MANGOPLAH-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes is set to be boosted by the return of classy midfielder Mitch Daniher for Sunday’s Riverina League grand final.
Daniher is not a certain starter but is much more confident about playing in the premiership decider than he was for the second semi-final a fortnight ago.
He will undergo a fitness test at the Goannas’ final training session on Friday night, and then test it out again on Saturday morning.
“I’m pretty hopeful to be playing,” Daniher said.
“I still don’t know if I can do anything, I haven’t done anything on it but I’ll do something on Friday and see how it goes.
I'm pretty hopeful to be playing- MCUE's Mitch Daniher
“I’ll do anything to play.”
Daniher has carried a knee injury for most of the year, but it has worsened in the second half of the season.
It has restricted him to just two games in the second half of the year, his last appearance being against Narrandera on August 1.
The Goannas are unlikely to roll the dice on injured players but could make an exception for the likes of Daniher, a two-time Mulrooney Medallist for the best and fairest player in the AFL Canberra competition.
Daniher was MCUE’s best in last year’s grand final defeat and is renowned as a big game player.
The 29-year-old admits he cannot bare the thought of watching a grand final from the sideline.
“It was pretty ordinary watching from the bench the other day,” he said.
“It’s hard, especially this time of year when the weather’s good.
“I’m pretty keen...I’d say I’ll play.”
Daniher is no stranger to grand final day, even in the Riverina League.
He was a teenager when he lined up for Turvey Park when they went down to Griffith in the 2003 decider.
In 2011, he was part of the Queanbeyan team that lost to Sydney Swans’ reserves in the North Eastern Australian Football League (NEAFL) eastern conference grand final.
A year later he enjoyed his first senior premiership when the Tigers reversed the result of the previous year against the Swans.
Meantime, Daniher’s likely return will leave MCUE”s coaching staff with at least one tough decision to make at the selection table on Friday night.
Jock Cornell was in some doubt with his commitments with Greater Western Sydney’s reserves but they were knocked out of finals last weekend.
Cornell was committed to playing the Giants final this Saturday, but would have tried to back up to play for the Goannas in the Riverina League grand final the next day.
MCUE may also look to call up Ethan Schiller or Nathon Irvin.
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