THE Mullumbimby Giants are at breaking point midway through the 2011 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League season.
Despite some impressive performances that has them sitting fourth on the ladder, they have lost plenty of youth and experience to crippling season and possible career-ending injuries in recent weeks.
A bruising encounter against Marist Brothers on the weekend saw second rower Brett Archibald stretchered off with a neck injury. He remains in hospital on the Gold Coast.
Young winger Sam Roberts suffered a fractured eye socket and stand-out second rower Satuala Siamoa has been in a leg brace since the 18-8 defeat.
“You have to take the good with the bad and just cop it on the chin,” Giants coach Damon Scott said.
“Our prop Dan Moloneer has a broken leg, so that’s him gone for the season.
“Brett is still in hospital with a neck injury and will probably never play rugby league again, which is sad.
“Scott Hogan broke his ribs back in round two and I still don’t know how far away he is from returning either.”
The premiership-winning coach even tried to convince veteran second rower Luke Scott (no relation) to return to the club from work and family commitments, but he is still unavailable.
“We just can’t seem to get a break at the moment,” Damon Scott said.
“Family comes first, so there is no pressure for Luke to come back until he is ready.
“Hopefully playing at home this weekend will spur us on and keep us in touch with the top four heading into the bye.”
The Giants face Ballina Seagulls who have had their own change of fortune in recent weeks.
After a torrid month of injuries and poor numbers at training, they have won their last two matches with makeshift halfback Joel Roberts performing strongly.
“Joel plays above his weight and has really knuckled down this season,” Ballina captain-coach Don Dickson said.
“We had a bit of a team meeting at training a few weeks ago and what was said really seemed to hit home.”
Despite the injury list, Dickson is wary of an ambush at Mullumbimby this weekend.
“They’re always a different story up there, so we can’t take them lightly no matter what’s happened to them,” he said.
“Our lower grade players have been forced to step up this season and we’ve shown that you don’t need to have a team full of superstars to win games.”