THE Warrnambool and District league representative football squad is down to 25.
Selectors have three cuts to make before confirming the side to take on Colac and District at Central Reserve, Colac on Saturday.
The fitness of Merrivale ruckman Rhys Raymond, who has been ill, is the only availability concern among the players still in contention to play.
But the side has already been weakened by injury, with Dennington’s Darcy Lewis and Merrivale’s Jet Dowie withdrawing after training on Tuesday.
Coach Simon O’Keefe said he was disappointed the pair would not play but highlighted the doors it opened for others.
O’Keefe, a Panmure premiership coach, said selectors had tough decisions to make in cutting the squad from 32 to 25 on Tuesday night.
“It comes down to blokes’ form against each other and pace and the different aspects of their game.”
The 25 players still in contention represent eight different clubs, with Merrivale supplying seven and Allansford and Panmure five each.
The bolter is East Warrnambool young gun Blake Rudland-Castles, who has played once since injuring a knee four weeks ago.
Rudland-Castles, Stephen O’Connor (Kolora-Noorat) and Joe Higgins (Deakin University) are the only players from their clubs.
“We had an emphasis on watching clubs outside the top five. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge blokes when they get beaten by 10 goals,” O’Keefe said.
“We really watched them, especially the last two or three weeks, and their form individually.
“I know Higgins played a cracking game against us. They might thrive in a better side so it’s good for them to have that opportunity.”
The squad will have a final training session at Mack Oval tonight before a dinner and jumper presentation, where the under 17½ footballers and the three netball squads will also receive their uniforms.
WDFNL INTERLEAGUE SQUAD
James Kelly, Sam Gleeson, Alister Porter, Josh Sobey, James Fary, Rhys Raymond, Manny Sandow (Merrivale); Simon O’Keefe, Taylor McKenry, Sam Mahony, James Keane, Shamus O’Beirne (Panmure); Sam Holloway, Leatham Robe, Jason Wilson, Nick Johnstone, Sam Doukas (Allansford); Nathan Forth, Eli Barker, Aaron Williams (Old Collegians); Chris Keilar, Luke Duncan (Dennington); Stephen O’Connor (Kolora-Noorat); Joe Higgins (Deakin University); Blake Rudland-Castles (East Warrnambool).