By ZAC MILBANK
Norwood coach Jarrod Cotton has revealed the club remains hopeful star recruit Ryan Bastinac will line up in the 2020 Statewide Super League season.
Admitting Bastinac’s availability was still ”up in the air”, Cotton said the former North Melbourne and Brisbane midfielder could yet play in as many as 9 to 10 games for the Redlegs this year.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, the SANFL Player/Coach Life Member said arrangements for Bastinac’s potential return could progress once South Australian border restrictions are lifted on July 20 for domestic flights to resume.
The 28-year-old’s presence would certainly assist Norwood’s premiership chances as it prepares to face the past two premiers in Glenelg and North Adelaide in the opening two rounds at Adelaide Oval.
All other recruits including South’s Emmanuel Irra and Geelong VFL’s Nik Rokahr are set to don the red and blue while veteran Richard Douglas is in excellent shape after the extended break due to the Covid-19 shutdown.
Cotton admitted Douglas will certainly see midfield action in Round 1 and 2 at Adelaide Oval, as he seeks to tap into the 33-year-old’s experience of playing at the ground for the Crows.
Premiership ruckman Sam Baulderstone remains in good condition after posting his best preseason at The Parade while the break has been beneficial for one of his deputies in Luke Surman, who has now overcome a back complaint.
With Henry Crauford snapped up by Essendon earlier this year, Cotton said he would use Surman more in the ruck to support Baulderstone after the former Hawthorn-listed bigman played strongly there to earn the Bob Lee Medal in last year’s Reserves Grand Final.
Youngsters Sam Barnett (foot) and Tyler Martin (elbow) have also recovered from their ailments while Lachlan Pascoe, Sam Buckham and last year’s Reserves Magarey Medallist, Jed Spence, are others set to push for League selection.