EX-AFL player Tristan Cartledge is no certainty to play for North Ballarat City against Redan in Sunday’s first semi-final, even if he is declared fit.
Peach’s North City coach Rob Waters said the former Richmond and Essendon player would face a fitness test on a hamstring injury before being considered for the sudden death final but that would not be the be-all and end-all with regards to selection.
Cartledge, arguably North City’s biggest recruit this year, has not played since injuring his leg during North Ballarat City’s round 16 defeat against Darley.
Waters said Cartledge was eager to play but team balance would have to come into consideration.
“He rang me twice today. He’s very keen,” Waters said yesterday at the Ballarat Football League semi-final press conference.
“Do we go an extra tall? I don’t know. Our pace against Redan is pretty good. If Tristan Cartledge comes in it means we have one less runner.”
Tyler George and Andrew Leahy are also likely to be available for North City, which comprehensively trounced Darley by 61 points in an elimination final last Saturday. That will give Waters yet more choice.
Redan also has selection dilemmas ahead of Sunday.
Co-coach Eammon Gill has declared Nathan Horbury will play while rating giant ruckman Nick Bye a 50-50 chance of inclusion.
The Redan rucks were dominated by Sunbury’s Pat Cariss last Saturday but Gill said that did not mean the L&H Lions’ ruck division couldn’t win without Bye.
“Height has been one of our concerns all year but, until Saturday, our ruckmen had done well,” Gill said.
“We’ve had two young ruckmen (Dan Colbert and Chris Edwards) and they’ve done well against all the teams left in the finals. And Brett Dickinson has played three or four weeks back in the side and he’s a premiership player. He’ll be better for the run.”
Gill said Redan will be under no more pressure in the match than North Ballarat City despite the possibility of a straight-sets exit from finals.
“We lose and we’re out. So is North. If they lose they’re out too,” he said.