ILLAWARRA coach Rob Beveridge is confident he’ll have AJ Ogilvy on deck for Sunday’s clash with Perth in Wollongong after the star big man was a telling absence in the Hawks heavy defeat to Melbourne on Monday night.
Ogilvy was a game-day withdrawal from the clash after a groin injury sustained at training failed to come good in time for tip-off. It compounded the loss of star import Demitrius Conger, who missed the match through suspension.
Conger will return against the Wildcats and Beveridge believes Ogilvy will join him on the floor at the WEC.
“[Ogilvy] did it last Wednesday at practice. He felt his groin go and he hasn’t trained since,” Beveridge said.
“It’s been getting better every day and we were hoping he’d be good to go but in the shoot around [Monday] morning it just didn’t feel right.
“He was all right going in straight lines but laterally, it was just hurting too much. The last thing we need is an injury that was going to put him out long-term.”
Ogilvy and Conger’s absence was conspicuous in the rebound column, with United dominating on the glass, pulling down 51 boards to the Hawks’ 28. The dominance showed at both ends, with United snatching 15 offensive boards and posting 24 second-chance points to eight. Beveridge conceded his side didn’t match United’s physicality on the glass.
“You’re always up against when you lose two of your best defenders and two of your best rebounders,” Beveridge said.
“You look at players like [Josh] Boone who’s the leading rebounder in the league, particularly offensively. The guy’s just incredible at keeping it alive and we just weren’t physical enough to be able to keep them off the boards.
“I think we were watching too much and they were just too big and too athletic. In saying that, next week we’ve got Conger and next week we’ve got AJ and hopefully that will sort that issue out.”
The loss saw the Hawks slip to 5-7 for the season but Beveridge said he couldn’t fault his side’s commitment.
“The effort the guys put in was outstanding,” he said.
“We’re playing against the most talented team in the league [undermanned] for us to push them right to the end I’m very proud of.
“I’m disappointed [the margin] was 18 points. You look at the scoreboard and think Melbourne kicked our arse but I think there was some relief for them after the game.”