Kleemann medallist’s season over
Mt Barker’s premiership hopes have taken another hit with Kleemann medallist Matt Smith their third first-choice playerset to play no further part in the Bulls’ tilt at consecutive grand final appearances.
Smith switched across to the Bulls after helping North Albany win a third straight premiership but last season’s best and fairest player in the Great Southern Football League won’t play again in 2017.
Bulls coach Shane Thompson has confirmed Smith will miss the rest of the season with a serious Achilles that requires surgery, an injury that has prevented the inside midfielder from playing in the last three rounds.
It is another blow to last season’s grand finalists, who have already lost forward John Lee to a season- ending anterior cruciate ligament knee injury while spearhead Daniel Parker left the Bulls mid-season to pursue a WAFL career with East Fremantle.
“Smithy is done for the year unfortunately,” Thompson said this week. “He has been to see two surgeons and basically he needs surgery. With an Achilles injury, once it gets sore it needs rest so he won’t play again.”
The Bulls’ quest to win an elusive flag, though, has received some good news, with Thompson confirming forwards Brenton Edwards and Doug Roberts will play for the remainder of the season.
Edwards has not played since the Bulls’ grand final loss last season but ran out for the first time in their win over Royals last Saturday, kicking 1.2.
The powerfully built forward kicked 12 goals in seven games for the Bulls last season and will play against the Kangas and Railways in round 15 to qualify for finals.
Roberts played against the Lions in May but his two-goal effort last week was only the second match he has played this season in Bulls colours.
Dominant ruckman David Stone will miss this Saturday’s crunch clash with the Kangas but Thompson was hopeful defender Jake Byrne will return.
The Kangas will regain key players Matt Orzel, Luke Cameron, Corey Hitchcock, Kris Ericson, Grant Corcoran and Jack Steel for the clash at Sounness Park while Beau Rogers (knee) will miss another week and Stef Ericson is unavailable. Kangas coach Craig Dew said his third-placed side was focused on the the Bulls.
“We want to finish on top, get the home second semifinal and take some momentum into the finals,” he said.
“The next two weeks will determine that.
“Mt Barker are a serious football team — their kicking skills are probably the best in the competition.”
In the other round 14 fixtures on Saturday, Albany host the Tigers while Denmark-Walpole are at home to the Lions.
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