Hockey: Appendicitis surgery rules Souths forward out of final with Norths BATTLE: Norths and Souths will continue their long-running rivalry in the Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League preliminary final at Newcastle on Sunday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
TweetFacebook HCPHL: Norths v SouthsPictures by Max Mason-HubersNSW Country representative Darby Chalmers won’t line-up for Souths inSunday’s preliminary final against traditional rivals Norths after undergoing surgery for appendicitis this week.
Chalmers was rushed to hospital on Wednesday night and has since been cleared, but he will be unavailable for the do-or-die Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League clash in Newcastle.
“He [Chalmers] sent me a text when he was going into surgery saying he’d be out for the weekend,” Souths player-coach John Fernance said.
“He’s okay now, which is good. Butit’s not ideal for us. It’sa bit of a loss.”
Fernance said he may move back intothe forward line himself to replace Chalmers as Souths look to book a grand final appearance for the first time since 2014 after falling one game short at thecorresponding stagethe last three seasons.
The experienced campaigner, a major part of the Lions’ 10-straight showdowns from 2002 to 2011, said the other option minus Chalmers would be topromote Seb Rollingsfrom the bench to start up front.
“I’m not 100 percent sure which way I will go yet,” Fernance said. “I’ll just see how we get through training and go from there.”
Souths are coming off a 2-1 win over Wests in the weekend’s minor semiwhile Norths were thumped 5-0 in the major semi by grand final bound Gosford on the Central Coast.
Norths, who have made the last eight deciders for five premierships, remainunchanged for Sunday and coach Dave Willott said he was confident the Blues could bounce back.
“They [Gosford] were just better than us last week,” Willott said.“Once they got a roll on we couldn’t stop them even though we created a few opportunities.
“Controlling the midfield again will be key for us and putting our chances away.”
Norths have won two of three previous encounters with Souths this year, 5-1 most recently on August 5 and 4-1 on May 19. It was a 1-all draw in round two.
Battles between Norths and Souths presenta recurring theme across the board in the 2018 play-offs. The third-grade preliminary final also features the same two clubs this weekend while in the junior ranks the Blues and Lions gohead-to-head infour grand finals (under 11s, 13s, 15s, 17s).
Sunday’s first grade fixture starts at 1:30pm.
Meanwhile,in the Newcastle District Women’s Hockey Association Premier Leagueand in a replay of last year’s decider defending champions Tigers meet Souths in a do-or-die,minor semi-final at Newcastle on Saturday.Oxfords visit the Central Coast to clash with Avoca Beach-The Entrance in the major semi-final on the same afternoon.