HANWOOD Football Club will be without defender Adam Close for two months after he broke his collarbone in his side's draw with Cobram Victory last weekend.
The loss of Close until round 11 of the Regional Premier League will force club officials to make yet another change to their defensive pattern, which has been ravaged by injury this season.
HFC coach Anthony Agresta said he felt for Close and backed him to return to the field as soon as possible, but urged his side to stay focused as they tackle Wests Soccer Club at EW Moore Oval tomorrow.
"As far as I know it is a broken collarbone, it's a blow for us and our backline has taken a bit of a battering so far this season," Agresta said.
"We lost Joey (Gioa) in the first week and Matty Bugno hasn't played a game yet but he's ruled himself out for the season, he's having problems with his knee, it's just one of those things.
"And now with Closey out it makes it hard, because it's hard to get settled, but we've just got to move on and shuffle a few guys around.”
Agresta said the increased level of opposition in the RPL has thrown up new challenges to the local clubs, saying resting players is fraught with more danger than it has been in previous seasons.
Testament to their struggles at the back, Hanwood were forced to climb out of a hole they made last weekend against Cobram Victory, as they came back from a three-goal deficit at half-time.
“Hopefully last weekend’s draw gives the guys a bit of belief, I’m not sure if we’re paying these (Victorian) teams too much respect or if we’re overawed so hopefully last weekend can spur the guys on a bit,” Agresta said.
Asked if it helped in playing a familiar foe in the Magpies, Agresta said it could be a double-edge sword for his men.
“It can work both ways, we can fall into the trap and think ‘this is a gimme game’ and that we’ve played them before, but we can’t think like that.”
Wests coach Ben Duggan said the side will welcome back young stars Joey Arena, Luke Tsantefskis and Dylan Perlowski who were missing through representative duty last round.
“When you look at the Griffith rep team that just won the Riverina title they played in, it just goes to show that there are some great young footballers out there and we’re just fortunate enough to have a few in our side,” Duggan said.
But it’s the sides’ defence that is of most concern to Duggan, with Ross Morgan set to anchor the side from centre back against Hanwood FC.
“We’re just leaking easy goals really, it’s not like we’re getting outclassed all over the pitch, so we’re just been working on plugging the gaps,” he said.