GOLDEN Square’s BFNL premiership defence has been rocked by a season-ending knee injury to Josh Baird.
The running defender was stretchered off the ground in last Saturday’s loss to Sandhurst at the QEO.
Scans this week revealed he’d ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and fractured his leg.
Baird was just getting back to peak form after having a late start to the season because of a shoulder injury.
While Baird doesn’t have the profile of some of his multiple-premiership winning team-mates, his loss leaves a gaping hole in the Bulldogs’ structure.
“The amount of difference Josh made coming back into our side was huge,’’ Golden Square skipper Simon Rosa said.
“To lose him again through injury is a massive blow.”
Rosa himself remains sidelined and won’t play against Castlemaine on Saturday.
Rosa suffered a broken hand in the Good Friday win over Kangaroo Flat.
He was expected to return last Saturday against Sandhurst, but a minor calf injury has kept him on the sidelines for an extra fortnight.
“My hand is the least of my worries,’’ Rosa said.
“Last Thursday night I hurt my calf and that kept me out of last week’s game and I won’t play again this week.
“I’ve had some physio on it and I trained last night and didn’t have any discomfort.
“Hopefully, I can get a full week of training under my belt next week and be ready to play Strathfieldsaye.”
Rosa said the Bulldogs were expecting a tough battle against a Castlemaine side coming off a six-goal win over South Bendigo.
“Even when we had our really strong sides Castlemaine pushed us,’’ Rosa said.
“You can never take Castlemaine lightly.
“As a side, our guys have been building and if we can put together four quarters of footy then we should be right in the game.”
Castlemaine coach Shane Robertson’s theme for this week won’t change from the previous month.
“Our number one priority is to get some consistency into our footy,’’ Robertson said.
“Not just from a game to game point of view, but from quarter to quarter.
“We were a lot more consistent against South Bendigo last week. Our good footy is really good, but our poor footy is very poor and that’s where teams are hurting us.
“We know full well that we need to play four quarters of consistent footy to have any chance of beating Golden Square.”
Robertson said the win over South Bendigo was just the tonic for a playing group that was coming off some triple figure hidings in the past month.
“It was just great to see guys in the rooms with smiles on their faces,’’ Robertson said.
“Some of the boys who have been loyal to the club in the past few years haven’t experienced that on a regular basis.
“For the boys to have a win, share a couple of beers together and enjoy the win... I felt proud for them.
“It’s just what the club needed.”