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Mar 29, 2012

Colosimo injury blow to Heart

Melbourne Heart will attempt to curb the menace of Shane Smeltz with two teenagers after injury ruled veteran defender Simon Colosimo out of the club's A-League sudden-death final.

Former Socceroo Colosimo has withdrawn from Sunday's match in Perth with a hamstring injury sustained at training.

Coach John van `t Schip has earmarked 19-year-old Brendan Hamill to replace Colosimo in the starting line-up, alongside another 19-year-old, Curtis Good.

It will fall to them to quell star striker Smeltz, who scored four goals in the Glory's 4-2 win over Melbourne Victory last weekend and has tormented the Heart this season with three goals in their three clashes.

But van `t Schip is confident his new-look centre-half partnership is up to the job under the added pressure of the club's first finals appearance.

"Brendan and Curtis showed this year they are capable of playing at a very high level," van `t Schip said.

"Now they have to show it together. It's a big challenge.

"I'm very convinced about the qualities of Brendan and Curtis.

"Age doesn't say anything to me - I look at the performance.

"I'm very confident in the way they play, the way they defend, the way physically they are on the pitch."

The pair have both impressed separately this season - usually with an experienced central defender in Colosimo or departed Adrian Madaschi alongside.

With Colosimo out, the Heart will add midfielder Nick Kalmar to their squad for the Glory clash.

Kalmar has not played this season because of injury, but has trained strongly in recent weeks and van `t Schip is keen for him to be rewarded for his efforts.

The Heart have practised penalties at training this week in case the elimination final does go to extra-time and a shootout.

"It's good to let the players have that feeling that they may have to step up for it (penalties) - to prepare them in their mind," van `t Schip said.

"You're tired, there's emotions, you can't train that.

"What you can train is for them really to try and focus on what they have to do without what is all around you.

"That's something that's up to the players ... to go out there and be confident you're going to score."

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