Coleambally hope the arrival of guest player Michael Handby for Saturday’s game against CSU might be the trigger that helps turn their season around.
Handby, 34, is a midfielder with experience in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and the Ovens and Murray League.
He’s currently an assistant coach at SANFL club North Adelaide, and – when his coaching commitments allow – playing for Hahndorf in SA’s Hills Football League.
But Handby’s schedule opens up this weekend, allowing him to continue a tradition of joining his good mate, Coleambally coach Michael Griffiths, for a game.
“We’ve played footy together since we were juniors and he came up when I was at Griffith once or twice a year, and last year when I was at Tatunga,” Griffiths said.
“I haven’t seen him play since last year but he’s been training and his body’s holding up alright.
“He got drafted when he was 17 so he’s no slouch. He can still find the footy and he knows what to do with it.
“He’s a 95kg midfielder so he’s not a small man. And he sees it in slow motion.
“He’ll go through the middle and up forward when he needs a spell.”
He can still find the footy and he knows what to do with it.- Michael Griffiths, Coleambally coach
Handby’s arrival could not come at a better time, as the Blues struggle with an inconsistent start which has netted just one win from seven games.
On top of that, their three Darwin recruits aren’t available this week, along with Todd Clark and Jacob Breed.
Add in injuries to Nathan Jones (broken arm) and Mitch Dunbar (hamstring), in last week’s loss to the Northern Jets, and Shane Pound still battling a lower leg complaint, and the Blues are well down on depth and experience.
“We’re going to stick with playing the kids,” Griffiths said.
“We’ve been playing four or five Under 17s the last few weeks and they’re getting good experience out of it.”
The Bushpigs encounter is the first of three consecutive home games for Coleambally, who will also host Temora and East Wagga-Kooringal this month.
“We showed a couple of good signs last week (against the Jets), especially in the first quarter, but we didn’t kick straight,” Griffiths said.
“And we didn’t string four quarters together. Once we do, we’ll get a win, and then hopefully string a few together.
“But we’re starting to leave it a bit late.”
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