Carpenter in doubt after hamstring twinge

WANGARATTA Rovers ace Sam Carpenter could miss this week’s clash with Wodonga.

Hawks’ coach Mick Caruso said the club would take no risks with its star recruit, who came off with hamstring tightness during Saturday’s 71-point win over Wodonga Raiders.

Carpenter, who signed with the Hawks over the summer, came off late in the second quarter and played no role in the match after half-time.

Caruso said there was no point risking their new star ball-winner so early in the season.

“We’ll just see how it goes this week,” Caruso said.

“If he’s still feeling a bit of tightness we won’t risk him.

“He was just tight in the hamstring and we didn’t want to risk it.

“We still had two very fresh players on the bench.”

Last year’s preliminary finalist had little trouble accounting for a depleted Raiders’ side playing its first game under coach Ken Stevenson.

Ryan Stone was the star of the show, booting five goals for the Hawks, while midfielders Jamie Sheahan and Sam Caruso also played prominent roles in the win.

But coach Caruso was far from happy with the Hawks’ performance.

“We’ll certainly take the four points,” Caruso said.

“But there’s a lot of areas we need to improve on. We showed a lack of respect at times and zoned off.

“There was a real lack of protection, too.

“Guys kept getting ahead of themselves and were always asking for the ball and wanted to get their hands on the ball but forgot about the real basics.

“I just think we needed a bit more run and carry through midfield.”

Caruso said Saturday’s standard would not hold up against competition heavyweights Albury and Yarrawonga.

“They’d make us pay big time,” he said.

“That’s no disrespect to Wodonga Raiders but we’ve just got to be better at executing our skills.”

Raiders’ coach Stevenson revealed he had made a mistake in playing star forward Dean Limbach, who finished with three goals and showed enough to suggest he’ll trouble defenders this year.

“We shouldn’t have played him, really,” Stevenson said.

“He got a bad cork two weeks ago and we were hopefully he’d be at least 80 per cent.

“But in hindsight, he was probably only 60.

“That’s my mistake.”

Dean Heta made a surprise appearance for the Raiders and was their best player in defeat.

However, he’s no certainty to play for the club again, despite cancelling a clearance to the VAFA during the week.

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