bell Park on May 26 last year, is set to make line-up in the Joeys’ reserves clash with Grovedale on Saturday.

Coach Paul Carson says there won’t be a restriction on the two-time premiership forward’s game time.

“I think the only cap will be his fitness level. We’ll try and get as much game time as we can into him,” Carson said.

“But, we’ll be guided by how he’s feeling; we don’t want him to fatigue too heavily.

“I’d imagine he’d play a half to three quarters.”

Hultgren, who has played 126 senior games, will spend at least fortnight in the reserves before potentially making his senior return against Lara on June 8.

Carson says he brings a different dynamic to the St Joseph’s team.

“He’s 6’2″, 6’3″ (188-191cms), but he’s a really good hit-up player, and he’s that connection between halfback or midfield to our forward line, and at times we really do miss him,” Carson said.

“And also his leadership. We’ve got a quiet, introverted sort of group.

“Rhys brings a bit more presence and he’s a bit more vocal than most, so there’s certainly a void without him out there.

In more good news for St Joseph’s, Reid Adams will play his first game since a hamstring issue ended his 2018 season ahead of the first semi-final win over South Barwon.

However, unlike Hultgren, Joeys will be conservative with Adams’ return.

“He looked to be flying pre-season, but then in late January, he pulled up really rough again,” Carson said.

“But he’s been all over his rehab and hasn’t missed a session; he’s been really diligent with that.

“We will manage his game time over the next two or three weeks and looking at a plan to get back playing senior footy sooner rather than later.”

Twitter: @tom_king79