YARRAWONGA star Xavier Leslie has rated himself a 50-50 prospect of playing in Saturday’s blockbuster against Albury.
Leslie, who is battling ankle soreness, made no guarantees about his availability leading into the eagerly anticipated showdown between the Ovens and Murray heavyweights in the second semi-final.
He said he would take no risks with the injury.
The Pigeons still have another chance, should they lose on Saturday, and Leslie said that could play a part in deciding whether or not he played this week.
“It’s pretty stupid to take a risk at this time of the year,” Leslie said.
“I’ll be doing absolutely everything possible to get it right this week but I’d say I’m 50-50, at this stage.
“It’s getting a lot better but I won’t really know until Thursday or Friday.
“Hopefully it’s not too far away.”
Leslie, 27, has been cleared of any structural problems but damaged ligaments when teammate Steve McKee fell on him against the Tigers a fortnight ago.
Leslie revealed he was never that close to playing in Saturday’s qualifying final against Lavington, despite withdrawing just hours before the game.
“I was hopeful, more than anything,” Leslie said.
“I couldn’t run on it for most of the week.
“I haven’t had too much experience with ankles before and sometimes (injuries) stick around, sometimes they don’t.
“All the swelling is gone but it’s the bruising around the bone that’s been giving me the most grief.”
Leslie will continue his rehabilitation this week.
“It’s just about getting the joint moving as much as possible,” he said.
The midfield star, who finished second in last year’s Morris Medal, said the Pigeons were keen to make amends for their disappointing final round showing at Albury Sportsground.
The 47-point loss to the Tigers was Yarrawonga’s heftiest defeat since the 2009 grand final.
“The boys were definitely up and about after the game on the weekend,” Leslie said.
“We’ve got to be at the top of our game this week because the bar raises in finals.
“We’re expecting Albury to raise that bar again from last time.
“Our effort just wasn’t there last time.”