NEWBRIDGE is set to be without top defender Meg Jennings for at least the next five weeks after she suffered an ankle injury against Bridgewater on Saturday.
Jennings, a joint winner of the LVFNL's A-grade best and fairest award in 2017, went down in the final minute and a half of last weekend's match at Newbridge.
Her loss was immediately felt with the Maroons conceding the next four goals - two of them through turnovers - to be beaten by the Mean Machine by two goals.
Maroons coach Selina Holland said her players were devastated for their team-mate, who was a key figure in the club's drought-breaking A-grade premiership win in 2016.
"She's done it pretty badly - she previously as a junior had a reco on that ankle, so it's not looking amazing," she said.
"It was only 2018 that she did her knee, so it hasn't been a great run.
"She was best on (court) for us. Her and Abby Rowley in wing defence were our best. Meg absolutely smashed it and had them rattled. They switched goalers a few times.
"I'm so devastated for the girls, they worked so hard.
"I thought we were the better team on the day, except for that last minute and a half."
X-rays revealed no break or fracture in Jennings' ankle, with Holland hopeful she could be back in action following the Maroon's back-to-back weekends off on June 11 and 18.
The double whammy of a major injury blow and a narrow loss put a dampener on an otherwise bright performance from the Maroons, who were attempting to add their second win of the season.
They broke through for their first the previous week against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
Taking to the court with their full line-up for just the second time this season, Holland said the two-goal margin against a genuine top-three contender was a reminder of what her team was capable of delivering when it had its best combinations available.
"I was hoping we would get some momentum coming off that Serp game and the girls just came out of the box firing," she said.
"We were literally in front all day.
"We have Pyramid Hill this week, so fingers crossed we can still take the momentum forward.
"The girls know we have a bit of a hole to fill, but Georgie Hyett, who has come across from Eaglehawk and is playing midcourt at the moment, can step into that goal defence role."
In an encouraging sign, Hyett was best on court for the Maroons in their win over the Bears while playing in defence.
Other options to help fill the breach left by Jennings include Lauren Knight and Leisha Morrison from the B-grade line-up, with both players having made appearances in A-grade already this season.
Pyramid Hill will be aiming to recover from back-to-back losses against premiership contenders Calivil United and Mitiamo.
In other results last Saturday, Maiden Gully YCW defeated Mitiamo 67-54, Calivil United beat Pyramid Hill 48-24, and Marong defeated Bears Lagoon-Serpentine 73-36.
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