THE Yenda Blueheelers are sweating on injuries to star pair Kodie Charles and Shannon Rupapere which soured a successful day at the Paul Kelly Memorial Shield in searing heat at Wade Park yesterday.
As one of only two sides to go through undefeated, the Blueheelers qualified for the finals of the knockout next weekend alongside Darlington Point-Coleambally, Hay and the Bidgee Hurricanes.
But they could be without Charles (calf) and Rupapere (knee), who both went down in Yenda’s 28-12 win over Leeton in the first match of the morning and played no further part in the tournament.
Rupapere will undergo scans on his knee this week with Charles thought to be the more likely to play in the finals this Saturday at EW Moore Oval.
“I just hope the injuries aren’t too serious,” Blueheelers coach Roy Romeo said.
“Shannon carved up in the first game and Kodie did a mountain of work but then they both got injured.
“Everything else was fantastic, I was impressed with everyone who took the field. They did their jobs.
“It’s going to take time for our structures to fall in place but once we get those combinations going we should be all right.”
The Griffith Black and Whites went winless but put up a fight in their first match against West Wyalong, losing 20-16 with what coach Craig Hannon described as “half a reserve-grade side”.
However, as a swag of new Kiwi imports arrived in the country yesterday, Hannon said their addition is sure to give his side a much-needed lift.
“It’ll be a big week coming up, getting the new guys fitting in with the boys and a bit of team bonding going on,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on but I’m glad we went all right.
“We’ve got a base to work from and we know where we’ve got to be and what we’ve got to do.
“Hopefully come the halfway mark of the season, we’ll be getting competitive.”
Hurricanes coach and human wrecking ball Chris Bamford accused his side of living off their West Wyalong Knockout success after they were stunned 22-6 by Darlington Point-Coleambally.
Bidgee recovered to smash the Black and Whites in its second outing – but only after Bamford dished out a spray to remember.
“I gave them a massive serve after our first game. We looked unorganised, there was too much dropped ball and we didn’t look like we knew what was going on,” he said.
“It was a big wake-up for the boys. I think they were riding on the West Wyalong Knockout still.
“It just came down to attitude, the boys didn’t rock up and they (DPC) were real hungry. I believe still we’ve got the better side but we didn’t perform today.
“It was a very good effort from the boys in the second game, but there’s a bit to work on.”
Last season’s wooden spooners Hay were the surprise packets of the knockout, beating Tullibigeal-Lakes United 20-6 in the final game of the day to qualify for the finals.
Yenda president Adam Goldman paid tribute to the Magpies not only for on-field improvement, but for a job well done as host club.
“It wouldnt be easy coming all the way from Hay to here, bringing all their gear and all their workers,” he said.
“They haven’t been going great in the group but they’ve made the finals so they’ve done a fantastic job.”