Sec­ond chance at fi­nal glory

Raiders lose cap­tain to hit

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Jes­sica Lamb Jes­sica.Lamb @whit­sun­day­times.com.au

THE Whit­sun­day Raiders have lost their cap­tain and star at­tack­ing player, Shan­non Wol­land, af­ter a head clash at the be­gin­ning of Satur­day’s loss against Mackay City.

Wol­land has con­firmed he has two frac­tured cheek bones and is await­ing surgery in Townsville.

Wol­land said he did not know the ex­tent of his in­juries un­til some­one pointed out he had a dent in his face.

“I was taken to hos­pi­tal when it hap­pened in Mackay and they poked and prod­ded and sent me home,” he said.

“But I went to the hos­pi­tal again in Proser­pine for a sec­ond opin­ion the next day and sure enough, a CT scan has showed I have two frac­tured cheek bones.

“A player on the other team de­cided to tackle me with his head early on in the game.

“I’m off to doc­tors and spe­cial­ists this week and if all goes well I will be in surgery on Fri­day.

“I’m out for a fair while but don’t worry, I’ll be cheer­ing from afar for the team this week­end.”

Coach Kon Fla­herty said Mackay City played a phys­i­cal game as an­tic­i­pated.

“City have played well all year round and de­serve to be in the fi­nal,” Fla­herty said.

“In the game they were hard off the line and hard on the ball.

“City scored a few tries early on be­fore we held them at bay, only to have them come out strong in the sec­ond half to se­cure the win.

“Los­ing Shan­non was a blow and we had an­other four in­juries dur­ing the game with an al­ready small bench.

“I think de­spite a huge ef­fort from the guys, by the end of the game we ran out of peo­ple and en­ergy.

“Com­ing into next week we will ad­dress where we are at with play­ers and in­juries, which might mean some shuf­fling of play­ers and po­si­tions.”

Key Raiders player Ben Cor­nish pushed through his own an­kle in­jury to play a solid game for the Raiders af­ter step­ping up to take on felled Wol­land’s role.

Team­mate Madi­son French was high­lighted for his tack­ling and on-ball con­sis­tency.

Wol­land said, from what he saw of the game be­fore be­ing taken to hos­pi­tal, he was very proud of how his boys played.

“We’re a fairly young team,” he said.

“We just need a lit­tle con­fi­dence to know we can do it.”

But all is not lost for the in­jury-plagued Raiders fol­low­ing their 39-9 loss to City.

The loss meant the club missed out on a free pass this week­end to skip straight to the grand fi­nal but the Raiders have a sec­ond chance at grand fi­nal glory.

Kut­tabul Camel­boks beat Bowen Mud­crabs on Satur­day to se­cure their place against in the semi­fi­nal.

The lo­cal boys have vowed to channel their dis­ap­point­ment to “crush Kut­tabul”.

But coach Fla­herty won’t un­der­es­ti­mate their op­po­nent.

“Next week’s game isn’t a fore­gone con­clu­sion,” he said.

“Kut­tabul are play­ing well and it should be a close match.

“Shan­non was our num­ber one at­tack­ing player and his talk and di­rec­tion on the field will be missed.”

The Raiders must win this week­end’s elim­i­na­tion fi­nal in or­der to go through to the grand fi­nal the fol­low­ing week for a re­match against City.

PHOTO: PETER CARRUTHERS

SURGERY DUE: Raiders five-eighth Shan­non Wol­land in ac­tion against Slade Point last week.

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