Matt Hands to make highly anticipated return from injury

COMEBACK MISSION: Diesels captain-coach Matt Hands says he is close to making a comeback after suffering a pectoral injury late last season.

COMEBACK MISSION: Diesels captain-coach Matt Hands says he is close to making a comeback after suffering a pectoral injury late last season.

Diesels captain-coach Matt Hands expects to be fully healthy for his side’s home clash with Kangaroos on Sunday next week.

Hands has been nursing a pectoral injury since late last season and was forced to watch Junee’s first two games from the sidelines.

The inspirational leader said he could have played last week but opted to take advantage of the Easter break and save his return for round three.

“I’ll see how I go in the lead-up, but I should be at 100 per cent - or close to it - for the Kangaroos game,” he said. 

Junee’s clash with the Wagga-based side is a “must-win”, according to Hands.

“It’s pretty early in the season to be saying that, but we face South City and Gundagai afterwards and really can’t be heading into that with a 1-3 record,” he said.

It was a tough outing for the Diesels on Sunday, who were missing five senior players and copped a 34-4 belting at the hands of Young at Alfred Park.

The Cherrypickers opened the scoring in the 18th minute and jumped out to a 16-0 lead at the break.

Diesels recruit Afatasi Collins got his new side on the board at the beginning of the second half.

But a meaningful Junee comeback never materialised as Young swiftly resumed their dominance, running in another three tries in the second stanza. 

Hands said his side had plenty of screws to tighten before heading into round three.

“We dropped a lot of the ball in that first half and made it very hard for ourselves,” he said.

“The effort was right up there, but we just played some dumb footy.

“We panicked when got close to try line and needed some calmer heads at times.”

It has been an up and down start to the season Junee, thrashing Cootamundra by 60 points in round one before the sizable loss to Young. 

But Hands, ever the optimistic, has not allowed himself to become disturbed by the wild start to the season.

“Our confidence definitely isn’t rattled,” he said. 

“We know what we can do once we get back to full strength.”

Thankfully for Junee, the side now has two full weeks to regroup and recuperate before play resumes. 

The Diesels are expected to have close to a full line-up available for its post-Easter clash. 

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