Key injury sours Cats win

July 7, 2024 11:55 am in by
Lara coach Shayne Stone speaks with his players at three-quarter time of the win over St Albans. (Darren Phillips)

A broken thumb suffered by star forward Mitch Day has taken the gloss off Lara’s second win of the GFNL season.

Day sustained the injury during the second quarter after kicking his fourth goal in the Cats’ seven-point win over St Albans at Concept Oval, 8.8 (56) to 7.7 (49).

Co-coach Shanye Stone says Day is set to undergo surgery, which will likely end his season prematurely for the second time in as many years.

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“We didn’t realise it at the time, but he played the game out,” Stone said.

“He had it strapped and was having trouble keeping it in – he thought it was just a dislocation.

“But, he’s had some x-rays last night, and he’s going to need surgery.

“When he went down, we lost our forward structure a little bit. He was still in there, but he probably didn’t have the impact he was having.

“I understand the pain that he would have been under. It’s incredible how he keeps going sometimes.”

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In a scrappy contest, Lara opened up a 22-point half-time lead on the back of Day’s first-half heroics.

But they had to withstand a final-quarter challenge from the Supersaints to snap a seven-game losing streak.

“It wasn’t pretty. We started really well, and we looked like we’d be able to kick a bit of a score,” Stone said.

“But, it wasn’t to be. They play their ground pretty well, and because there’s a lot of space, a lot of turnovers hurt you, and you play a little bit between the (50m) arcs.

“And there was a lot of pressure around the footy. They get their numbers back and try and get you from there.

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“To our boys’ credit, we transitioned pretty well, so we were able to stop them and not allow them to transition quickly.”

In his first game in over a month, co-coach Devon Smith finished with an incredible 48 disposals, of which 24 were contested.

He also tallied 12 clearances, 11 inside 50s, seven tackles and six marks.

However, the performance of ruck Ryan Bell drew the most praise from Stone.

“It was his best game,” Stone said. “He’s had a pretty good month; he’s starting to really come on, building those relationships with the mids.

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“His workrate around the ground and his ability to keep going is really good.

“He’s had a bit of a knee injury, but he’s pushed through, and it doesn’t seem to affect him out there.

“I think each week he’s got better and better.”

With Day’s influence limited by his injury, young defender Tom Gunther kicked a career-best three goals, ending a goalless drought stretching back to Round 8 last year.

He first came on the three-quarter time siren before adding another two in the final term.

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“We needed another option forward; we were just struggling to find that goalkicker,” Stone said.

“Defensively, our match-ups were OK.

“Because of the size of the ground, (and), because we had ‘Weigs’ (Daniel Weigl) across half-back, we could afford to float another intercepting rebounder forward.”

Lara’s win, coupled with the Cats’ A-grade netball claiming a one-goal victory, was enough for them to claim the inaugural Peter Kelly Cup.

Cody and Bailey Brogden were named St Albans’ best, while captain Jacob Russell’s 38 disposals were the most for the wooden spoon-bound Supersaints.

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They next face the unbeaten St Joseph’s at Drew Oval.

Lara will chase consecutive wins for the first time since Round 5 last year when it hosts North Shore for the Paddy Cahir Cup at Bisinella Oval.

The Cats-Seagulls clash will be broadcast on

X: @krockfootball