WANGARATTA coach Mark Knobel says the Magpies have had no choice other than to laugh off their injury woes.
Knobel yesterday described the club’s plight as the worst he had endured in coaching with the senior and reserve grade tally hitting 24 before last weekend’s general bye.
The return of Joel Harris (shoulder), Xavier Norden (ankle) and Josh Owen (concussion) will ease some of the pressure when Wangaratta takes on Myrtleford at Norm Minns Oval on Saturday.
“We got to one stage at round three or four when it started to build and we were disappointed and frustrated,” he said.
“But then we lost two or three a week and we just sort of had to laugh it off.
“If we worried about it, it would have been too much.
“All we could do was have a chuckle and just let it ride.
“They were mostly non-tissue injuries.
“While I haven’t seen anything like it before, it’s been a chance to play our kids.”
Daine and Judd Porter, Ben Henwood, Jade Cleeland, Jamie Allan, Justin Hoggan, Louis Vescio, Luke Mullins, Matt Grossman, Matt Kelly and Zack Leitch are the only Magpie players to have lined-up in 10 or more matches this season.
Wangaratta, sitting two wins and percentage outside the top-five, plays the Saints, Wodonga, Wangaratta Rovers, North Albury, Lavington, Wodonga Raiders and Albury in the run home.
Knobel said the Magpies still hoped to playing in the August 31 elimination final.
“We have seven games to go and Albury is a tough one, obviously, but we have six very winnable games,” he said.
“If we can win the first one against Myrtleford and get on a roll, you never know.
“As more players come back into the team, it might give us some momentum.
“We can’t afford to slip up and we probably have to rely on other results.”