LORNE football coaches say they will not rush the recovery of stars Lee Hollmer and Steve Oliver to have them on the field for round one.
Co-coach Drew Steven said the players, who each missed the second half of season 2011 with injury, would receive as much time as they needed to return to full fitness.
“We’re not going to hold our breath, if they’re not right then they won’t play,” he said.
“We want them fully recovered, if that’s the case in round one then great, otherwise we’ll keep monitoring them.
“It’ll come down to them saying they’re right to go.”
Steven said Oliver, who was having a stellar season before he dislocated his foot in round nine last year, was nearing top fitness.
“He’d been training on and off before Christmas and he’s pretty right to go,” he said.
“He’s not quite 100 per cent, but he’s trained pretty hard for the break and pulled up a bit sore.”
Hollmer, one of the Colac District Football League’s premier ruckmen, has spent the past seven months recovering from surgery to repair a damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
“Lee is back doing a bit of light running, which is great to see,” Steven
“He had a knee operation and he’s on the mend, he’s been doing the light running for a while, as well as being back working and walking on it,” he said.
The Dolphins will hope to have their list back to full strength as soon as possible after a horror run of injuries in season 2012.
Steven estimated the team had its best side on the field for “probably the first four or five” of its 20 games.
“To lose two of our biggest players was bad but then we had a lot of soft-tissue injuries, we had a lot of people having to play sore or out of position,” he said.
“When we lost a few the spirit went down a bit but when we made finals they showed a lot of passion and determination – and we hope to build on that foundation this year.”
Steven said the rest of the team, which finished fourth in 2011, was fit and ready to go for round one
with pre-season training kicking off this week.