ROOSTERS captain Michael Searl has been ruled out of action for at least three weeks with a broken hand.
It is a heavy blow for North Ballarat Roosters, who host fifth-placed Box Hill tomorrow, but it comes in a week that defender Liam Hoy has been cleared to return to the backlines from a broken thumb.
Roosters team manager Marg Richards confirmed yesterday that it was a clean break in Searl’s hand and the skipper would not require surgery.
Searl sustained the injury in the Selkirk Roosters’ 44-point loss to Northern Blues in Victorian Football League action on Saturday.
He played out the match, finishing in a key role up forward to give his team another tall marking option before goals.
Hoy’s return now carries added importance.
The tough defender is a strong feature in the Roosters backlines, known for nullifying dangerous opposition small and medium forwards.
He has been sidelined for four matches since breaking his thumb against Casey Scorpions in round two – a game in which he too, played out the match.
North Melbourne-listed midfielder Liam Anthony has been named as a starter after withdrawing late last week, while the Roosters regain Kangaroo Taylor Garner, who returns from an ankle injury.
Forward Aaron Black has been named on an extended interchange for the Roosters and Kangaroos, who are yet to finalise their line-up before meeting Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
First-year Rooster Jesse Murphy (Warrack Eagles) will make his VFL senior debut as the Roosters’ 23rd man, trading spots with Sam Scott, who held the spot the past two matches.
Meanwhile, decorated Roosters midfielder Steve Clifton will celebrate a milestone with his 100th VFL senior game this weekend.
Clifton – a 2010 JJ Liston medallist and VFL representative player – rejoined the Roosters’ list this season after two years in Greater Western Sydney’s AFL squad.
INJURY LIST: Ben Peters (hamstring/knee) one week, Tom Watson (torn hamstring) one week, Chris Giampaolo (quad) three weeks, Michael Searl (broken hand) 3-4 weeks, Bill Driscoll (foot) 4-5 weeks, Nick Couch (knee) season, Beau Bennett (knee) season.