VFL: Couch, Searl ruled out of Roosters' Bendigo bout

Roosters Nick Couch and Michael Searl have been ruled out of Bendigo bout.
Roosters Nick Couch and Michael Searl have been ruled out of Bendigo bout.

ROOSTERS' hard man Nick Couch and captain Michael Searl have been ruled out of action this week against Bendigo.

Couch pulled up with knee soreness following North Ballarat Roosters' 40-point win against Northern Blues in the Victorian Football League on Sunday.

Selkirk Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said that, particularly because Couch was making his way back from a knee reconstruction, club medical staff did not want to risk further injury.

FitzGerald said the Roosters had been fortunate to get the game time they had out of their on-field leader already this season.

Scans have confirmed that Searl, a late withdrawal at the weekend, had a fractured rib and would not be considered for selection until after next week's bye round.

Fellow tall Jordan Staley remains in doubt to face Bendigo at Eureka Stadium on Saturday.

Staley was a late withdrawal against the Blues when scans on Friday morning confirmed he had a ligament strain in his ankle.

FitzGerald said there was a strong and hungry band of players pushing for selection that could get their chance this week.

Ballarat Swans' ruckman Sam Conroy was promoted for Staley and impressed in a tandem ruck role with Eric Wallace after working hard to fine-tune his fitness and on-field form.

Sam Scott (Leopold) and David Peel (Geelong West-St Peters), both held over as Roosters emergencies at the weekend, have been in good form in the Geelong Football League.

Redan onballer Chris Giampaolo has been a key player for the Lions in the Ballarat Football League and booted two goals for Victoria Country in the AFL Victoria Community Cup on Sunday.

"We look at all our blokes in match practice every Wednesday night and it's filmed so we can take a good look exactly where they're at," FitzGerald said.

"We monitor their training form, their attitude to training and if their local club is playing them in the role we think we need."

This Sunday marks the last North Ballarat and Bendigo bout in the VFL, for the foreseeable future, after Gold announced late last month that it would fold at the end of this season.

Winless this season, Gold is a dangerous prospect in the VFL and twice in the past month has had matches snatched from its grasp on the final siren.

FitzGerald has maintained all year that Gold will win a game this year, it was only a matter of time, and he does not want it to be at the Roosters' expense.

The Roosters defeated Gold by 94 points in Swan Hill when they last met in late May.


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