MASKELL Medal winner Tim Hunt sent a scare through Warrnambool supporters last night when he limped from Reid Oval midway through the Blues’ final training session before tomorrow’s grand final showdown against Koroit.
Hunt, who has been battling a persistent groin complaint, was later named in the side to take on Koroit, despite not completing the session.
The match-winning midfielder was unable to run freely during early drills in front of a band of loyal supporters before spending the bulk of his time away from the main group doing stationary handball activities with reserves coach Mark Inia.
While his Blues teammates completed a high-intensity but short session, he was in an ice bath.
Coach Scott Carter declared Hunt a certain starter tomorrow.
“He’ll play,” Carter said.
“He played well last week and played well against Cobden. When we rested him against Koroit in the second semi-final, that’s done him a world of good.”
Carter said his participation in less than half the session was the same as previous weeks as they sought to manage the injury.
“He’s fine, he will get through. If Timmy Hunt has 20 touches, 17 or 18 will hit a target.”
Carter and his Blues selectors named an unchanged side to the one that defeated North Warrnambool Eagles by 69 points last Saturday at Reid Oval.
Last year’s premiership ruckman Rob Bright and 2010 premiership player Nick Chirnside were unlucky to miss selection. They were named along with Corey Gallichan and Brenton O’Rourke as emergencies.
Bright trained strongly after being squeezed out of the preliminary final side, but his fate was sealed about 10 minutes before the end of the session when he was taken aside by Carter.
Minor premier Koroit named the same 21 players who helped the Saints to a 27-point victory over the Blues in the second semi-final a fortnight ago.
Coach Adam Dowie had told players at a meeting on Monday night who was in the side before last night’s public release.
Like the Blues, the Saints had hard-luck stories, with 2009 premiership captain Karl Dwyer missing selection after racing against time to be fit from a knee injury sustained in round 16.
He was named among three emergencies alongside 2003 premiership player Nathan Auld and midfielder Eli Barker.
Dowie said Dwyer, who was Koroit’s best player in the reserves first semi-final two weeks ago, had pushed his case.
“Even straight after the game (the second semi-final) I was pretty sure we would have the same team,” Dowie said.
“Karl did all the rehab and did everything he could have done, but I’m still not sure if he’s back to where he was before he hurt his knee.
“The opposition we are playing, the ground we are playing on, we wanted more run.”
Dowie said the Saints’ line-up was balanced.
“If you were to look at age breakdowns of a successful premiership side, I think we would just about have to be really close,” he said.
“We’ve got the young guys, the guys in their early 20s, the late 20s and the experienced players in Chris and Joe (McLaren).”
Dowie said the Saints had put in a “short, really sharp” session in front of a good crowd last night at Victoria Park.
“We weren’t going to get fitter, faster or more skilled, it was just about getting some touch of the footy and enjoying it,” he said.