He’s back. Reigning Maskell Medal winner Ben Goodall will play his first game of the season with Koroit in tomorrow’s blockbuster against North Warrnambool Eagles.
Goodall, who took a break from the game after leading the Saints as captain to last year’s grand final, was last night named for his long awaited return.
The 230-game midfielder has trained with the Saints for the past six weeks.
Coach Adam Dowie said Goodall’s return had given the Saints a big boost ahead of tomorrow’s second-versus-third match at Bushfield Recreation Reserve.
“We’ve been hoping and anticipating a return at some stage,” Dowie said.
“It’s a coincidence it is against North Warrnambool. It’s just the way it has worked out.
“It’s not the impact he will be bring, it’s the fact he will be out there. We’ve got a pretty young side and the young ones are really excited. I think everyone will lift with him out there.”
The 30-year-old was one of two inclusions for the Saints, with teenager Jarrod Korewha named to make his senior debut after representing Vic Country at under 16 level.
Teenage midfielder Jayden Brennan couldn’t be considered because of a shoulder injury that could sideline him for two weeks.
The Eagles made three changes, including last week’s three late withdrawals: star midfielder Andy McMeel, forward Jeremy Parkinson and the versatile Jye Bidmade.
Their replacements from last week, Jeremy Bidmade, Lachie Woodhams and Dylan Cross, were omitted.
Eighth-placed Camperdown’s finals aspirations might have taken a hit at the selection table last night, with midfielders Luke Mahony (knee) and Fraser Lucas (corked thigh) out of the crunch game against fourth-placed Portland at Leura Oval.
The Magpies couldn’t consider impressive young defender Jack Williams, a late withdrawal last week with a hip injury. They regained midfielder Sam Cardinal from injury and elevated teenage key position player Liam Darcy alongside first-gamer half-back Billy Arnold.
Portland made three changes, promoting teenager Aidan Cancian for his first game on a wing while another teenager Tom Templeton returned to TAC Cup level with North Ballarat Rebels.
Fifth-placed Terang Mortlake named Matt Baxter, the teenage brother of star Chris, for his senior debut against Hamilton Kangaroos at Melville Oval.
Baxter, a running player, replaced Mitch Couch because of a knee injury.
The Kangaroos, percentage only behind Terang Mortlake, made three changes.
They included Sam Crow, a hard-running midfielder up from the under 18½s for his first senior match.
Hamilton couldn’t consider impressive performer Brendan Huf, who is out with an Achilles problem.
Bottom-side South Warrnambool regained Geelong VFL-listed utility Matt Sully for its clash with ninth-placed Port Fairy at the Friendly Societies’ Park.
Sully and teenager Dom Moloney were the two inclusions, while ruckman Olle Lee went out with a hip injury.
Last week’s first-gamer Lachlan McLeod didn’t overcome an ankle injury he sustained in the first term.
Port Fairy made one change, regaining centre half-forward Sam McCartney.
Cobden reacted to its 110-point loss last week with five changes for its daunting match-up against ladder-leader Warrnambool at Reid Oval.
The Bombers brought in ruckman Ash Rohan, key defender Bart Phillips, runners Jake Evans and Leigh Rosolin plus forward Lincoln Dare.
Warrnambool is without midfielder Damien McCorkell, who is unavailable, while impressive youngster Otto Opperman returns after a best-on-ground effort in the under 18½s last week.