NORTH Warrnambool Eagles' hierarchy is giving injured skipper Adam Wines until "the last minute" to prove his fitness for Saturday's grand final.
The leader - a swingman who can be damaging as either a key forward or key defender - hurt his shoulder in the Eagles' come-from-behind preliminary final win.
Wines, who has played 200-plus senior games for the Bushfield-based club, was named to face six-time reigning premier Koroit when teams were announced on Thursday night.
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North Warrnambool Eagles coach Adam Dowie said the club - chasing its first senior flag - was hopeful Wines would be fit to play.
"We'll name him hoping he's going to play," he told The Standard.
"It's going to be a last-minute thing, probably Friday, maybe even Saturday morning.
"There could be four or five on the interchange and then we'll go from there."
Dowie said Wines had been diligent in trying to prepare himself for the decider - potentially the third of his career after playing in 2016 and 2019 - as he aimed to prove his fitness.
"He's consulted enough people, he consulted medical people, so I don't think we've left any stone un-turned there," he said.
"I am confident in terms of the process we've gone through, confident in terms of the people we've spoken to and consulted and now hopeful he's going to be right to go."
Koroit will go in unchanged after considering its options with emerging duo Finn O'Sullivan and Jack Block named among its emergencies.
"Every year there is a story," Saints coach Chris McLaren said.
"Then you get a year where 'is the big decision not to make a decision?'
"You think about this stuff 24-7, so it's not a decision you make lightly. Opposition, conditions, grounds - everything comes into it."
Koroit, which has only lost once all year - to South Warrnambool on Good Friday - has won all three meetings against North Warrnambool in 2022.
The Saints edged home by three points in round two, scored a 33-point win in round 11 and hung on to snare an eight-point victory in the second semi-final.
Weather is tipped to play its part in the grand final with between five and 10 millimetres of rain predicted and winds of up to 35 kilometres an hour expected to roll across the Warrnambool-based venue.
Reid Oval, Saturday, 2pm
Koroit v North Warrnambool Eagles (supplied by the clubs)
B: T.McKenry, M.Petersen, J.Whitehead
HB: P.O'Sullivan, J.Neave, T.McPherson
C: B.Dobson, T.Baulch, J.Korewha
HF: J.O'Sullivan, W.Couch, S.Dobson
F: F.Robb, D.McCutcheon, L.Hoy
R: J.Hausler, B.Harrington, A.Pulling
Int: B.Goodall, C.Byrne, D.Mooney
North Warrnambool Eagles
B: T.James, A.Wines, J.Johnstone
HB: L.Wines, T.Batten, B.Jenkinson
C: J.Bermingham, B.Smedts, J.Grundy
HF: D.Johnstone, J.McKinnon, F.Jones
F: D.Parish, B.Kellett, J.Lewis
R: N.Vardy, T.Porter, M.Wines
Int: J.Greene, H.Keast, A.Sinclair, J.Porter
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