Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Injury concerns

After a great run with injuries last year with only defender Daniel Piorkowski suffering any major injury, our luck certainly has appeared to change this year with our rooms taking on the look of a medical facility. Of concern to the team are injuries to Ljubo Milicevic (knee), Joseph Keenan (hamstring), Steve Pantelidis (corked thigh) and Michael Theoklitos (back). Add to this list is our fearless captain, Kevin Muscat, who has been playing the last two matches with a non-displaced fracture in his left arm (which was suffered in the match against Wellington). Talk about tough, he wasn't even wearing any protection on the offending arm. According to reports, Muscat is still keen to play in the upcoming Grand Final rematch this weekend as both Archie Thompson and Leigh Broxham will be unavailable to due to their international call-ups to the Socceroos and Olyroos respectively. Thompson has also been suffering from a recurring knee injury that he picked up during the Asian Cup, which has quite obviously restricted his peformances in the opening two matches and also puts him in doubt for the Socceroos match against Argentina. Pantelidis and Theoklitos are expected to play, but if they are unavailable it could mean call-ups for Sebastian Ryall, Evan Berger and Daniel Vasilevski for the all important match against Adelaide, who themselves will be missing Bruce Djite and Kristian Sarkies due to Olyroos duty. It may also provide Merrick with the opportunity, to play both Patafta and Hernandez on the park at the same time or even give a starting position to Adrian Caceres. Hernandez needds to play out a full match to get his fitness up to speed - I don't believe there is any merit in pulling him off at half time in matches. Match fitness is gained from playing matches, not just on the training ground.

It will be a tough challenge for the Victory as Adelaide are in good form (although on the same points as us) with Nathan Burns available and in top form. On that note, if Burns is unavailable for Olyroos duty due to suspension, why wasn't he called up for full international duties as he is the most in-form striker in the country. It would be a perfect opportunity to give him a chance against world class opposition and would be great for his development.

Speaking of teams hit by injury and international duty, my A-League fantasy football team will be struggling under the pressure this week, especially with the fact that you can only make two transfers a week. For those playing in the "Blogger Cup" I am keen to follow in the esteemed footsteps of Hamish at Football Down Under and Beyond and his tipping competition and put a prize up on offer for the winning team. Any thoughts or suggestions of appropriate prizes would be most welcome.


Anonymous Eric said...

It's definitely a worry to see some of the side's best players falling to injury, but I for one am looking forward to seeing players like Adrian Caceres, Kaz Patafta and Carlos Hernandez play a full game. It will also be good for Evan Berger and Sebastian Ryall to get some experience.

Given the lot of players we're missing, I think we'll be going into the Adelaide game as underdogs.

One thing I'm looking forward to is seeing Leandro Love start and play a bit more of the match - he was suitably impressive against Perth, and I expect to see more of him, especially when Archie is off for the Socceroos.

4 September 2007 at 15:00  

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