Injury has been a black cloud over a defiant Diesels this season, with Sunday’s 28-12 loss to Young a show of strength in tough circumstances.
Scrambling to get a team together minutes before the kick-off, five players and 12 reserves put up a valiant fight, making Young work for what they might have thought would be easy points.
It’s been a familiar story, with the Diesels consistently strong but seriously short on numbers.
“We’ve had a bit of a horrid run with injury this season,” captain Matt Hands said.
“There’s been 10 to 15 serious injuries throughout the club and this week again we had a couple away, one in America and one in Melbourne,” he said.
Hands sung the praises of the 12 reserves who stepped up last minute against the Pickers.
“Honestly I don’t want to single any one of them out, I couldn’t fault anyone.”
“The whole 12 of them didn’t put a foot out of place,” he said.
Down an ominous 18-0 in the 18th minute despite receiving the first seven penalties of the game to the ire of Young, Junee turned up the defence, holding the Pickers scoreless for a whopping 46 minutes.
They capitalised with tries to Daniel Foley (25th minute) and Simon Wilson (50th), looking scarily close to closing the gap at 18-12.
The whole 12 of them didn’t put a foot out of place.
Despite a strong effort, they struggled to keep it up, with a spectacular leap from Young’s Lachlan Jackson producing a try for Scott in the 62nd minute.
Up 22-12, Young sealed the deal with Jesse Corcoran’s super try in the 72nd minute.
Hands has been out since injuring his hamstring just after half time in their round 11 loss to Tumut on Sunday, June 25.
He said he’s “probably pushing it” to make it back for next Sunday’s clash with the Wagga Kangaroos, but should be back on field in a fortnight, hopefully in time for round 15 against South City on Saturday, July 22.
He thinks he should have four or five players back for the upcoming Sunday July 16 match against the Kangaroos.
The teams are currently head to head with the Diesel’s just up by 38 percentage points.
Hands is positive about his side’s chances to “push back” in round 14.
“They’ve got a pretty handy side.”
“Ben Jeffery’s put us to the tail last time we played them and they played reasonably well against Gundagai.”
“We know we’re in for a tough game but if they put the same effort in we’ve got a good chance,” he said.