PANMURE will take a wait-and-see approach with ruckman James Keane leading into the Warrnambool and District league second semi-final tomorrow.
“Dozer” has battled knee problems since the Bulldogs’ loss to Merrivale in round 16 and was not among the 22 selected for the clash against Merrivale.
But he could yet take his place at Noorat Recreation Reserve, with selectors waiting to see how he pulls up from training today.
“Dozer trained both nights. We’re just going to wait and see,” coach Simon O’Keefe said.
“If it blows up, he won’t play. If he gets through, he’ll play.”
Daniel Ryan, among five inclusions to the side, will ruck should Keane not play, with Daniel Roache to spend more time in the forward line.
Andrew McPherson, Tom Wright, Alex White and Tim McPherson also come back in after missing the defeat to Kolora-Noorat a fortnight ago.
Jason Mifsud was the biggest omission, while Dillon Byrne, Paul Daley, Chris Bellman and Patrick Ryan will also miss.
Mifsud has been unable to get through four quarters regularly since joining Panmure mid-season and the Bulldogs were unwilling to take the risk in finals.
Opponent Merrivale sprung a shock at the selection table, demoting forward James Fary to the reserves, along with fringe player Dominic Tieppo.
Fary has played 18 matches this season — one of 10 Tigers to play either 18 or 19 — but will instead line up in the twos’ second semi-final against Dennington.
Rhys Raymond has recovered from a calf injury and will take his place in the side while Mark Stewart, a revelation in defence this season, has also earned a recall.
Raymond was named in a forward line which also includes Jet Dowie, Brad Kelly and Joe Woonton, with the Tigers looking to stretch the Bulldogs for height.
An injury and a bout of the flu forced Dennington into two changes for the first semi-final against Old Collegians at Merrivale Recreation Reserve on Sunday.
Jono Nevill limped off with a hamstring complaint late in the first term of the qualifying final and will miss, as will teenager Matt Dwyer, who has the flu.
Jordan Scott, who was stretchered off with an ankle injury in round 17, makes his return, while Jack Fitzgerald replaces Dwyer as the substitute.
Dogs coach Ben Parkinson said Nevill, who has also battled groin problems this season, never looked likely to recover in time for the knockout clash.
“He’s had a couple of treatments during the week but I don’t think he could run even if he tried. I’d say there’d be a tear in there somewhere,” Parkinson said.
Old Collegians opted to name a seven-man interchange bench, with three players to come out after a light run tomorrow morning.
Jimmy McKenzie, Jake O’Flynn, Jack Marney and Vincent Fogarty come into the side which beat Allansford in the elimination final last weekend.
Key defender Scott Williams, who broke a wrist in the first term against the Cats, is the only confirmed omission. Marney or Fogarty are likely to take his place at full-back.
“We’ll determine what the weather is going to do and take a couple of other factors into account,” coach Daryl Beechey said.
“Whether we replace (Williams) with Jack Marney or try and inject a bit more run … we’ll have to wait and see.
“If we were scraping the bottom of the barrel and plucking someone out of the twos who wasn’t up to it, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in.
“We’re lucky we’ve got good depth and blokes are pushing hard. It makes selection hard but it’s a good position for the club to be in.”