Stagg set for stint on the sidelines

Hayden Stagg will miss the entire 2024 season after tearing his ACL. 361017 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

Berwick Springs’ first chapter under the new leadership team of Hayden Stagg and Chris Johnson was dealt a crushing blow before the season begun last week with a knee injury ruling Stagg out for the remainder of the year.

Stagg, runner up in last season’s Harold Ramage Medal count as the best player in Outer East Football Netball Division One, tore his ACL at training on the eve of the club’s season opener against Gembrook Cockatoo.

The decorated midfielder was slated to be a playing coach alongside long-time friend and teammate Chris Johnson, but will now remove the playing component from his title.

“It’s the unfortunate thing about footy, sometimes these things do happen,” Stagg said.

“I haven’t done one before but as soon as it happened, it hurt like hell.

“I knew without knowing, you get that sick feeling in your stomach.

“All the signs were leading to it – you hear the crack, you hear the pop and that’s all the signs that you really need to hear.

“I was hopeful, but then the MRI came back it was ‘no, you’re done’.”

Stagg will have the knee operated on next week before beginning the long road to recovery.

He was forced to watch from the sidelines as his side relinquished a 25-point lead to a barnstorming Gembrook Cockatoo on Saturday, going down by eight points in the finish.

He said the game will be ‘character building’ for both sides.

“We didn’t stick to our game plan in the last quarter,” he said.

“Credit to Gembrook, they played well and put the pressure on us in the last quarter.

“100 per cent they deserved to win, they were with us all day.

“Especially going up a division, we can’t afford to have lapses, we’re not at that level yet where we can get away with it.

“We’ve got play the full two hours of every game.”

Berwick Springs will tackle Pakenham at Toomuc Reserve on Saturday.