BALLARAT will protect star player Luke Brennan for its finals clash against North Ballarat City, using the double chance to prevent aggravating his back injury.
Conceding the former top-10 AFL draft pick would probably have played this week had it been a cut-throat final, Swans assistant coach Adam Sewell said Brennan's injury meant he would most likely be rested.
Brennan copped a knee from a teammate in last week's Ballarat Football League elimination final win over Sunbury, although Sewell said his key position player had been cleared of any serious injury.
However, given Ballarat has two cracks at winning to advance the grand final, the Swans are heavily leaning towards leaving Brennan out for the first time this year.
"With the double chance, we will probably err on the side of caution with Luke and give him the week off," Sewell told a BFL press conference on Wednesday.
"If it was an elimination final, I think he would probably put his hand up knowing the type of guy he is and the type of character he is."
Brennan, who played 19 AFL games for Hawthorn and nine for Sydney between 2003 and 2008, has played every game for Ballarat this year, with his strong marking especially evident against Sunbury last week.
He took what would have been a contender for mark of the year last week playing across half back, only for it to be disallowed due to a separate free kick.
"Luke's been able to play a wide variety of roles for us this year, we've had him forward, we've had him in the midfield and he was extremely good across half back last week," Sewell said.
"Both times we've played North City this year he has been predominantly forward and a bit in the midfield. If he was available we would have probably expected him to play that similar type of role."
Brennan's absence will compound the loss of key backman Sam Caldow, who has been rubbed out with suspension, with Chris Thornton to also miss with a hamstring injury sustained in the warm-up last week.
Meanwhile, North Ballarat City will take a near full-strength side into the second semi final.
Defender Sam Howard will probably spend the week in the reserves on the road back from a hamstring injury while Josh McDermott continues to get close to senior selection.
The winner of the match will advance through to the grand final, while the loser will play the victor out of Sunday's match between Redan and Darley in the preliminary final.