Ballarat is confident Josh Gibson will qualify for finals, with the club revealing they opted to take a cautious approach to ensure the three-time AFL premiership player will be fully fit for the 2022 Ballarat Football Netball League season.
The former Hawthorn champion has only featured twice for the Swans and will need to play one of his club's two remaining games to be eligible to play finals.
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Gibson did not make his debut until round seven in a shock win against East Point and played the following weekend before succumbing to a hamstring complaint.
Ballarat coach Joe Carmody said the club did not want to rush the star recruit back onto the field.
"If Josh gets through the next week of training, he'll be a starter for us (next weekend)," Carmody told The Courier.
"He probably could have come back earlier, but we decided to take a longer-term approach.
"It's not just this year; we want him to be in good condition next year as well."
The four-placed Swans have the bye this weekend before welcoming fellow finals hopeful Redan in a must-win clash.
Carmody said the mission was clear, with a match against Lake Wendouree one last chance before a bye to close the home-and-away season.
"We know what we've got to do. We've got to win our last two (games), and they're against teams that beat us the first time around," he said.
"The path to developing this group began in 2019, and we haven't put any limitations on it.
"We've had a few setbacks here-and-there with closes and injuries, but we've tried to keep it the same each week - win, lose, or draw."
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