Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes will be without key defender Matt Collins for Sunday’s elimination final against Leeton-Whitton.
The Goannas welcome back four key players for the sudden death final at Narrandera Sportsground but will not welcome back Collins, and lose Stace Creasy.
Collins has battled a back injury for some time and it has not improved, while Creasy injured his hamstring in the loss to Griffith a fortnight ago.
Collins was set to have the job on Leeton-Whitton spearhead Daniel Muir but has been ruled out due to injury.
“The poor bugger can’t even bend over. He’s tried everything,” MCUE coach Travis Cohalan said.
“If you had of asked me who was most likely to be right out of our injured blokes three weeks ago I would have said Matt but unfortunately it hasn’t come good.”
George Kendall is now likely to start in defence and get the job on Muir.
“We’ve got a few options,” Cohalan said.
“George Kendall is one. He’s had some really good numbers on some of the competition’s premier forwards this year, then you’ve got Isaac Damme, Alex McCormack, Jack Carey and Steve Marsden there as well.
“We definitely think we’ve got the options there to cover the loss of Matt. We’ll start with someone but we’ve got the options there if we need to change things around.”
While Collins and Creasy miss, captain Ryan Price, experienced midfielder Trent Cohalan, Paddy Griffin and Jack Carey return from injury.
“It’s certainly the strongest side we’ve had for probably two months,” Cohalan said.
“There’s no more excuses, it’s an elimination final. Excuses are like backsides, everyone’s got one and they all stink.
“It’s one of our strongest sides for a couple of months, we’ll back ourselves in to produce that work rate and see where it takes us.”
Leeton-Whitton have enjoyed the wood over MCUE in finals football in recent times with three finals wins over the Goannas in the past two years.
The wins have been split one apiece during this season and Cohalan is confident the Goannas can get the job done if they bring their best.
“I think for us it’s pretty simple, we need to have four quarters of consistent work rate,” he said.
“All year, we’ve only had four quarters of consistent work rate for two games I’d say and they were two of our better wins for the year.
“There’s no secret formula, we need 22 blokes putting in 100 per cent in terms of work rate to play our best.”
Cohalan said last week’s bye was the perfect preparation for finals.