Clubs unlikely to risk their key forwards
Second semifinal combatants Railways and North Albany appear unlikely to risk their hamstrung key forwards as both clubs chase a direct path to the Great Southern Football League grand final this Saturday.
Tigers forward Zak Hortin and Kangas counterpart Luke Cameron face a race against time to be fit for the clash at Tigerland but with the loser getting a second chance in a preliminary final at home the following week, the duo might not be rushed back.
Kangas coach Craig Dew yesterday said Cameron was a “50-50” chance to return from a hamstring strain suffered 11 days ago with the potential of making a shock return. “He has been running all last week so he’s a long way in front of where we thought he would be,” he said.
The Kangas, aiming for their fifth-straight flag, have only lost one final in the past four seasons, their second semifinal loss to Mt Barker in 2016.
Despite their impressive finals record and miserly defence, which has only conceded 11 goals or more once in their last nine finals, Dew said his side would enter the match with less pressure.
“We are probably underdogs, to be fair,” Dew said.
“We finished two games behind them on the ladder so all the pressure would be on them, you would think.”
The Kangas have only conceded 100 points or more in a match twice in Dew’s three seasons as coach — both times against the Tigers this season.
“Kenton Gibbs is in reasonable nick so we are going to have to be on top of our game,” Dew said.
“Our challenge is going to be kicking enough goals as we aren’t traditionally a high-scoring team.”
The potential inclusion of Cameron will be vital to the Kangas’ chances, with star Jack McPhee spending more time in attack in the second half of the season.
Tigers player-coach Craig Frost yesterday said Hortin would “probably not” be ready to return from a hamstring strain suffered in round 12.
Ruckman Laurie Dowsett (reserves) and defender Jack Hastie (finger) are expected to return to the side.
“Our team will probably be very similar to last week with maybe one or two changes,” Frost said.
“The pressure of finals makes it a different ball game.
“While we have won quite convincingly the last couple of weeks, that has been on the back of our four-quarter efforts.”
Regardless of the result, the grand final will be at Tigerland as Railways have hosting rights this season.
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