AN INJURY cloud hangs over Denman prop Ben Hagan as the reigning premiers prepare for their toughest test of the new A Plus Contracting Group 21 season.
The Devils host Greta Branxton Colts in a grand final replay at Denman Oval tomorrow, the scene of last year’s 20-4 premiership success.
However Denman captain-coach Blake Dureu is unsure whether Hagan will play.
“We won’t be at full strength,” Dureau said of the grand final replay.
“We’ve got a couple away at a wedding and Ben is not real sure. He’s been carrying an injury and might not be right.
“Other than that we should be close in what is probably going to be another step up for us.
“We’re going to have to play well to beat Greta.
“They didn’t play last week and will be itching to play us.”
Hagan’s possible loss would be a big blow for the Devils.
He and Garry McKeon have been the Devils’ best.
“Garry will play either hooker or lock,” Dureau said.
“He played hooker all last year and, with Ben, always plays the 80 minutes
“He also helps me out.”
McKeon’s ability to get out of dummy half and find runners in holes has been a major attacking weapon for the Devils.
Dureau’s big boot, which saw him launch some spectacular, booming bombs in last year’s grand final win, will also be a feature.
Also the fact young junior Hamish Wolfgang made his first grade debut is another plus for the Devils.
“He showed he can handle it,” Dureau said.
“He played a full game on the wing, scored two tries and would have taken a lot of confidence out of that back to the 18s.
“We might use him at different stages during the year because he showed he can handle it.”
Group 21’s third round kicks off at McKinnon Field, Aberdeen tonight when the Muswellbrook Rams arrive to tackle the Tigers.
It continues with tomorrow’s grand final replay as well as Scone’s trip to ResCo Park and a clash with Singleton Greyhounds.