McCARTHY TO MISS GRAND FINAL
By Les Muir
DEALT a shattering blow, Southcity’s champion halfback Kyle McCarthy will miss the Group Nine grand final on September 9.
In a dramatic development, Souhcity captain-coach Nick Skinner has revealed McCarthy requires surgery on a serious shoulder injury, forcing him to miss the premiership decider.
“Yeah, he’s (McCarthy) out for the year unfortunately,” Skinner reported on Monday.
“He’s getting his shoulder operated on tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Coming in the wake of Southcity’s thrilling 26-22 win over Gundagai in the major semi-final at Harris Park on Sunday, the revelation has definitely taken the sheen off the Bulls courageous victory.
Although McCarthy missed Sunday’s game, there was no inkling the shoulder injury was set to end his season in such a stunning fashion.
McCarthy is one of Southcity’s most inspirational players and his absence from the grand final will again test the resilience of the team.
The halfback has been in great form this year and was also a pillar of Southcity’s charge to the premiership in 2016.
For McCarthy, the shoulder problem has robbed him of chance of sharing a second successive Group Nine with Southcity – and a third overall with the Bulls.
Ironically, McCarthy will now not play again before the 2018 season when he is signed to take over from Skinner as Southcity captain-coach.
Skinner reported Tom Besgrove, who replaced McCarthy on Sunday, will retain the key position for the grand final.
Significantly, hard-working Southcity hooker Pani Manawatu is poised to return for last game of the year after work commitments forced him to skip the major semi-final.
Teenager Luke McBearh deputised in brilliant style for Manawatu on Sunday but is expected to be on the bench for the historic twilight grand final on September 9.
With Southcity already in the grand final, Gundagai and Tumut will fight for the other spot when they meet in the preliminary final at McDonald’s Park on Saturday.