Injuries cost Sunbury at business end of season

Matt Welsh is one of only three Kangaroos players to have played every game this year. Picture Shawn Smits

Finals are still the aim, but it isn’t all that matters in the remaining rounds of the Riddell District Football League season for the Sunbury Kangaroos.

Four weeks ago life was sweet for the Kangaroos as they sat 10-1 on top of the ladder going into their first bye.

Since then they have dropped four matches against Macedon, Riddell, Rupertswood and Diggers Rest to sit in sixth spot, only percentage above seventh placed Broadford.

On Saturday against the Burras, the Kangaroos had a poor start to the game which cost them dearly.

The Kangaroos lost 13.13 (91) – 7.6 (48).

Kangaroos coach Chris Meacham said he knew his side would be up against it early and didn’t respond until the second half.

“They kicked seven goals in the first quarter and tried to peg it back from there.

“They are the same old Diggers. We tried to play a different game plan and we changed it at half time and it got us back into the game, but the scoreboard and the style of the game sums up where both teams are at.”

The Kangaroos struggled to find avenues to goal with marks inside 50 a rarity.

Losing Jackson Baddeley in the first quarter to injury didn’t help.

“We are struggling with forwards and for another one to go down today just hurts.

“No one likes coming out here to play. It’s always windy and Brent Tuckey and Luke Smailes did nothing for them as well.

“The second quarter, we played school yard footy. We played kick to kick with three to four forwards going up against each other.

“It was a total waste of quarter.”

The Kangaroos opened the game up in the second half but weren’t able to reduce the margin.

Joining Baddeley on the injury list is Adam Fenton who rolled his ankle in the last quarter.

Injuries have been the tale of the story for the Kangaroos this season with only three players playing every game so far.

“I feel so sorry for my brother [Wayne Meacham]. He coaches the twos and they can get back nine players from us. Nine players who have been playing reserves and they can get back for the finals.

“We have one or two from under-18’s and reserves who haven’t had an opportunity in seniors who will get it.

“It’s not all doom and gloom and it’s only football.”

Injuries have meant some younger players have got more of a go in the seniors.

Two youngsters to step up are Mitch Trimboli and Roger Allen who have both been nominated for the league’s Steve Turner medal for the best young player.

This leaves Meacham with the dilemma of wanting to continue to develop them when other players return from injuries.

“I have to be smart with it and look at the bigger picture and what we are going to do.

“There’s a lot of pressure on. The side has been up for the last six years.

“We are just trying to focus on making finals and if we make finals, we make finals. At the same time it’s about getting some of these kids come through.

“We are not sitting there sulking, it’s not all about premierships and it’s not about giving up by any means. “

The Kangaroos have the bye this week before clashes with Rockbank, Riddell and Romsey on the run home.