City United will go into the 2021-22 season without Maitland cricket's number one batter Josh Trappel and one of the competition's premier fast bowlers Tim Burton.
Josh, who scored three centuries and averaged 60.5 last season, has undergone a shoulder reconstruction and is not expected to play this season.
Burton, who took 29 wickets including best figures of 7-25, will be sidelined for the year with ACL knee injury sustained while playing football.
City skipper Matt Trappel said losing the duo was a major blow for the club's defence of its first grade minor premiership.
"We've been pretty strong over the past two years in first grade, with a pretty solid team but this year we've got a couple of disruption," Trappel said.
"We've pretty much ruled Josh out for the season, we don't envisage he will be back any earlier.
"Burto did an ACL playing soccer and is still working around getting surgery. He is definitely out for the whole season.
"Pretty much the best bat in the comp and one of the best fast bowlers. It's two blows, but everyone else is pretty keen."
City United are coming off one of the most successful seasons in Maitland cricket history with minor premierships in the top four grades.
Unfortunately, for the club it lost the first grade grade grand final to Northern Suburbs and second and fourth grade deciders to Northern Suburbs, and Eastern Suburbs respectively, with their third grade team defeating Thornton.
"Obviously being strong throughout the grades we will have a lot of blokes fighting for those two spots which is good," Trappel said.
"We've got a couple of young fast bowlers in Jay Boyd and Jordan Murphy and the addition of Matt Hanlon who used to play first grade for us.
"Matt is coming out of retirement and will provide good depth and competition for that spot.
"In the batting we've got Ricky Dent, Michael Heinrich and young Dusty Callaghan, so we've got plenty of depth there to cover."
Burton's opening bowling partner Tim Baker will be asked to take an even bigger role in Burton's absence, but City do also have the probably the competition's two best spinners in Nick Bower and Todd Francis to call on in support.
City also have Cameron Wynn and Sam Jordan as pace bowling options.
Trappel said while they were still waiting on the official go ahead for training, a number of players had paired up for fitness and net sessions.
"We've been pairing up and getting out in the nets. We're all mastering the slingers as you can only go in pairs and you can't bowl all the time," he said.
"You don't have to use your shoulder much, you just literally fling your wrist and get good pace."
Trappel said losing three grand finals was disappointing but it did not detract from what the club achieved in 2020-21.
"It was disappointing to finish the way we did, but it doesn't take away from the season we had," he said.
"I think in the history of Maitland cricket that was one of the most successful years in terms of club cricket anyone has had. Minor premiers in the top four grades."
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