REIGNING premier Warrnambool is facing a series of selection dilemmas ahead of Saturday’s grand final rematch against Koroit.
The undefeated Blues are in the enviable position of having virtually a full list of players available, creating headaches for coach Scott Carter and his selectors.
The Blues have at least five players pushing for senior games who were not part of their tough 22-point win over Cobden on Saturday.
TAC Cup side North Ballarat Rebels have a bye this weekend, giving Carter the option of adding three teenagers — premiership player Tom Schnerring, who has been impressive this season in defence, midfielder Tom Ludeman and the versatile Luke McLeod.
Two-time premiership player Liam Hoy junior, who missed most of the pre-season with the Rebels because of osteitis pubis, was the Blues’ best with four goals in their under 18½s win over Cobden on Saturday in his third game back.
The Blues also have another premiership player in ruckman/defender Rob Bright fit after a hamstring injury.
Carter said he and his selectors had a lot to consider before naming a side on Thursday night.
“Obviously selection will be interesting,” Carter said.
“Things are getting very interesting.”
He said the Rebels players were fit and in form while Hoy was getting back to fitness and form that saw him play in the club’s back-to-back premierships.
“We have a few interesting decisions to make. It’s a great spot to be in, a really good spot to be in,” he said.
“The competition for spots is really up there.”
Carter said wingman Nick Chirnside, after a consistent start to the season, had produced his best game on Saturday since returning from a knee reconstruction mid-last year.
Triple premierships player Brad Bull is still recovering from a pre-season mishap when he broke his hand and is the only Blues’ player unavailable.
He won’t be rushed back, with Carter indicating the speedster won’t play until after next week’s interleague bye.
The Rebels’ bye also has a benefit for Koroit with talented teen James Gow available.
The Saints, coming off an impressive 25-point win over North Warrnambool Eagles, will be keen to include him, but it will be hard to omit someone after emerging without injuries on Saturday.
Koroit coach Adam Dowie said his side was looking forward to the clash.
“It’s the hardest test in football in the Hampden league, to play Warrnambool at Reid Oval,” he said.
“It’s a big challenge for us and they are obviously flying at the moment and everything is going right for them.”
Dowie said the Saints had plenty to play for in the grand final rematch against an old foe.
“The boys will be up for it and it’s Chris McLaren’s 250th as well so their should be plenty of motivation,” he said.