K rock Football

Lockdown blessing for Tigers

Harrison Whyte is among talented youngsters who have helped Grovedale to an impressive start to the season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GROVEDALE could make anywhere between 5-8 changes to the team that lost to Bell Park by 160 points on July 10 when the GFL season resumes.

The Tigers were without star ruck Ryan Abbott (back), co-captain Cam Delaney (foot), brother Tim (quad), midfielder Lachie Smith (concussion) and young gun Harrison Whyte for the mauling by the Dragons.

The loss has them sitting outside the top five for the first time this season after their percentage copped a 30 per cent hammering.

However, coach Daniel Fraser expects that quintet, and 2021 recruits Brayden Mitchell (hand) and Jakob Lovegrove (ankle), to be right for Grovedale’s next match, which will be July 31 at the earliest, based on the current COVID lockdown situation in Victoria.

“From an injury point-of-view, it (lockdown) has been a little bit of a blessing in disguise,” Fraser said. “It’ll enable a few guys to get back on the park.

“We’ll certainly be a lot stronger than we were before we finished up before the COVID break.”

GFL: WINDY’S WILDCARD WEEKEND

It’s not all on the positive side for Grovedale when it comes to injuries, with co-captain Nathan Deans to have the first of two surgeries on a serious knee injury on Thursday.

The damage suffered by Deans in the loss to the Dragons was likened to injuries sustained in a car crash.

“It will be a two-part operation,” Fraser said. “Nathan goes in tomorrow for the first part of that operation.

“Then he’ll have an eight-week break, I believe, and he’ll be back in for the second part of that operation.

“Nathan’s quite keen to get it underway.”

Fraser has joined the growing chorus of local coaches calling on AFL Barwon to ensure when the season recommences that every club gets the chance to play the three others they are yet to face in 2021.

That would see Grovedale play third-placed South Barwon, the unbeaten St Mary’s, and Newtown & Chilwell, which sits eighth.

“It just makes sense,” Fraser said.  “I know we haven’t had anything official from the league, but I’d expect it to happen.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to beat the best, and we’re fully aware of what we need to do.

“We’ll be going in with a winning mentality. We’re close to full strength, and we’re looking forward to games against Newtown, South Barwon and St Mary’s.

“If we win them, we deserve to play finals. And if we don’t play well in those three, we probably don’t deserve to play finals.”

Twitter: @tom_king79