NORTH Ballarat Roosters’ captain Michael Searl will undergo surgery for a broken hand on the eve of a road trip to Swan Hill.
Searl has been tentatively ruled out for five weeks, including a looming tough clash against Victorian Football League reigning premier and powerhouse Box Hill Hawks.
It is a big loss for his team but Selkirk Roosters team manager Marg Richards said the initial prognosis was reasonably good.
Richards said the injury stemmed from a break in Searl’s little finger.
Uncannily, Searl also had surgery on a broken hand at this same stage of the season last year.
The Roosters will look to Sebastopol tall forward Michael Powell to help fill the void against Bendigo on Sunday, a game to promote the VFL about country Victoria.
Powell was added to the Roosters’ VFL list on Thursday this week.
He officially replaces Ash Simpson who was moved to the long-term injury list after injuring his ankle when playing for Lake Wendouree in the Ballarat Football League a fortnight ago.
Powell trained with the Roosters through the summer and took up an invitation to continue training with the Roosters’ squad each Wednesday night.
Richards said Powell had impressed at training and had been in good form for Sebastopol.
Key defender Tom Carey will also make his VFL debut in Swan Hill.
The second-year Rooster, a Gippsland Power TAC Cup graduate, has been promoted from Lake Wendouree and will play as the Roosters’ 23rd man.
North Melbourne-listed defender Ben Jacobs will also be back in action for the Roosters.
Jacobs was a late withdrawal from the VFL last week when ill with a virus.
The Roosters are set for their first extended road trip since travelling to Perth for the Foxtel Cup in 2011.
Richards said it was a good chance for the playing group to spend quality time together.
The Roosters leave for Swan Hill on Saturday afternoon.
INJURY LIST: Oliver Tate (hamstring - one week), Jackson Bowen (quadricep - one week), Sam Scott (shin splints - one week), Jesse Murphy (hamstring 2-3 weeks), Michael Searl (finger - fi ve weeks), Mitchell Rodd
(abductor - 5 weeks), Matt Austin (shoulder - five weeks), Lucas Anderson (foot 6-8 weeks), Ash Simpson (ankle - indefinite).