Canterbury Bankstown striker Nathan Manno was one of the driving forces for his side’s finals push in the League Two Men’s competition, before succumbing to a potentially season-ending shoulder injury.
The 22-year-old had found himself in a purple-patch of form prior to his injury, netting five goals in the first seven games of the season for the Berries.
He is no stranger to finding himself on the scoresheet as in 2020 Manno was the top scorer for the NPL NSW Men’s under 20’s competition, netting ten goals in 11 games for Rockdale Ilinden FC.
The injury occurred during a round seven fixture against Central Coast United, where he already had a goal and two assists, with the result wrapped up at 5-2 with minutes remaining.
In the 85th minute, Manno was brought to the ground and instantly knew he had suffered a serious injury – which was later determined to be a shoulder dislocation with two of ligaments separating from the joint.
“Straight away I knew it was serious, I could hear it, you know your body and you can feel your body,” Manno said.
“I felt my arm and it just didn’t feel normal, so I definitely knew it was quite serious because I’ve done the other shoulder before and this time the pain was three or four times worse.”
Canterbury Bankstown currently sit in sixth position in League Two and just four points off a finals place with a game in hand, something that he believes is a very realistic target for the season.
“Once we got rolling with a few wins, everyone in the team started believing that we could push for finals and then hopefully try and win it all,” he said
“It’s disappointing because we were gelling as a team and we had a lot of confidence in each other, but I still have plenty of faith that the boys can get the job done.”
Manno admitted that his season might be over and his return will be dependent on his rehab and confidence in the shoulder.
“I spoke to the physio and we decided to go for a more preservative measure, we’re not going to try and rush back, but it’s week to week at this stage.
“It could be [a return] in Round 19, it could be come off the bench in the finals or it could just be miss the whole season in total.
“It’s definitely difficult but it does remind you how much love you have for the sport when you can’t play it, it was disappointing hearing the news that I might not play again this year, but we will just play it by ear.”
Although he is likely to miss the entirety of the season, Manno has plenty of confidence in his side’s ability to continue in their pursuit for finals.
“The boys are doing a great job at the moment and if they continue with their current form we should expect to play finals, then from there why shouldn’t we aim to go all the way.
“Obviously promotion is our first goal and we feel like we can achieve that, but looking beyond that I have the so much confidence in this side to get the job done.
“I’d love to be out there with them for the rest of the season and it’s disappointing to be on the sidelines, but I have no doubt the boys are going to continue to impress like they’ve been doing all season long.”
Canterbury Bankstown continue their push for finals without Manno, when they are matched up against the top of the table Inter Lions in Round 12.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti