SUNBURY'S senior premiership campaign will not suffer as a result of the club's under-18.5 team being excluded from finals, senior coach Rick Horwood said yesterday.
The eastern Lions are unlikely to dip further into the under-18.5 pool for the rest of the Red Onion Ballarat Football League finals beginning with Saturday's second semi-final against East Point, Horwood explained.
Sunbury's under-18.5 team defeated Sebastopol in an elimination final on Sunday but was later disqualified for playing an ineligible player. The player concerned was an under-16.5 player from the Sunbury Lions Junior Football Club, which is a separate incorporated body playing in the Riddell District Football League.
"(Under-18.5 players) Tim Hill and Greg Hay would have played senior football anyway," Horwood said at yesterday's BFL press conference.
"The only (under-18 age) player we would look at is (Calder Cannons player) Aaron Christensen and he wouldn't have played under-18.5s.
"It (the disqualification) was a hard thing for the club. It was daunting looking into the eyes of the players when the news was delivered. It was dead silent."
There are unlikely to be wholesale changes to the team that comfortably defeated Redan in last Saturday's qualifying final.
Late withdrawal Jack Sullivan is available and a chance to be selected.
While Brett Chambers played at full-back last weekend against Redan, Horwood said Allan O'Connor will return to the key defensive post to match up East Point playing coach Dan Jordan.
Like Sunbury, East Point is just one win away from a grand final appearance.
While the Red Lion Kangaroos stumbled at times against sixth placed Ballarat in their elimination final last Sunday, Jordan said it was more to do with youth than East Point's unhappy record in finals.
"I agree (the East Point players panicked). There were a few skill errors but the players kept their heads and got the job done," Jordan said.
"This side is different to when we last played finals. For a lot of them it's the first time in finals.
"We've exceeded a few people's expection, but not ours. We deserve to be there."