SANDHURST will be without star midfielder Jon Coghlan for Sunday’s first semi-final against Strathfieldsaye at the QEO.
A shoulder injury has sidelined Coghlan for the second time this season, while in a further blow, number one ruckman Tom McCarthy’s season is over because of a broken hand.
The Dragons had hoped to get McCarthy back for the latter part of the finals, but the big man has had a plate inserted into his hand and he won’t return to action this September.
Coghlan left the field in the third quarter of last Sunday’s qualifying final loss to Golden Square.
Sandhurst’s initial fears were that the tough midfielder had broken the same collarbone which kept him out for much of the second half of the home and away season.
The injury is not as bad as first thought and the Dragons hope to have Coghlan available for the preliminary final should they get past the Storm.
Sandhurst and Strathfieldsaye won’t finalise their teams until after training tonight.
Sandhurst added midfielder Callum Prest, key forwards Braden Hocking and Alex Hywood and young defender Hamish Winter-Irving to its squad.
The Storm included teenagers Caillum Brady and Luke Marchesi and forward Ryan Eastman.
Golden Square has regained two of its premier players for tomorrow night’s second semi-final against Gisborne.
Coach Mark Lloyd and key midfielder Luke Hammond return from injuries, while the Bulldogs also promoted Bendigo Pioneers-listed wingman/half-forward Ben Archard.
Square couldn’t consider veteran defender Chris Malone because of a hamstring injury.
Gisborne decided not to risk key forward David Antonowicz and much-improved midfielder Clay Illman.
Both players have battled niggling injuries and couldn’t convince coach Luke Saunders they were fit to play.
Midfielder Shaun Comerford returns to the Gisborne side after recovering from a calf injury.
Impressive youngster Eamon McKenna also earned a recall.