Seagulls captain could return with two debutants
PREMIERSHIP-winning captain Clinton Horne could return for Hervey Bay Seagulls on Sunday.
Injuries to key personnel Koli Oneone and Elijah Alefaio and Joedyn Blake's suspension add to a long list of unavailable players that includes coach Jai Ingram and veteran utility Joel McCrea, who is at long odds to make the Salter Oval clash.
Horne's return is arguably Hervey Bay's biggest positive for Sunday's clash with Wests Panthers, though his minutes will be restricted.
It will be Horne's first A-grade game of the season, but if everything goes to plan he will play only the last portion of the match (if at all).
"I'll see how we're going. If we're winning then I might stay off altogether," he said.
"I could've come back a few weeks ago but I wanted to get my strength and fitness back.
"Ducky (Joel Denduck), Damian Otto, Ashley O'Donnell and Kimiti (Logona Vetemotu) have all played well. We haven't lost without them so I thought about retiring."
A veteran playmaker known for his ability to control a game's tempo and rally the red and green faithful, Horne injects a wealth of experience to a side that features two debutants.
Vetemotu, the competition's leading point-scorer and most accurate goalkicker, has been named at five-eight with Central Crows representative Dylan Glynn at fullback in his first A-grade game.
Otto, who has played most games at five-eighth this season, will start at lock.
Jayden McCloskey and Dan Goodwin were named on the bench, while former Wallaroo Roger Rainbow will play his first A-grade game for Hervey Bay this year.
"Dylan and Jayden have earned their spots and Roger's been in A-grade before so he knows what it's all about," Horne said.
The Salter Oval game kicks off at 1.20pm.