Koroit forward Will Couch to play first senior game of 2017 in Hampden preliminary final

FORWARD THINKING: Koroit is hoping premiership player Will Couch can add another dynamic to its attack. Picture: Amy Paton

FORWARD THINKING: Koroit is hoping premiership player Will Couch can add another dynamic to its attack. Picture: Amy Paton

PRELMINARY finalist Koroit is hoping premiership forward Will Couch can add spark to its attack after naming him for his first senior match of 2017.

Couch will slot into the Saints’ forward line as they strive to overcome Cobden and keep their quest for a fourth straight Hampden league flag alive at Reid Oval on Saturday.

The creative goalkicker has played six matches in the reserves, including two finals, after overcoming a serious hip injury.

His most recent senior game was the 2016 grand final.

Couch will join Marcus Darmody in a bolstered Saints’ front half after the latter shrugged off a hamstring strain.

Koroit coach Chris McLaren, who is poised to miss a second straight match with a back complaint, said the Saints were rapt to add Couch to their line up.

“He’s a dangerous player and gives opposition coaches and teams concerns,” he said. “He doesn’t need many opportunities, he’s a good goalkicker, and he doesn’t need lots of game time because he’s a freakish sort of player.”

McLaren said key forward Darmody would provide a strong target.

“When he first did it (the hamstring) we thought he might be in trouble and it would be grand final at best,” he said.

“He’s back a week earlier than first thought.”

Koroit omitted first-year Saint Alex Pulling and Nick Whiting.

Cobden named an unchanged line up, backing in the 21 which defeated South Warrnambool in the first semi-final.

Bombers coach Levi Dare said he was pleased to enter preliminary final with a settled side.

“You can’t change it if everyone is fit from a winning side,” he said.

The first-year coach said the Bombers, who have come from an elimination final, were hungry to make it three straight finals wins.

“We have nothing to lose coming in, we’ve been playing do-or-die football the last few weeks and have played well,” Dare said.

“We have to play our best football and not worry about them. If we start worrying about them, we’re already giving them some ground I think.”

Dare said having key forward Nick Harding and utility Joe Dare in the side gave Cobden flexibility.

“He (Nick) won’t get outmarked, makes the contests and competes hard,” he said.

“We can structure our forward line around that and we’re lucky that it allows Joe to go to centre half-back.

“It strengthens us right up the middle.”