INJURIES CAUSING TUMUT CONCERN: TEKA
By Les Muir
WRESTING with a mid-season injury crisis before the biggest game of the year, Tumut coach Jarrad Teka has little time to contemplate the imminent return of front row enforcer Dan Kilian.
Counting down to the “massive” clash with Gundagai at Anzac Park on Sunday, Teka is almost at his wits end trying to get a team together for the blockbuster.
“We’re a bit skinny,” Teka said on Thursday.
“We had a heap of injuries from the Southcity game – at this stage we could have four or five guys out on Sunday.
“I really can’t name a team.
“I’ve just got to wait to see how they come up (by the weekend).”
Although Teka wisely did not disclose the players under a fitness cloud, it is understood two of the team’s most senior players are on the casualty list.
Coming ahead of the showdown with the Tigers, the threat of having a weakened team is a critical concern for a team in a football trough.
After starting the season with five booming wins, the Blues have hit the wall and not managed an outright victory in three subsequent games.
Beaten for the first time by Young (30-26) on May 21, Tumut has since snatched a lacklustre 28-all draw with Kangaroos and lost 28-26 to Southcity on June 4.
Despite his team only collecting only one point from a possible six points in their last three games, Teka is certainly not about to panic.
The shrewd Blues coach says the results could have been different.
“Look at it this way,” Teka said.
“Young only got us on the bell and there was nothing in the game against Southcity.
“And we could have easily got away with Kangaroos game too.”
For Tumut, the mid-year hiccup followed in the wake of the departure of man-mountain Kilian in dramatic circumstances.
Kilian is involved in an on-going legal matter and was forced to return to Queensland in May.
Significantly, however, Tumut are optimistic the 21-year-old prop is close to resolving the issue and could be back in the team next month.
Rather than speculate, Teka is content to keep abreast of the “technicalities” of Kilian’s legal affairs.
Taking stock of a more pressing problem, Teka said overthrowing Gundagai at their fortress would be a “challenge”.
“They’re the only team to beat Southcity, and Southcity beat us,” he said.
“This is definitely a massive game.
“We have to get back on track.”
As Tumut struggles to get a team on the paddock, the Tigers are in a much better position.
Leaving aside the ling-term injury to James Luff and the retirement of Brett Eccleston, Tigers captain-coach James Smart has been able to select his strongest team this year.