Injuries upset Bluebirds direct flight into finals
SWIFTS Bluebirds are playing a waiting game in more ways than one.
As they prepare for the Ipswich A Grade match of the round at Purga against the Bombers on Sunday, a lengthy injury list has coach Steve O'Connell with one eye on the finals and the other on making sure he has 17 healthy players to take the field.
The Bluebirds are in fourth position on the ladder. If they don't win against Fassifern, they will likely remain there for the rest of the season.
They were given a touch-up last week by Goodna and O'Connell said the challenge was just as immense against the competition leaders.
"We've got heaps of injuries at the moment. There are more A Graders out than there are in, but we'll turn up,” he said.
"Goodna were red hot last week and we seemed to get them on the bounce (after a loss).
"Our Reserve Grade can play in the finals so I don't want to strangle their numbers and make them play up like we did last week.
"We have secured a spot in the top four so we've just got to get our players back.
"We are looking forward to the bye the week after and hopefully then our players will start to roll back in.”
Inspirational captain Jaydn Callan is still out with injury while form fullback Ratunaisa Vatuinaruku is battling an eye injury.
Against the Bombers the aim is to stay positive and try to stay in the game.
"We were pretty good for half an hour last week before Liam Callan was taken out and hit the goalpost and hurt his back, and he didn't finish the game,” O'Connell said.
"At the moment it is looking like he will play.
"Jaydn will probably get a game in before the finals.”
Ipswich Jets BRL player Aiden Boyce had a blinder last week in the second-row for the Swifts after coming back from injury.
He will play if he gets through the Jets game today.
"Aiden is just a good young kid who always has a go. He's tough defensively and is just a footballer,” he said.
The Bombers also have five top line players out including World Cup winner and former NRL star David Fa'alogo with a hamstring injury.
Club president Kent West said Fa'alogo was a week-to-week proposition and the Bombers would not be rushing him back with the finals on the horizon.
The Bombers won their first A grade competition in 2012 and they are on track to at least give themselves another crack at repeating that feat.
Fassifern's A Grade side is on top of the ladder with reserves in fourth.
West said the senior strength of the club this season was being fed off by the players.
"I have always said you need to have a good Reserve Grade side to make a good A Grade side,” he said.
"Our Reserve Grade side has got to win every game here on in, but when you have have both sides playing well then one feeds off the other.”