Injury-plagued Whalers in playoffs

Parksville junior team gaining confidence heading into their playoffs against Abbotsford Thursday

Brenden Harstad and the Ballenas Whalers senior football team are in Langley tomorrow

With the playoffs on the horizon, the Ballenas Whalers senior football team had their match against the Barsby Bulldogs cancelled last weekend, looking to get enough players back and healthy in their lineup.

Having dealt with injuries all season, the battered senior team’s game was cancelled ahead of their first round playoff game against the Langley Saints this Friday.

The Whalers could see three players back in the lineup that have been missing for some time. Steve Martin, Austen Hunt and Matt Price, who went down in the first regular season game of the year, could all be back for their opening-round game against the Saints.

“If we can get them back, that would be huge,” linebacker Brody Seselja said. “Nothing is for sure but it would be a big boost for the team if we got all three of them back.”

• ON THE JUNIOR SIDE: the junior Whalers are getting ready to host their first “home game” of the playoffs against Robert Bateman (Abbotsford). They will play at Merle Logan field in Nanaimo this Thursday, kickoff time at 12:30 p.m.

“It’s our home away from home,” junior coach Jeremy Conn said. “We’re happy we’ve got home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs.”

“Confidence is knowing your battleground, we’ve won there before and we don’t have far to travel, unlike our opponent, so we’re very excited. We’re very strong in every phase of the game, I’m proud of this team and I’m excited to go into competition with them.”

Going through their regular season unbeaten, the junior Whalers look to continue their hot streak behind QB Ben Robinson and their explosive offence.

“Being on the turf allows us to open things up,” Conn said. “Which can be a lot of fun for a team. As I learn more and more about the talent we have, I’m tweaking little things in terms of what we’re doing on the field and we’ve done a fantastic job of adapting to the other teams we’ve played against. But the main thing for us, as it has been all season long, is fundamentals.”

“Make sure we take care of the basics and getting everyone on board to do their job out there. If we can do that, we’ll be in a good position to come away with a win.”

This marks the first time the Whalers will square off against Robert Bateman at the junior level, but they know the history of the program.

“We’ve seen them at the senior level before,” Conn said. “Football is getting better at all levels, we know about their program and we’ve played them once at the senior level before. They have lots of talented kids in their program but we feel we’ve got a good team ourselves. We’ll find out who wants it more.”

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