Last year’s Football Brisbane Reserve grade Golden Boot winner Andrew Korner is keen to return following a much-needed operation.
Last year’s Football Brisbane Reserve grade Golden Boot winner Andrew Korner is keen to return following a much-needed operation. Sarah Harvey

Injury robs Knights of strike weapon

THE Ipswich Knights' dressing room is a lot quieter when Andrew Korner is absent.

The proud team man regularly leads a boisterous victory song when the Knights win.

However, Korner has been missed in the Knights Division 1 side for another important reason - as a powerful striker capable of setting up and scoring goals.

With the Knights' top side struggling to find the net, Korner would have been a valuable impact player off the bench.

However, last year's Reserve grade Golden Boot winner has been sidelined since a painful hip injury flared after his first game against Albany Creek.

Korner recently had an arthroscopy on his troublesome left hip.

The surgery involved removing cartilage and a big section of bone off the top of his femur.

"It was rubbing inside the hip joint, grinding out all the cartilage that was in there," said Korner, 29.

After his operation on April 19, he's back on his feet, having put away the crutches he needed last weekend.

Being just days after surgery in Brisbane Private Hospital, Korner is playing a waiting game as to when he can return to the field.

"It's hard to tell," he said, having another appointment with the doctor before plotting his next step.

"It's still a bit sore but I'm walking around.

"If it all goes to plan, I'll be able to go back and play in a couple of months."

However, Korner is treading carefully after the doctor said the joint was in bad shape.

"I'll just take it easy for a while," he said. "I won't even start running for maybe a week or two yet and I'll see how it goes.

"It should be an improvement on how it was beforehand anyway."

Korner's latest surgery follows a similar procedure on his right hip at the end of 2008.

The Queensland Times journalist returned to the field after that so is keen to do the same this time.

"I miss being around the team and that," he said. "It's hard not being able to take part."

Booval-based Korner scored 20 goals from 19 games in Division 1 Reserves to be the competition's leading goal-scorer last season.

As the Knights prepare for tonight's clash with Mitchelton at Teralba Park, Korner offered his insight into why the Knights are stranded mid-table with just two wins and two draws from seven games.

"It's disappointing. They're not scoring enough goals," he said.

"The whole team are not attacking enough."

However, like head coach Ashley Hempstead, Korner is backing his team to turn it around.

Hempstead was as keen as the players for an injury update on Korner.

"Andy has got that presence about him," Hempstead said.

"We miss him, especially when Griff (Trent Griffiths) is out."

Hempstead is hoping the return of Griffiths tonight lifts his side.

That is the major change, along with captain Stephen Hughes moving from sweeper into the midfield.

"Griffo is very vital to Ipswich Knights," Hempstead said.

"Every time Griffo plays, we play so much better.

"The same as Griffo, Hughesy is vital to that team.

"I've gone back through it and what's going wrong is our core players haven't been able to play consistently.

"We've just got to hang in there and our luck will change."

The Knights had a productive training session on Tuesday night with Brisbane Roar youth assistant coach Joel Smith.



Division 1: Tonight (5.45pm): Ipswich City v Rocklea at Rocklea United Sports Complex; 6pm: Ipswich Knights v Mitchelton at Teralba Park; 6.30pm: Western Spirit v Southside Eagles at Memorial Park.

SEQ Diamond League: Tonight (6pm) - v Sunshine Coast at Bundamba.

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