Back pain has put Kayne Pettifer out of the game. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Back pain has put Kayne Pettifer out of the game. Picture: TARA GOONAN

REIGNING premier Yarrawonga has ruled star forward Kayne Pettifer out of Saturday’s clash against Albury at J.C. Lowe Oval.

Pettifer was a late withdrawal with back soreness at the weekend with Pigeon co-coach Chris Kennedy saying yesterday the former Richmond sharpshooter had been battling the problem for weeks.

“He hurt his back a while ago and it’s been stiff for a few weeks now,” Kennedy said.

“It gradually got worse so he’ll be out until he’s right.

“He just needs to rest it.”

Pettifer’s absence is a huge blow for Yarrawonga considering his form against Albury last season.

He starred with 22 possessions and three goals in last year’s grand final at Lavington Oval and kicked four majors in their 10-point win at J.C. Lowe Oval in round 9.

The news comes on top of midfielder Tim Cooper being unavailable for three matches as he is overseas.

Kennedy said the spasmodic Pigeons showed encouraging signs in defeating Wodonga Raiders last weekend but would need to lift to bring down the ladder leaders.

“It was a step back in the right direction for a half,” Kennedy said.

“We were good for a while and then dropped off again.

“It’s a confidence thing and hopefully we can improve on that performance against Albury.

“They are flying.”

Albury’s biggest injury concern is John Mitchell.

Mitchell came off early against Wangaratta and had his knee and lower leg iced by quarter-time of the Tigers’ 192-point win.

Noted big-match performer Andy Carey shapes as a possible inclusion.

Tiger veteran Matt Shir took a step forward in his return from an Achilles injury by doing the running on Saturday.