GISBORNE’S BFNL premiership bid has received a timely boost with veteran midfielder Ollie Messaoudi to return to action this weekend.
The recurrence of an old back injury had threatened to end Messaoudi’s season, but the club favourite has trained strongly the past two weeks and is ready to play against Sandhurst this weekend.
“If Ollie gets through training this week then he’ll play against Sandhurst,’’ Gisborne coach Rod Sharp said.
“Whether or not that’s seniors or reserves… we’ll have to wait and see.
“He’s done everything right the past two weeks, we just have to hope he holds up okay.”
Messaoudi hasn’t played since Gisborne’s round six win over Eaglehawk.
Full-forward Matthew Knox, who has only played two senior games this year, has also made an unexpected return to playing action.
Knox kicked three goals in the reserves last Saturday and will push for senior selection in the coming weeks.
“Knoxy has completed the physical aspects of his training with the CFA, so he can come back and play footy at weekends,’’ Sharp said.
“He’s looking fit and moving well, but obviously he’s done no footy work.
“He’ll play a couple in the reserves and see how he goes.
“If he had have played the full year he’d be the best full-forward in the competition.”
Knox kicked 10 goals in his two senior games this year.
Veteran defender Anthony Belcher is a chance to return from a knee injury this week, while star rover Matt Fitzgerald will test his hamstring in the reserves.
On a negative note, key position star Ben Sonogan will miss the game against Sandhurst and midfield ace Scott Walsh won’t return until the final home and away round.
“Sonogan, Walsh, Messaoudi and Knox are good chances to play a role for us, but Fitzy is not really in our thoughts at the moment,’’ Sharp said.
“He hasn’t played footy for a long time and he has to prove his body can hold up. He’s got three games in the reserves to prove it.”