TAREE Wildcats could be without goal keeper Curtis Jones for up to three more weeks in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League.
Curtis broke a rib in a collision with an opposition player in Taree’s loss to Macleay Valley on April 28. He missed the subsequent match against Wauchope while the Wildcats were sidelined again last weekend as their opponents, Port United, had commitments with the FFA Cup in Coffs Harbour.
Coach Rod Bartley said Jones will be out for tomorrow’s clash against Tuncurry-Forster Tigers at Omaru and he isn’t expecting him back for a few more matches yet.
“It’s a shame, Curtis was looking forward to playing against his old club, but he’ll be out for a few more weeks yet,’’ Bartley said.
Jones joined the Wildcats this season after previously playing with Wallis Lake and Tuncurry-Forster.
Aaron Green is again expected to replace Jones while the club has yet to decide who will fill the role in reserve grade.
“We used our open age goalie last match but he’ll be playing this weekend, so we will have to look elsewhere,’’ he said.
Bartley isn’t keen on Green playing two matches.
“It can be a big workload and if he’s injured in reserve grade we’re in trouble for firsts,’’ he explained.
"So at this stage I’ll be keeping Aaron fresh for first grade.’’
Veteran Josh Ferris filled in as keeper occasionally last season but Bartley said he is in great form playing in the field in reserves and he said it is unlikely he will go into goals.
Taree’s had a stop-start season with the bye, a general bye and the postponed match. However, the Wildcats are still well placed and sit on nine points, in striking range of the top two.
“It has been tough – it's like the start of the season all over again,’’ Bartley said.
“And it told in our game against Wauchope when we struggled in the first half, although we finished all over them in the second.’’
Tuncurry-Forster’s had an indifferent opening five weeks to the season but managed a draw against Port Saints last weekend to open their account. Bartley was there to see them ion action and he isn’t expecting to get easy competition points tomorrow.
“They will be up for this game,’’ Bartley warned.
“I know they’ve had a few problems so far but they have good players and a good coach, so they’ll be keen to get a bit of momentum now.’’
Macleay leads the competition on 12 points from Port United on 10, Wallis Lake 10, Taree 9, Kempsey Saints 9, Camden Haven 6, Port Saints 4, Tuncurry-Forster 4, Wauchope 0.
Wauchope to notch first points
WAUCHOPE will open their account in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League tomorrow as the club picks up three points from the bye.
However, despite the side’s lack of success, Taree coach Rod Bartley believes Wauchope will be a formidable force before the end of the season.
“Wauchope worries me,’’ he said.
He noted Wauchope have gained some new players this year and he said it will take a while for the side to develop combinations. But when they do, they’ll worry any side in the league, Bartley warned.
The Wildcats beat Wauchope a fortnight ago in the clash at Omaru Park despite trailing 2-0 at halftime.
In other games this weekend Camden Haven will host Kempsey Saints while Port Saints will clash with unbeaten Wallis Lake.
In the match of the round Macleay Valley tackles Port United at Kempsey.