Big Tiger shrugs off injury in time for WDFNL grand final

MERRIVALE assistant coach Joe Woonton has declared himself a certain starter in the Warrnambool and District league senior football grand final.

Woonton yesterday put to bed any fears among the Tigers faithful that the ankle injury suffered in the second semi-final would sideline him for the decider.

The key forward limped from Noorat Recreation Reserve in the third quarter of the semi and cast a despondent figure in the change rooms post-match.

But he has received the green light to take on reigning premier Panmure at Reid Oval on Saturday after scans revealed no major damage.

“We trained Friday night and I had a run around then. I’m all good,” Woonton said.

“There was nothing structural, no bone or ligament damage. I just went over on it, just a bad roll.”

A Merrivale triumph on Saturday would give Woonton, 29, a fifth premiership medal.

He was a member of Koroit’s 2007 and 2009 Hampden league successes and also won a reserves flag with the Saints in 2010. A fourth flag came in his first season with Northern Football League club Northcote Park in 2012. 

Woonton said confidence would hold Merrivale in good stead on Saturday. He believed the Tigers were playing with more belief than during the regular season.

“I think we’ve hit form at the right time of year,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys in the right age bracket. They’re playing their best footy at the 25, 26-year-old mark.”