COLAC Tigers are one of three clubs without representatives in the Geelong Football League’s interleague squad.
Squad officials cut utility Kane Leersen from the 23-man side to take on Ballarat at Ballarat’s Eastern Oval tomorrow when they finalised the team this week.
Defender Michael Embrey had already ruled himself out of selection, while Jake Carmody went agonisingly close to receiving a late call-up.
GFL coach Glen Wallace said an injury to South Barwon key forward Clinton Wells opened the door for Carmody, who dominated against St Marys last weekend.
But selectors kept faith in the forwards already training with the squad.
Matt Hebbard, St Marys, and Ben Johnson, Bell Park, will take the key forward roles while Lara recruit Shaydon Bloomfield will play in a forward pocket.
Wallace said he was “rapt” with the final side, which he said was stronger than the group which lost to Ballarat two years ago and beat Bendigo last year.
Former Geelong onballer David Clarke has AFL experience and seven members have played in the VFL this season.
Five are in leadership groups at their GFL clubs and three have won the Mathieson Medal, the GFL’s highest individual honour.
Wallace said winning the midfield battle would be pivotal because of forecast wet conditions at Eastern Oval.
“Conditions are not supposed to be the greatest so whilst they’ve got a couple of really big key-position players and two really big, strong players in the ruck I’m not sure how much impact they’ll have,” he said.
“Whilst it’s handy to have two massive ruckmen we’ve got for more versatile ruckmen.”
The Ballarat-Geelong clash is one of the headline matches of the Victorian Country Football League’s country championships this weekend.
The winner will take on either Goulburn Valley or Mornington Peninsula Nepean in 2013 for the number-one ranking in country Victoria.
Wallace said a fast start would be essential if Geelong was to win.
Ballarat kicked the first seven goals en route to a 12-point win against Geelong two years ago and Bendigo also had a quarter-time lead last year.
“The first 15 minutes of the game are a huge contest,” Wallace said.
“We’re setting things up a little bit different this year and that’s placing players who are familiar with each other in the middle to start with,” he said.