Another season-ending knee operation to Alex Kantarovski, a host of other injury losses and a rule change have left Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich in a bittersweet situation.
Kantarovski, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament early in 2015, hurt the same knee in training before the 7-0 loss to Maitland on May 7. Not believing it was serious, the holding midfielder planned to play against Maitland but pulled out in the warm-up.
Scans later revealed a rupture to the repaired ACL in what Zadkovich said was a “big blow” to his side.
Magic are also without defenders Jon Griffiths (shoulder), Scott Robertson (ankle) and Lawrence Foteff (hip) for the immediate future, while the versatile Jayden Barber (knee) has withdrawn.
Before this year, Zadkovich would have been able to sign a player from a rival club on an injury waiver for Kantarovski outside the windows for player points system (PPS) roster changes.
However, that concession was removed before this season after being seen as a loophole allowing clubs to poach players. Clubs are still able to recruit players on injury waivers from outside the NNSW NPL before June 30. Zadkovich believes the change encourages clubs to look past local talent.
“By putting the rule in, all the association has done is made it very difficult to replace someone with quality,” Zadkovich said. “We’ve lost Alex Kantarovski, one of our best midfielders, but we can’t sign anyone else from this league.
“We’ve got to go outside this league and you think that means going to Sydney or further. Then you’ve got to get them to come here and we’re not one of the big-money clubs. Broadmeadow has never been that type of club that’s going to lure big-name players and throw money at them.
“I don’t understand the rule because there are probably guys that are decent footballers in this league who are not getting the game time they’d like and potentially could come and play. That is promoting footballers and giving them an opportunity in this league. But we can’t do it and I find it very frustrating.”
The first-year coach said Magic were without four starting players and he would again turn to youngsters like Jeremy Wilson, Charlie Cox and Jacob Dowse for the FFA Cup game against New Lambton at Alder Park on Wednesday night and against Hamilton on Sunday.
“The situation forces me to do something I like doing anyway, that’s putting my faith into the young kids at my club,” he said.
“They will get that opportunity tomorrow night and again on Sunday, and they will be well equipped to give it a crack. If they fall short, we certainly won’t be hanging them out to dry.
“They good footballers and the future of the club, but are they ready to tackle Olympic in a derby? We’re about to find out.”