Eagles focus on local talent as injuries hit hard

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
Former WAFL midfielder Aaron Elari has left the Collie Eagles as the team focuses on its youth for the rest of 2018.
Camera IconFormer WAFL midfielder Aaron Elari has left the Collie Eagles as the team focuses on its youth for the rest of 2018. Credit: Mitchell Woodcock / South Western Times

Collie Eagles coach Seth White has decided to focus on youth as the club looks to finish a horror season on a high.

Injuries have ravaged the Eagles and it has continued to get worse, with former WAFL midfielder Michael Florio having surgery last week after tearing his hamstring off the bone, while ruckmen Paul Rinder (knee), Jared Debenham (ankle) and midfielder Corey Griggs (foot) are all set to miss Sunday’s clash with the Eaton Boomers at Glen Huon Reserve.

The club also agreed to part ways with former WAFL players Aaron Elari and Joel Leeson, who have headed to Federals in the Avon Football Association and Dalwallinu, in the Mortlock Football League.

“It was a mutual agreement,” Eagles coach Seth White said.

“Joel missed home a bit and obviously Aaron came to play with Joel and Florio.

“With Florio out for the season and Joel leaving, it was an easy decision for both parties.

“Ultimately on our end, we can focus on the locals now and get some games into them.”

White said the club had struggled with injuries, but he refused to use it as an excuse.

“We had a few more big ones (injuries) at the weekend and they will be the hardest to cover,” he said.

“But we will just keep on fronting up and doing our best. That is all I can ask of them.”

The first-year coach acknowledged that Florio’s career at the Eagles had been marred by injuries, with the hard-running wingman playing just 28 games in his three seasons at the club.

White said he was not sure if Florio would play again.

“I have spoken to him about it,” he said.

“He will go through the rehab and get his body right.

“I hope he has another crack at it. Whether it is with us or with another club, I just hope he gets back to playing footy.

“He is not old by any means. Lets just see what happens after his recovery.”

White said he was not sure how he would cover the loss of Rinder and Debenham in the ruck this weekend.

“It works for Richmond, so we might just have to play small,” he said.

“We probably won’t have a bloke over six foot in our side.”

The one-time assistant coach believes his team will now focus on giving the top teams a shake up.

“The competition is probably keeping us in it,” he said.

“We will just focus on what we are doing.”

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