LAVINGTON coach James Saker has hosed down talk that Myles Aalbers’ ankle injury is worse than first thought.
Aalbers hasn’t played since landing awkwardly against North Albury in round 4. He had been expected to return this week at the latest, after the interleague bye.
Despite missing selection for today’s clash with Wangaratta, Saker said there was nothing to worry about.
“It’s nothing too major,” Saker said.
“It was always looking like a three-to-four-week injury.
“He was a little bullish about getting back before then and, in the end, might have pushed it too hard to get back.
“We expect that he will be back next week.”
Saker said the Panthers were wary about playing the Pies this afternoon.
Wangaratta has won three of its past four games and will be bolstered by the return of VFL duo Josh Porter and Lee Dale today.
“We are treating them as a very dangerous side,” Saker said.
“They are in pretty decent form and get some top-end talent back this week.
“It’s a really important game for us.”
The Panthers have regained former St Kilda big man Justin Koschitzke.
He last played against Albury in round 5.
“He competed extremely well in that game. He seems to be a bit of a rain man, at the moment.
“Whenever he plays, it’s wet.
“We hope a few of our guys are refreshed after the break and, first and foremost, we want to take another step forward in terms of our pressure.
“Our team defence was where it needed to be against Wodonga Raiders and we need to build on that.”
Saker said he was thrilled to see star forward Adam Prior work himself into form with 11 goals for the Ovens and Murray last weekend.
He booted seven goals for the Panthers a week earlier.
“We were very happy to see he kicked accurately,” Saker said.
“Hopefully he can do the same for us.
“All our boys played well and got through, which is great.”