LAVINGTON star Luke Garland says he’s prepared to spend a month on the sidelines if it means he’ll be fit for the business end of the season.
The Panthers’ reigning best and fairest said he would take no risks after developing back soreness from a bulging disc.
He won’t play against Wodonga tonight and is no certainty to return for round 2 either.
“I want to be really diligent with it,” Garland said.
“It’s one of those things that if I’m not smart, it can potentially be an ongoing problem and I’ll end up with a long stint on the sidelines.
“I’d rather miss a month and come good late in the year than battle all season with it.
“The aim is to play against Myrtleford after the bye but if it’s not 100 per cent, I won’t play.”
Garland admitted he’s disappointed he won’t be playing tonight after a summer filled with positive news for the club.
“It’s been pretty hard to deal with,” he said.
“You can’t help but have a smile on your face at the moment because it’s such a positive time for the club and I’d love to be out there.”
Someone who will be there is youngster Chris Annett.
Annett was a surprise selection and will play his first senior game for the Panthers under lights against Wodonga.
He won Lavington’s thirds best and fairest last season.
“He’s more or less played his way into the team,” coach James Saker said.
The Bulldogs will have plenty of new faces, with John Pratt, Zach Jones, Jared Worsteling, Andrew Carter, Will Blomeley and Nathan McKendrick joining the club over the summer.
Ryan Cannon, who kicked 45 goals for Wodonga in the reserves last season, will make his senior debut.