ECHUCA Football Club has let one of its star recruits go mid-season.
Corey Hargrave was picked up by the Murray Bombers in December 2016 as a way of bringing some strength to its midfield, but he played just two senior games for the club before fracturing his knee cap.
He has struggled with a groin injury in recent weeks, playing the previous two rounds in reserves.
He was cleared by the club on Thursday night to play out the rest of the year at his home club Murrumbeena.
Echuca president Brett Stevens said it was a mutual agreement between Hargrave and the club, having spoken with the recruit prior to the decision.
‘‘He was struggling to run out senior games with his injuries,’’ Stevens said.
‘‘He played a couple of games in the reserves, but we wanted to give him the opportunity to return to help out his home team before the clearance cut-off.
‘‘He appreciated that and made the decision to return.’’
Stevens said Hargrave couldn’t see himself getting back to peak fitness before the season end and it wasn’t fair to hold him to a contract if that was the case.
Echuca still has one of its off-season recruits when it travels to Deakin Reserve tomorrow to take on Shepparton United.
Coach Andrew Briggs said he was confident heading into the clash especially coming off their last game against Seymour.
‘‘Our tackling pressure in the first quarter was probably the best it had been all season,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘We produced a strong four quarters, even if we didn’t hit the scoreboard as much as we would’ve liked in the second quarter.’’
One goal and three behinds from 16 inside 50s wasn’t the greatest conversion rate from the Murray Bombers, but gave them enough forward entries to see out the game.
Simon Buckley and Kane Morris were again influential in the game with the young ones stepping up to impress also.
Ben Costello, Nathan Bottomley and James McNamara had 27 tackles between them which helped keep the ball locked in their forward half.
Elliot Stewart and Angus Byrne were other young players showing a lot of promise this year.
The last two weeks has seen the Murray Bombers generate a lot more inside 50s and Briggs said it was now a matter of finishing off that last kick.
Echuca was down two rotations in the third term with injuries to Morris and Cameron Valentine.
Both were doubtful of a return for tomorrow’s game.