LAVINGTON midfielder Matt Pendergast thought “a dog had bitten him” when he re-injured his hamstring in Saturday’s qualifying final against Yarrawonga at Birallee Park.
A frustrated Pendergast was forced from the field in the third quarter and looks is serious doubt for the Panthers must-win clash against Wangaratta Rovers at John Foord Oval this weekend.
“Obviously it wasn’t an ideal outcome but I’ll see the physio and see where I’m up to,” he said.
“I’m optimistic about playing this week.
“A lot of people have probably said I shouldn’t have played on Saturday, but it felt good at training and was strong and if I had the week off it could have gone again.”
Pendergast originally suffered the injury against North Albury in round 17 and sat out Lavington’s match against Wodonga at John Flower Oval.
He went through the first-half unscathed against Yarrawonga but believes the half-time break may have contributed to the injury flaring.
“I was going fine,” he said.
“Maybe having a rest at half-time didn’t help because of the lactic acid that builds up.
“I thought a dog had bitten me from out of the Raiders stand when it went in front of the bench and it was really disappointing even though Yarrawonga was on top by that stage.”
Pendergast said Lavington expected Yarrawonga to come out hard in the qualifying final but were unable to stem the flow with gun forwards Brendan Fevola and Kayne Pettifer feasting on opportunities inside 50 metres.
But the former Ovens and Murray coach backed the Panthers to hit back hard against Wangaratta Rovers in the first semi- final on Sunday.
“We’ll regroup,” he said.
“I think Albury might have stirred up a monster the way Yarra came out.
“They are a fairly ruthless, brutal team when they get up and going and we knew that would be the case.”
Lavington is set to regain Luke Brauer from a calf injury.