The Gundagai Tigers will be without one of their best players for an extended period of time after it was determined Nathan Rose had torn his bicep.
Rose suffered the injury during Gundagai’s 44-10 win against his old club Southcity in round seven of the Group 9 competition and Tigers’ coach Luke Berkrey indicated that surgery was the likely outcome.
“He’s torn his bicep in the Southcity game,” Berkrey lamented.
“We are waiting to see a surgeon and take things from there but either way we go, he is looking at a fairly extended time on the sideline.”
The talented playmaker had been unstoppable through the first seven rounds of the competition, guiding the Tigers to an unbeaten start to the 2022 season.
Berkrey conceded Rose’s injury was a huge blow for Gundagai, but he didn’t believe it would ruin their Group 9 campaign.
“It is no secret how big of a loss he is, but as I have spoken about to the guys, there is two sides to it and we need to look at the positives,” Berkrey said.
“It will provide other opportunities for guys to stand up and I’m excited to see what the guys, who will now have more a of a senior role, can do for us.”
Gundagai have a good fallback option, with three-time premiership winning playmaker Tyron Gorman moving from the second row back to five-eighth and Berkrey was confident Gorman could guide the Tigers into the second half of the season.
“Tyron Gorman will move to five-eighth, and Jake Elphick will move from the middle to the back row to cover that spot,” Berkrey said.
“Those guys have a lot of experience in those positions and while it is always hard to replace a guy like Nathan, those two will do a great job.”
Berkey will also be expecting playmaker Braith Crane to play a bigger role from the bench, with the youngster beginning to find his feet in first-grade.
“We will be using Braith again as 14 this weekend, and I am noticing how much more comfortable he is at training and in games and I’m excited to see how he handles a bit more responsibility,” Berkrey said.
The Tigers will travel to Albury on Sunday when playing the Thunder at Greenfield Park in round eight of the competition, but they will be without another star player when taking the field, with James Luff still on the sideline.
The two-time Weissel medallist will be sitting out his second-straight game after he was concussed during Gundagai’s 32-20 win over Wagga Kangaroos in round six with the hooker still suffering from the lingering after effects of that head knock.
“James Luff won’t be playing either, but that is more precaution and we will leave him on the sideline a bit longer and make sure he is 100% before bringing him back,” Berkrey said.
Zac Fairall will start at hooker for the second game in a row, and the Tigers won’t be missing too much, with the youngster offering good energy and creativity during the Tigers big win over Southcity in round seven.
Vinnie Brown is sidelined as well, with the front rower still two or three weeks away from returning, meaning forwards Nick McDonald and Jared will make their debuts from the bench.
Despite these omissions, Berkrey said Gundagai were well-versed when it came to handling mounting injury tolls and depth concerns.
“It is something the club has been good at in the past, and we will have to be good at going forward,” Berkrey said.
“Yes, we have some big losses, but I’m still confident we have the right team going forward.”
Gundagai line-up: 1. Latrell Siegwalt, 2. Jack Lyons, 3. Jack Elphick, 4. Damian Willis, 5. Corey Wilson, 6. Tyron Gorman, 7. Derek Hay, 8. Afa Collins, 9. Zac Fairall, 10. Luke Berkrey, 11. Jake Elphick, 12. Blake Dunn, 13. Royce Tout, 14. Braith Crane, 15. Nick McDonald, 16. Jared Elphick, 17. Mark Elphick.