PROLIFIC Allansford onballer Sam Holloway will miss the Cats’ crucial Warrnambool and District league clash with Merrivale tomorrow.
A glute complaint has ruled the interleague representative out of the second-versus-third showdown at Merrivale Recreation Reserve.
His omission is a major blow for the Cats, who need to hold on to their top-three spot, having lost to Panmure last weekend.
But coach Josh Parkinson was adamant selectors would not take risks with players battling soft-tissue injuries in the run towards finals.
Allansford has taken the same approach with Nathan Wilson, who has been in and out of the side for much of the season with a hamstring injury.
“A crook ankle or something like that you could get away with,” Parkinson said.
“But those soft-tissue injuries, we’re not prepared to take the risk with those guys even though we do play Merrivale this week.”
Josh Monaghan is the other out for the Cats, having been a role player in defence the past two rounds.
Matt Dwyer returns from a holiday, Joel Cornelissen is back from injury and teenager Justin Turner has earned a promotion as the substitute.
Merrivale was able to strengthen the side which beat South Rovers, regaining centre half-forward Joe Woonton and utility Claye Cassidy from injury.
Matt Dowd and teenager Will Ryan were omitted, leaving the Tigers at close to full strength, although coach Karl Dwyer is still out.
Veteran South Rovers onballer Matt Wood will play his 200th senior match for the Lions when he runs out against Kolora-Noorat at Walter Oval.
Wood was among four additions to the side, which was competitive but struggled early in its loss to Merrivale.
Kyeran Ellery, Josh Bell and Tom Hirst also return at the expense of Daniel Clifford (soreness), Stuart McAlpine, Ben Ryan and Josh Brown (all unavailable).
Kolora-Noorat made one change to the side which upstaged Old Collegians, replacing the suspended Brad Hillman with recruit Sam Hasell.
Dustin McCorkell will return to the ground where he made a name for himself when Dennington takes on East Warrnambool at Reid Oval.
Dogs selectors added McCorkell, a former Warrnambool premiership player, and substitute Jack Fitzgerald to the side which kept Timboon Demons goalless. Teenager Matt Dwyer was rested and Ben Moor omitted.
East Warrnambool made three changes, losing Jacob Taylor (back), Ben Gray (finger) and Cale Jarvis (knee) to injury.
Troy Nicholas, Hayden Laird and Codie Carter earned recalls after impressing in the reserves.
Round 14 of the Warrnambool and District league season is split, with the other three matches on July 12.