EAST Point key forward Brad Whittaker has been added as a late inclusion to the Ballarat Football League interleague squad to take on Goulburn Valley next week.
Having initially been excluded from the 48-man squad, the Kangaroos’ centre-half forward has been promoted to the training squad, which is set to be trimmed back to a final 25 on Sunday.
Whittaker has started the 2014 season in red-hot form, playing arguably his best game in the red, white and blue against North Ballarat City last week, when he kicked five goals against the reigning premier.
He is the only player to be added to the squad who was not originally named.
Meanwhile, three players originally picked in the side have been ruled out of contention due to injury and a lack of preparation.
Nathan Blomeley and Ryan Waight have had to withdraw, with a back and hamstring injury respectively, while North Ballarat City’s Ryan Luke is unavailable for selection, having not played a senior game yet this year.
Luke, who played in last year’s victorious side over Bendigo, has only played one reserves game in 2014, falling short of the two matches required in order to qualify.
Coach Shane Skontra admitted his side would be slightly younger than in previous years, but said it was one that had been deliberately picked to match up with the sort of side he thought the GVFL would field.
Among the stars set to pull on a GVFL jumper next Saturday will be former Sydney Swans footballer Brett Meredith, who has been in his side’s top three players in all four matches this year.
Unlike Ballarat’s five training sessions, the Goulburn Valley side will only have two interleague training sessions, although Skontra said the raw talent of the opposition would speak volumes.
“They probably have the ability where they might not have to train as much as us, but that’s where we want to take advantage,” Skontra said.
The squad will train at St Patrick’s College on Sunday, before training again with the final squad on Tuesday and Thursday.