LAST TIME THEY MET: Waubra 7.6 (48) d Beaufort 7.4 (46), round 9, 2018
Beaufort coach Rohan Brown has declared star utility Ben Hayes a “definite” starter for the side’s preliminary final bout with Waubra.
Hayes, who was recruited back to the Central Highlands Football League club from Lake Wendouree this season, has not played since mid-June because of injury.
Brown said Hayes had been battling a medial strain in his knee, and while he could have played in the qualifying final victory against Gordon, was rested with a double chance up the sleeve.
The Beaufort coach wasn’t as definitive on classy midfielder/forward Jarrod McCorkell, who has missed since round nine with a shoulder issue.
"Ben’s a definite and Jarrod is 50-50… he really is,” Brown said on Thursday before training.
After earning a direct passage through to a preliminary final, Brown said his team trained as normal last week and had a light skills session on Saturday.
"If we play our best footy we are every chance,” he said about the clash with the Roos.
“It’s finals footy and anything can happen.
“It’s been our goal to finish top four and obviously to make a grand final, but they (Waubra) don’t finish top for no reason...”
Beaufort is looking for a second-straight grand final appearance after losing to Hepburn in last year’s decider. If successful this weekend, the Crows will earn a shot at winning their first flag since 1996.
Waubra coach Matt James is planning to bring back key duo Matt Dawson and Ben Wilson to the side that beat Springbank last Saturday.
Dawson (foot) and Wilson (knee) were absent for the Roos’ breakthrough finals win, which was their first since 2014.
Backman Billy Douglass hurt his ankle in that contest and is one of the players to make way this weekend.
Back in round nine, Waubra got the result against Beaufort in a low-scoring encounter by two points.
James said he was pretty confident Waubra’s best could match it with the Crows once again.
“We beat them last time. They’re obviously the fancied pick, but we have done it before. We are obviously good enough to do it again,” he said.
In his first season in charge of the Roos, James is hoping to give the club a shot at its first senior premiership since 2011. That was also the last time Waubra featured in a grand final.
Saturday’s game will be played at Buninyong, with the winner to meet either the Bombers or Gordon in the decider at Mars Stadium on September 8.