DIGGERS have been dealt a severe blow on the eve of the first-grade finals after strike bowler Glen Faganello was ruled out of this weekend's sudden-death semi with Hanwood.
The paceman is unavailable on Saturday and Sunday as his teammates gear up for a crunch two-dayer at West End Oval against a Hanwood outfit coming off a confidence-boosting innings victory over Leagues.
Faganello has been in sensational form this season and is tied with Coro's Paul Plummer at the top of the local bowling leaderboard with 28 wickets at an average of just over 10 runs per wicket.
Skipper Nathan Smith admitted Faganello's absence will be felt.
"We're missing Glen and that's going to hurt because he's been one of our best for the year," he said.
"We'll be short a bowler but we've still got the guys there that can do the job.
"There's Craig Lugton and Jarrod Cahill, we've still got Mark Brown and Tom Webb's bowling some really good spin too.
"We've got a few part-timers as well like Jason Hampel, who always comes on and gets some wickets for us."
Smith said there was reason to be wary of fourth-placed Hanwood, who have hit form at the right time.
"They've been scoring runs and playing well. We've beaten them pretty easy a couple of times this season but we're definitely going to have to watch out for them," he said.
"The last couple of times we've won the competition we've done it from fourth. That's nothing new."
Hanwood captain Dean Catanzariti said his men are in terrific shape on the back of a vastly improved second half of the season.
"The win over Leagues has given us a bit of a lift. Everyone's pretty confident at the moment," he said.
"We've come good. It's always been there in us but it just hasn't clicked until now.
"Hopefully we can clean Diggers up but it's finals, it's a different game altogether. Anyone's a chance."