VFL star Matt Sully last night gave South Warrnambool’s hopes of upsetting second-placed Koroit a major boost when he announced his availability for tomorrow’s round 12 match.
Coach Matthew Monk received a phone call from Sully an hour after the team selection deadline about 9pm with news he had been released by Geelong’s VFL side for the weekend.
Sully takes the place of key defender Jayden Askew, who was named in the 21 despite being under an injury cloud.
Sully is one of four key inclusions for the Roosters, with premiership co-captain Scott Maddern returning from a back injury, ruckman Olle Lee (hip) and key position player Tim Ryan, who was unavailable for the previous game, also in.
Defenders Mick De Jong (ankle) and Harry Ponting (hamstring) couldn’t be considered, while Xavier Beks was omitted.
South’s good news at selection was in contrast to Koroit which lost three defenders, Chris McLaren, Tim Martin and Joe McLaren.
Chris McLaren, who returned from a calf injury against Hamilton Kangaroos after missing four games, hurt his other calf at training last week while Martin, also sustained an adductor complaint at training. Joe McLaren is unavailable because of Vic Country assistant coach duties.
Teenage midfielder George Swarbrick was promoted for his first senior game from the under 18½s, defender Matt Bushell comes up from the reserves and ruckman Nathan Meade returns.
Cobden looks like producing its own selection wildcard with VFL-listed Daniel Watson likely to play against arch-rival Camperdown at Leura Oval tomorrow.
Watson was named as an emergency but Cobden’s official Twitter account celebrated his return with a post later last night. “Good to have @Daniel Watson5 back in the red and black,” it said, heightening speculation he would play.
Watson will join midfielder Jake Evans (broken arm) and ruckman Bronte McCann (quad) in the side that defeated South Warrnambool two weeks ago. But the Bombers will be without star utility Paul Hinkley, who makes his Vic Country debut and key forward Tim Horan, who is overseas for the rest of the season.
Camperdown welcomed back midfielder Damien Pemberton from a hamstring injury and key forward Jack Hickey, who was unavailable for the loss against Warrnambool.
Reigning premier Warrnambool included star midfielder Damien McCorkell for the clash against third-placed North Warrnambool Eagles at Bushfield Recreation Reserve.
McCorkell returns from a back complaint that kept him out for two matches while last year’s club best and fairest winner Corey Gallichan was promoted for his second senior game at the expense of Jye Turland. Star midfielder Jackson Bell was last night called up to the Vic Country under 19 side.
Opponent North Warrnambool Eagles named some important inclusions, midfielder Andy McMeel (ill), defender Darcy Keast, for his first senior game since round four after a persistent quad injury, and key forward Michael Darmody (ankle).
Terang Mortlake veteran Damian O’Connor returns after missing the Bloods’ upset win over the Eagles for the clash with Port Fairy at Mortlake’s D. C. Farran Oval.
O’Connor, ruckman Ryan O’Connor and Jake Meade all come into the side while Jake Richardson, Jake Crawley and Tom Arundell were omitted.
Port Fairy regained defender Sam Anson (wisdom teeth) and marking forward Robbie Hare (calf) but lost dynamic midfielder Aidan Leishman, who is overseas indefinitely.
Portland regained Ted Kenna VC Medal winner Mitch Bunworth for the return clash against arch-rival Hamilton Kangaroos as it made two changes for the match at Melville Oval.
Exciting teenager Jake Edwards is back from holidays while Hamilton Kangaroos are unchanged.