Ploenges returns to Hawks ahead of final, Trinder still in doubt

LEADERS: Henwood Park's Matt Menser clutches the Pascoe Cup alongside Lake Albert's Fred Gardner, as Henwood's Chris Hart and Lake's Ben Angel look on. Picture: Laura Hardwick
LEADERS: Henwood Park's Matt Menser clutches the Pascoe Cup alongside Lake Albert's Fred Gardner, as Henwood's Chris Hart and Lake's Ben Angel look on. Picture: Laura Hardwick

Star Henwood Park striker Jake Ploenges will grit his teeth and play through significant pain in a determined bid to win the Pascoe Cup grand final against Lake Albert on Sunday.

Ploenges returned from two weeks on the sidelines with a groin ailment for Henwood's major semi-final against Lake Albert, only to limp from the field after reaggravating the injury.

He missed the Hawks’ preliminary final against Tolland last week, but vowed to play in the final no matter what.

The competition’s second-leading goal scorer said he would be far from 100 per cent.

“It doesn’t feel great but I’ll definitely be playing,” Ploenges said.

“It has improved but only slightly and I’ll be getting it looked at again today.

“It’ll be painful to play, but worth it.”

While Henwood Park’s primary goal scorer has been included in the squad, their main goal stopper is likely to be a game-day decision.

Goalkeeper Nathan Trinder sprained his ankle during the major semi-final and has struggled to get on top of the injury since.

Henwood Park president Ryan Smith said Trinder, who is widely considered to be one of the best keepers in the competition, would be given every chance to play.

Should Trinder fail to prove his fitness in time for the final, reserves keeper David Rainbird will step into goals for his second grand final within the space of hours.

Meanwhile, Hawks coach Matt Menser said his side has nothing to lose in the final.

The Hawks were trounced by a rampaging Lake side in the major semi-final two weeks ago and Menser said the silver lining was that all the pressure had shifted to Lake Albert to repeat their high-scoring exploits when it really matters.

“I definitely think we’re underdogs, they did a number on us last time,” he said.

“But that means we can just head out there with nothing to lose.”

Menser also said his team would have to limit the supply of the ball to Lake Albert’s strikers.

The Pascoe Cup grand final kicks off at 5.40pm on Sunday at Equex Centre.