In­juries rav­age Ghosts, but no ex­cuse for loss

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW ELKERTON matthew.elkerton@dai­lyex­am­


They started the first-grade clash with­out sev­eral big names, and it only went down­hill for the Grafton Ghosts who fin­ished their clash against Sawtell Pan­thers with one man left on the bench.

It was the Ghosts’ first loss in first grade since the 2016 grand fi­nal at McKit­trick Park, but it was the loss of troops that hurt cap­tain-coach Danny Wicks more than the 24-22 score­line.

Wicks failed to fin­ish the match, com­ing from the field with a sus­pected groin tear, while brother Brett failed to take part in the sec­ond half.

But it was Blake Win­mill, who played in the cen­tres in place of the lethal Dy­lan Col­lett, who was the big­gest loss for the Ghosts.

Win­mill was taken to hos­pi­tal with a dis­lo­cated shoul­der, and it is un­cer­tain when the util­ity will be back.

There was more ice on bod­ies than on beers af­ter the clash, as the home side was left to count the ca­su­al­ties.

The Ghosts were bat­tered, bruised but most im­por­tantly beaten, as the Pan­thers sent a mes­sage to Group 2.

“They turned up and they de­served to win be­cause they out-mus­cled us,” Brett Wicks said. “We had a few blokes out on the side­lines, but there is no ex­cuse for the loss.”

While Col­lett is still at least a week away, the Ghosts also lost work­horse prop Adam Slater to a red­back spi­der bite on Fri­day night. It is un­der­stood he will be back for next week­end.

“Those guys made a huge dif­fer­ence for our side. Hav­ing no Dyl and no Slatsy in the mid­dle just killed us,” Wicks said. “But it was just a good wake-up call. As Danny said, we were prob­a­bly get­ting too cocky af­ter go­ing un­de­feated through last year.”

For Wicks it was the first time he had felt a mus­cle tear, and he said it was like noth­ing he had felt be­fore.

“It was the most pain I have felt in my life, it is like a stab­bing burn in my arm,” he said.

“I am bloody ner­vous, I am not out there with the boys and I don’t know how long it will be for me.”

Photo: Matthew Elkerton

UN­DER PRES­SURE: Cooper Woods gets lifted in a tackle dur­ing the Group 2 first grade sec­ond round clash be­tween Grafton Ghosts and Sawtell Pan­thers at Frank McGuren Field.

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