Ghosts leader Ben McLennan crosses the halfway line during the Group 2 first grade second round clash between Grafton Ghosts and Sawtell Panthers at Frank McGuren Field.
Ghosts leader Ben McLennan crosses the halfway line during the Group 2 first grade second round clash between Grafton Ghosts and Sawtell Panthers at Frank McGuren Field. Matthew Elkerton

Ghosts get big return but injuries still take a toll

RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton Ghosts have been given a major boost for their road trip to Nambucca Heads Roosters tomorrow with the return of captain-coach Danny Wicks.

But the leader's return merely masks the true depth of the Ghosts' injury crisis with five-eighth Jacob Cameron-Clarke the latest to join the casualty ward.

The full extent of centre Dylan Collett's injury has also come to light in the past week, an MRI revealing the centre tore a tendon in his shoulder in the opening round of the season.

The club's injury ward also has Tim Tilse, Matt Muller, Daniel Lavender, Blake Winmill, Mitch Gorman, Dan Kilroy and Joel Moss.

Wicks believes the blame for the crisis belongs to the club's disrupted pre-season in which they had no training lights at Frank McGuren Field.

"It's funny because earlier in the season all of our injuries were contact-related, and that's just footy,” he said.

"But lately it has been more running injuries likes pulls and tears. It could stem from the fact I overloaded a few blokes in pre-season.

"We were doing so much sprint work because we didn't have a ground to use, and I didn't take into account other sports. I was probably a bit selfish and overloaded a couple of the guys.”

While named in the starting side, Wicks said his condition was still touch and go with the injury flaring from time to time.

Lock Ben McLennan will shift into the halves for the clash at Coronation Park, while Michael Curnow has switched out to left centre for Luke Collison.

McLennan has played a few games in the halves in recent seasons, and while he wasn't Wicks' first choice, the captain-coach said it would still be business as usual.

"He tell's me he played as a half in a grand final once upon a time, he tells me it quite often actually,” Wicks said.

"At the end of the day he knows our structures, he knows our gameplan, so nothing should change.

"I just don't know if I'm ready to give him a kicking license just yet.”

While Nambucca Heads will still be licking their wounds from a demoralising 128-4 loss to Orara Valley last weekend, Wicks said he was taking nothing for granted.

"I know they were on the wrong end of a very long stick last week, but they did travel away for that game,” he said.

"At home there could be any number of blokes come out of the woodwork for the game, we will just have to cross the bridge when it comes.”

GHOSTS SIDE: 1. Cooper Woods, 2. Carson Galloway, 3. Cameron Stewart, 4. Michael Curnow, 5. Jay Olsen, 6. Ben McLennan, 7. Jake Frame, 8. Riley Law, 9. Todd Cameron, 10. Adam Slater, 11. Danny Wicks (c/c), 12. Luke Collison, 13. Cameron Winters