Marrar forward John Hoey has fallen short in his bid to overcome a calf injury in time for Saturday’s Farrer League grand final against North Wagga.
Hoey, who suffered the injury at training two weeks ago, couldn’t come through a fitness test on Thursday night.
It means the return of midfielder Curtis Allen is the only change for the decider, with small forward Charlie Youngman the unlucky omission.
Earlier on Thursday, Bombers coach Shane Lenon declared the grand final a “50-50” proposition despite the Bombers going in on the back of two straight wins against North Wagga.
The reigning premiers went down to the Saints mid-season but won their last round encounter at Langtry Oval as well as the second semi-final at Maher Oval.
“I’m not a bookie, I’m a punter and I’ve backed plenty of favourites that have got rolled. It’s a 50-50 bet for mine,” Lenon said.
Those two wins carried big prizes – the minor premiership, and then a short-cut to the grand final. Combined with a club bye in round 17, it means Marrar have only played two games since August 4.
Lenon says it’s a dream grand final and he isn’t concerned with a preparation that has seen them have every second week off
I’m not a bookie, I’m a punter and I’ve backed plenty of favourites that have got rolled. It’s a 50-50 bet for mine.Shane Lenon
“Nah, not at all… we’ll be fresh, that’s the way we’ve gone in, we’ll approach it as a positive,” Lenon said.
“The two best sides are playing off and that’s been proven by ladder positions. The minor premiership came down to the last game. The last two games, sort of a kick in them, and the last couple of minutes the game’s still in the balance – it’s great for footy really, when you look at it. It’s exciting and I think it’ll be a cracker.”
After breaking the club’s premiership drought last year, Marrar’s centenary celebrations are a motivating factor this season.
“It’s exciting more than pressure,” he said.
“I think the whole township and the club itself has just embraced the fact that it’s a hundred years. Yeah, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity there’s no doubt about that… but pressure’s not a part of it. It’s more just enjoyment and excitement.”
Lenon said a better start is a big focus after Marrar have left it to the fourth-quarter to run down the Saints in their last two games.
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