Jack back for a shot at finals with Merrivale

MERRIVALE teenager Jack Gleeson will make a last-round bid to secure his spot for Warrnambool and District league finals.

Josh Irving balances up during a skills session at Nirranda this week as the Blues prepare for their round 18 encounter with Timboon Demons. Irving was last night named on interchange.140805RG13 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Josh Irving balances up during a skills session at Nirranda this week as the Blues prepare for their round 18 encounter with Timboon Demons. Irving was last night named on interchange.140805RG13 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Gleeson will play his first match since round three when the Tigers host Old Collegians at Merrivale Recreation Reserve in the match of the round tomorrow.

The utility has missed much of the season with injury but has found fitness and form in the reserves for the past three weeks.

He is one of three changes to the side which lost to Dennington last weekend. Key forward Jet Dowie and Joe Woonton will also make welcome returns.

Sam Gleeson and Rhys Raymond, whose injury-interrupted campaign has hit another setback, are among the omissions.

Old Collegians named an unchanged side although James Ryan, who is battling a finger injury, could be a late withdrawal. 

Minor premier Panmure has its own injury concerns, making five changes for its clash with Kolora-Noorat at Panmure Recreation Reserve.

Tim McPherson (hamstring) and Alex White (back) are the biggest concerns, while James Keane remains sidelined with knee troubles.

But Jason Mifsud will play his fourth match of the season. Key tall Daniel Roache and Paul Daley also return.

Kolora-Noorat named a five-man interchange bench, including defender Mitch Elford as its only change.

An impending under 17½ finals campaign means South Rovers will be without Josh Bell and Tom Hirst for their clash against Dennington at Walter Oval.

The Lions’ seniors are out of premiership contention but their juniors sit on top of the ladder, with selectors taking a no-risk approach with the teenagers.

Josh Brown has earned a recall for his third match of the season while Stuart McAlpine and Daniel Clifford also return to the side.

Dennington made four changes, with one eye firmly on a likely qualifying final clash seven days later.

Tully Allwood, Jono Nevill, Jordan Scott and Jordan Green will miss with injury, although the Dogs are confident they are only minor setbacks.

The omissions have paved the way for Jyles Lebler, John Vincent, Jack Fitzgerald and Jesse Lewis to impress selectors on the eve of finals.

Russells Creek tall Cameron Finlayson’s campaign has reached a premature end, courtesy of a serious hamstring injury suffered last weekend.

Finlayson is an untimely omission for the Kangaroos’ clash against East Warrnambool at Mack Oval. Marcus Askew is his replacement.

“He went up in a marking contest last week, a guy came and spoiled him. They fell awkwardly and his leg got caught up the wrong way,” coach Jay Everall said.

“It’s probably a five or six-week injury, he’s done it good and proper. He’s struggling to walk, let alone jog.”

East Warrnambool made one change, recalling Karl Brooker after solid form in the reserves at the expense of Jethro Serle.

Coach Matt Lenehan will miss Deakin University’s season-ending clash against Allansford at D. C. Farran Oval with a calf injury.

The Sharks also omitted Adam Williams, Ash Johnstone and Chris Higgins. Jake Tanner, Liam Turner, Brandon Cole and Shaun Deveraux are the inclusions.

Allansford included Ben Lenehan, Shaun Watson and Sam Burchell for Kye Bunworth (unavailable), Leatham Robe (hamstring) and Rory Neeson (ankle).

Onballer Nick Johnstone remains sidelined and the club is uncertain if he will return in time to play finals the following weekend.

“We’re unsure at this stage. We’re still waiting on a couple of scans he’s had,” coach Josh Parkinson said.

And Nirranda is unchanged for its “home” clash against Timboon Demons at Timboon Recreation Reserve, while the Demons added teenager Chet Kensit.

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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