NORTH Ballarat Rebels remain hopeful co-captain Keegan Mason will return to the field for their TAC Cup under-18 semi-final on Sunday.
Mason was sidelined last week for a niggling high-ankle injury and will continue to be monitored until meeting the Sandringham Dragons at Visy Park.
Nich Weightman (Bungaree) and Billy Lloyd (Horsham Demons) are confirmed inclusions after showing strong form at club level.
The Rebels are vying to keep their finals alive and bounce back after a 99-point loss to Calder Cannons in last weekend’s qualifying final.
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said the mood at training had been upbeat and positive.“The players and coaches have made a conscious effort to move forward. We can’t control what’s happened in the past, only now what’s ahead,” Partington said.
“We’ve had two bad quarters in the past six months and they came at important times for us but we’re confident we can turn that around this week.”
Rebels coach David Loader took a small group to watch the elimination final on Sunday and returned to Eureka Stadium with pages of thorough notes for preparation.
Sandringham claimed a nine-point win against Murray Bushrangers in a tight finish.
The Dragons enter their final with the Rebels on four consecutive wins and strong form at the business end of the season.
The winner will advance to a preliminary final against Oakleigh Chargers.