Ea­gles fo­cus on lo­cal tal­ent as in­juries hit hard

South Western Times - - Sport - Mitchell Wood­cock

COL­LIE Ea­gles coach Seth White has de­cided to fo­cus on youth as the club looks to fin­ish a hor­ror sea­son on a high.

In­juries have rav­aged the Ea­gles and it has con­tin­ued to get worse, with for­mer WAFL mid­fielder Michael Flo­rio hav­ing surgery last week af­ter tear­ing his ham­string off the bone, while ruck­men Paul Rin­der (knee), Jared Deben­ham (an­kle) and mid­fielder Corey Griggs (foot) are all set to miss Sun­day’s clash with the Ea­ton Boomers at Glen Huon Re­serve.

The club also agreed to part ways with for­mer WAFL play­ers Aaron Elari and Joel Lee­son, who have headed to Fed­er­als in the Avon Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and Dal­wallinu, in the Mort­lock Foot­ball League.

“It was a mu­tual agree­ment,” Ea­gles coach Seth White said.

“Joel missed home a bit and ob­vi­ously Aaron came to play with Joel and Flo­rio.

“With Flo­rio out for the sea­son and Joel leav­ing, it was an easy de­ci­sion for both par­ties.

“Ul­ti­mately on our end, we can fo­cus on the lo­cals now and get some games into them.”

White said the club had strug­gled with in­juries, but he re­fused to use it as an ex­cuse.

“We had a few more big ones (in­juries) at the week­end and they will be the hard­est to cover,” he said.

“But we will just keep on fronting up and do­ing our best. That is all I can ask of them.”

The first-year coach ac­knowl­edged that Flo­rio’s ca­reer at the Ea­gles had been marred by in­juries, with the hard-run­ning wing­man play­ing just 28 games in his three sea­sons at the club.

White said he was not sure if Flo­rio would play again.

“I have spo­ken to him about it,” he said.

“He will go through the re­hab and get his body right.

“I hope he has an­other crack at it. Whether it is with us or with an­other club, I just hope he gets back to play­ing footy.

“He is not old by any means. Lets just see what hap­pens af­ter his re­cov­ery.”

White said he was not sure how he would cover the loss of Rin­der and Deben­ham in the ruck this week­end.

“It works for Rich­mond, so we might just have to play small,” he said.

“We prob­a­bly won’t have a bloke over six foot in our side.”

The one-time as­sis­tant coach be­lieves his team will now fo­cus on giv­ing the top teams a shake up.

“The com­pe­ti­tion is prob­a­bly keep­ing us in it,” he said.

“We will just fo­cus on what we are do­ing.”

Pic­ture: Mitchell Wood­cock

For­mer WAFL mid­fielder Aaron Elari has left the Col­lie Ea­gles as the team fo­cuses on its youth for the rest of 2018.

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