THREE of the four Hampden league sides involved in finals this weekend are considering VFL or TAC Cup players.
Cobden is looking at Sandringham Dragon and AFL draft hopeful Zach Merrett, Warrnambool is hopeful North Ballarat Roosters utility Liam Hoy will be available and North Warrnambool Eagles will consider North Ballarat Rooster Marcus Darmody and North Ballarat Rebel Mitch Bowman.
Cobden coach Wayne Robertson said Merrett, who represented Vic Country at the AFL under 18 national championships, would be a valuable addition for the Bombers’ qualifying final against Warrnambool if he was available.
“We are guided by information from down there,” he said.
“He has a big future ahead of him. If he’s keen to play we’ll welcome him with open arms and if he wants to concentrate down there we’ll support him.”
Robertson said North Ballarat Roosters’ Tom Watson was ruled out with a hamstring strain.
Watson broke down in just his third VFL development league game of the season after a long recovery from a serious hamstring injury.
The midfielder tore his hamstring off the bone playing for the Bombers’ senior side in round 17 last year.
Watson made his comeback via Cobden’s reserves in June. His younger brother Daniel is also unavailable for selection and will line up for Northern Blues in their VFL development league elimination final.
Warrnambool coach Scott Carter said the Blues had been in contact with Hoy for a month.
“We are still uncertain. It has a little bit to do with Liam’s body at the moment,” he said. “He has had a long and arduous season and the way he plays is taxing on his body.”
Hoy, who played in the Blues’ 2012 premiership, hasn’t played a senior game for Warrnambool this season.
He racked up 14 games for the Roosters, who finished the VFL season 10th.
“He’s a Warrnambool boy through and through,” Carter said.
“He loves the place and his teammates. He’s home at every opportunity and he’s held in the highest regard by our playing group. It would be a tough decision to make but we’d welcome Liam Hoy with open arms.”
North Warrnambool Eagles coach David Haynes said Darmody would train with the side on Thursday.
The Eagles face Camperdown in the elimination final on Sunday.
Darmody has played one Hampden league game this season, on top of eight senior VFL matches.
“He has a bit of a crook knee,”Haynes said. “He’ll see the doctor this week so we won’t know until Thursday.
“If he is fit and 100 per cent he’d be a walk-up start. It’s a matter of how his body is.
“You don’t want to go in with anyone underdone.”
Bowman has played two games for the Eagles this season after consolidating his spot in the Rebels’ back six.
The key defender played 17 games for the Rebels — the most of any player on their TAC Cup list this season.