Waratahs FC skipper Ryan Sinclair tried to play the underdog card leading into Saturday’s Orange District Football Association A Grade grand final, but there’s little doubt Millthorpe’s injury woes just about square the ledger.
While Sinclair’s not wrong in saying the Tigers have been “the top side during the year”, they won the minor premiership after all, the defending premiers will be without Dave Rogerson and Jono McCann in Saturday’s decider.
Although both were racing the clock and had 14 days off after the Tigers’ major semi-final win over Barnstoneworth United, they haven’t recovered in time and as a result won’t take to Jack Brabham Park’s Bernie Stedman Field.
Rogerson has actually missed the best part of the season with an ACL injury, while McCann did ligaments against Barnies.
They’ve had a week off to recuperate thanks to their win against Barnestoneworth two weeks ago, and now the Millthorpe Tigers are looking to secure back-to-back premierships this Saturday against Waratah FC in the Orange District Football Association A Grade grand final.
Those fourteen days though still won’t be enough time for the club to see two of their star players, David Rogerson and Jono McCann, off the repairs bench and running onto Jack Brabham.
Millthorpe’s Nick Smith acknowledged the pair are big losses, but also said the quality of the Tigers’ midfield still gives plenty of confidence.
“We have a really strong midfield and strikers so if we can get a bit of possession together, and some good passes, we get a lot of confidence from that,” he said, before highlighting FC’s strengths.
“They’re really good in the air and off their set-pieces, so we just have to be really disciplined and not give away any fouls near our box.”
For Waratahs on the other hand, Sinclair said it really just comes down to taking their chances, something they haven’t always done this season.
"We've had a few where we had our chances and missed them only for (the opposition) to score against the run of play and it’s hard to come back if you do that,” he admitted.
“We’ll see how we go, after coming third we’re just happy to be in the grand final really.”
While two of Millthorpe’s biggest stars are sidelined, Waratahs will have theirs on the paddock tearing in.
Craig Sugden’s the obvious key, Sinclair said, having enjoyed a real purple patch in front of goal recently, including a match-winning hat-trick in last weekend’s preliminary final win over Barnies.
“Suggo is always a threat, he’s scored six goals in the last three games, he’s pivotal,” Sinclair said.
“Adam Kelly is always solid and works well in the midfield and backs, and Jack Sinclair’s important in the middle to control the pace.”
Saturday’s A Grade decider kicks off at 3pm.
In the lower divisions – all at Jack Brabham as well – Barnstoneworth United take on CYMS Pink in B Grade from 12.45pm, Saints take on Waratahs Strikers in C Grade’s top division from 1pm, Blayney plays CYMS The Hood in C Grade’s second division at 2.20pm and Waratahs play Barnstoneworth United in Over 35s, at 2.45pm.