Junee skipper Adrian Merrigan has bemoaned a thin roster and limited player availabilities as the Jaguars look to turn their Pascoe Cup fortunes around against Cootamundra on Sunday.
Last weekend’s general bye couldn’t have come soon enough for the 2015 premiers, who have slumped to ninth on the competition table after six successive losses.
“It hasn’t been a great year if we’re honest,” Merrigan said.
“We had a decent start (beating Wagga United and drawing with South Wagga in the opening two rounds) but it hasn’t gone well since.”
Blow-out defeats to Henwood Park and Tumut along with a few close shaves have branded Junee competition cellar dwellers at the halfway point of the season but Merrigan believes his players are competing to the best of their ability.
There’s been a few games that were disappointing with our effort but most of the games have been close and I can’t fault the players out there.Junee Jaguars Pascoe Cup skipper Adrian Merrigan
His greater concern is for the players who aren’t showing up – or aren’t there at all.
“It’s just the depth of our squad – we wanted a bigger squad than we ended up with and it’s looking pretty thin,” Merrigan said.
“We’ve got players who can’t commit to every week … and four to five players backing up from second grade for most games.”
Injuries to key players have also crippled the Jaguars campaign with a chunk of Junee’s starting XI resigned to waterboy duties.
Jake Crowder’s done his hamstring and he’s been our best player all year, so that wasn’t ideal.Junee Jaguars Pascoe Cup skipper Adrian Merrigan
“One of our younger boys, Brodie Longmore, has been working his way up into first grade but he’s dislocated his shoulder too and Shane Baldry’s out with a torn knee ligament so we’re missing a few blokes out there.”
Junee impressed in patches during their 4-0 loss to second-placed Tolland but never looked comfortable after Merrigan was issued a contentious red card.
Now, all eyes are locked on the visiting Strikers.
Cootamundra are riding a five game unbeaten streak after coming from behind to defeat Wagga United 3-2 but Merrigan isn’t too worried about their form.
“We can’t really judge on other results and we don’t know whether we’ll have players out or if they’ll have players out,” he said.
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”
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