Ballard to miss big season game

Football
Nanjing Night Net

DANE Ballard has been ruled out of Yoogali Soccer Club’s massive top-of-the-table clash with Hanwood FC on Friday night due to suspension.

In a massive setback for YSC, the Scottish striker will miss his side’s biggest game this season after accruing three yellow cards over the first seven rounds of the local competition, automatically triggering a one-game ban.

Ballard leads the GDFA goalscorers list with 17 goals, eight clear of his nearest rivals.

He helped himself to 11 goals against a nine-man Northbridge FC side in YSC’s 17-0 State Cup win on Sunday, also bringing his tally in the statewide knockout competition to that same number – 17.

“It’s a big blow for us, no doubt, but over the course of the year these things happen,” YSC coach Sante Donadel said.

“You’re going to have players who can’t play because of yellow cards or injuries or whatever. Obviously we’d rather he was able to play.

“I think Hanwood are more disappointed than what I am because they were keen to play us at full strength, but we can’t change the rules.

“We’ve got to deal with it the best way we can.”

Donadel said he received confirmation from the Griffith District Football Association late last week that Ballard was to serve a suspension in round 8 of the competition.

While he was allowed to play in the State Cup, he was banned from playing the reserve grade fixture against Hanwood FC later on Sunday afternoon, which finished 2-1 in YSC’s favour.

Ryan Spencer and Luke Condon – the two players Donadel named as the “frontrunners” to slip into Ballard’s position at the point of attack – both played in the reserves game.

“Those two are probably the frontrunners for that spot at the moment,” Donadel said.

“It just depends on this week and who’s good (at training). We’ll have a decent bench so we can always swap things around on the day.

“It’s fortunate that we’re starting to get a few guys back from injury, which helps. I’m lucky I’ve got a few options.”

Dane Ballard

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