Werribee Tigers jokingly posted a photo on social media on Monday of a stuffed toy giraffe in club colours, suggesting its long neck depicted the length of the club’s injury list.
The Tigers had to make five enforced changes – all bona fide walk-up starters in the seniors – to the side that ran out seven days earlier and it severely hampered their chances of beating Sandringham in the VFL in Saturday at Avalon Airport Oval.
Tigers coach John Lamont told Star Weekly that his young side produced one of its most gutsy performances of the season, battling it out until the bitter end before losing narrowly by 13 points.
They even had to do it two rotations down after Joe Maishman (concussion) and Tom Holman (calf) suffered in-game ailments.
“We had five out from the previous week and all experienced players, so we brought some younger blokes in, no first gamers, but inexperienced players, and I was pleased with their effort,” Lamont said. “We had some more injuries late in the game and just ran out of legs.
“We just ran out of soldiers a bit.”
The Tigers fought tooth and nail the whole match and were priming for an upset.
They bolted out to a two-goal lead at quarter time before parity was restored at half time.
They even held a narrow lead at three quarter time.
This was largely on the back of the ball winning abilities of Isaac Conway and Matt Hanson in a depleted midfield
James Hussey did a fine job in a run-with role on Zebras damaging midfielder Seb Ross.
Josh Porter was a key target in attack with two goals and Holman impressed in a threadbare defence.
For all of the Tigers good work on the day, they just lacked the composure to finish off the job in the last quarter.
“Sandy were just a bit steady for us,” Lamont said. “We just made some mistakes under pressure.
“It still ends up being a missed opportunity – scores were level at half time and we’re in front at three quarter time.
“We showed plenty our blokes, so it was disappointing to be beaten.”
The Tigers have tumbled to eighth on the ladder after their fourth loss in five games.
The task will not get any easier with premiership front-runner Box Hill Hawks visiting Watton Street on Sunday.
The good news is captain Michael Sodomaco and experienced defender Scott McMahon should be back in the line up, but there are fears that onballer Jye Bolton could miss the rest of the season with the foot injury he sustained against Geelong in round 13.
“He’s touch and go whether it’s the rest of the year,” Lamont said.
Meanwhile, the knock-on effect of the injuries was felt by the Werribee Tigers development side, who only managed to kick two goals in a 106-point loss to Sandringham.