MINOR premier Koroit will keep long-time foe Warrnambool guessing with its side after naming a 24-man squad for tomorrow’s second semi-final showdown at Port Fairy’s Gardens Oval.
The Saints added VFL-listed player Haydn Drew, TAC Cup midfielder Jayden Brennan and the skilful Drew O’Grady to the side that defeated Hamilton Kangaroos in round 18.
Coach Adam Dowie last night said the Saints were in no hurry to finalise their line-up.
He said O’Grady, who was in the club’s best 21 at the start of the season, had battled osteitis pubis for much of the season but he had strung together six matches in the reserves, including an impressive effort in a losing qualifying final side last Saturday.
If he is given the nod, tomorrow will be his first senior game since round six.
The Saints had a full squad to pick from, with only veteran Karl Dwyer under an injury cloud. He is in a race against time to be fit following a knee complaint.
He was named in the club’s reserves side, which plays on Sunday.
Dowie said the Saints entered the match fresh after having last week off. But his players trained last Saturday and then last night and Tuesday.
Warrnambool made no changes to the side that defeated Cobden by nine points in the qualifying final.
Coach Scott Carter said the Blues had trained strongly this week and were keen to claim their first victory against the Saints this season.
North Warrnambool Eagles will wait until tomorrow to finalise their side for Sunday’s cut-throat first semi-final against Cobden at Koroit’s Victoria Park.
The Eagles named a 25-man squad last night.
Assistant coach Tim Sheldon, who missed the 46-point elimination final triumph over Camperdown, was one of four added to the winning 21.
Midfielder Nathan Murphy trained strongly last night, having overcome a knee complaint to push his case for a recall, while utility Herb Barlow and running player Ryan McElgunn were also added.
Coach David Haynes said playing last Sunday had put the Eagles’ planning a day behind.
“The boys are still a little bit sore because of the heat, so we will play it by ear,” he said.
“We are not quite sure what we will do. It will depend on whether we go big or want another runner. We haven’t really looked at match-ups yet.”
He predicted the Eagles would make one change, with Sheldon to return. But he wouldn’t be drawn on whether any more were possible.
Cobden made one change for the clash, including Leigh Evans at the expense of the unlucky Mick Salmon.
Coach Wayne Robertson said Salmon was a victim of circumstance rather than poor form after last Saturday’s nine-point loss.
“Mick is a great kid. It was a very, very tight call,” he said.
He said Evans had been included for his pace and ability to play in defence.
“It was a big call, a line-ball decision. It’s just about team balance,” he said.