A SERIOUS leg injury to star playing coach Mitch Thorp soured any already unpleasant performance for Devonport in the twilight Coastal derby at West Park yesterday.
KICKING ON: Burnie’s Romain Grenville prepares to boot the Dockers forward in yesterday’s clash against Devonport. Picture: Katrina Docking.
Trailing by 43 points minutes into the last quarter against arch-rivals Burnie, the Magpies’ night went from bad to worse when their prized recruit went down clutching the lower part of his left leg.
He was helped from the field by two trainers in obvious pain and an ambulance arrived at the ground soon after.
Speaking from the hospital last night, Devonport president Shane Yates said X-rays showed Thorp had escaped a broken leg but he still had suffered significant ligament damage.
‘‘It’s probably at the better end of the scale than first feared,’’ Yates said.
It is unknown at this stage how long the injury will keep Thorp on the sidelines for, but more than likely it will be weeks rather than months.
‘‘It’s definitely not a dream start to his year but he’s not too despondent about the game,’’ Yates said of the 16.13 (109) to 9.5 (59) loss.
‘‘He realises that we’ve got a group of kids that still need to learn more about how to play.’’
The match started as most Coastal derbies do, with plenty of feeling and players wanting to throw their weight around.
Quick goals to Kade Pitchford, Thorp and Ben Hawkes saw the Magpies skip to a 21-point lead midway through the opening quarter.
But just as it appeared that Devonport were about to runaway in the battle for North-West supremacy, Burnie responded.
And it was their experienced campaigners who led from the front. Harry Walters, who was the inaugural Cameron Baird medallist, was influential in turning the tide.
By quarter-time the deficit had been cut back to eight and the momentum was firmly in the Dockers’ corner.
They carried that into the second term, where Nick McKenna and former AFL big man Cameron Cloke kicked two majors each as Burnie nailed five unanswered goals on the eve of half-time to hold a 21-point advantage.
Dockers coach Clint Proctor said he was ‘‘super rapt’’ with the win.
‘‘The boys, apart from the first 10 minutes or 20 minutes maybe where they were a little bit undisciplined, were fantastic,’’ Proctor said.
‘‘I won’t hide from it. Devonport were very lippy and tried to get the boys off their game but credit to them for three quarters they got back and got some composure and then we got our game going and we got on top.
‘‘I reckon it was a collective effort, I don’t think we had any passengers today.’’
McKenna, Cloke and Romain Grenville finished with three majors apiece for Burnie, while Thorp and Shaun McCrossen (two each) were the only multiple goalkickers for the Magpies.
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