LAVINGTON utility Adam Butler will play in Sunday’s preliminary final against Albury.
The Panthers’ big man has been labelled a certain starter just a week after leaving John Foord Oval in an ambulance.
Last Sunday’s knockout semi-final had to be abandoned with just minutes remaining after Butler was left motionless following a sickening clash.
But Lavington last night named the 150-game veteran.
“He’s right. He trained fully this week,” Panthers’ coach James Saker said.
“He’s got one more box to tick, from a medical standpoint, but he’ll be playing.”
Saker said there was no reason for the former Fremantle rookie to be left out of the side.
“There was no structural damage,” he said.
“And he wasn’t actually concussed, which was our initial doubt.
“We’ve followed the process.”
In an added boost, key midfielders Matt Pendergast and Mick Gibbons also look likely prospects.
Pendergast, who missed last Sunday’s final with a hamstring strain, trained strongly last night and has given himself every chance of playing.
Gibbons is likely to overcome an ankle problem in time for the clash and will play if fit.
The Murray Bushrangers’ captain looms as a valuable addition in the centre of the ground.
Albury, meanwhile, recalled forwards Andy Carey and Matt Fowler for the do-or-die final at Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval.
Kieran Ellis and Toby Blissett were also named on a six-man bench.
Young forward Will Haberecht, who went to hospital following last Saturday’s second semi-final loss to Yarrawonga, is the only omission at this stage.
In other news, Justin Hoggan has returned to the Ovens and Murray from Berrigan.
But there’s a twist.
The former Wangaratta Rovers utility has joined the Hawks’ fiercest rival — Wangaratta.
Hoggan, who spent two years coaching Berrigan in the Picola North West league, has signed at Norm Minns Oval as a playing assistant coach for next season.
The swingman played more than 50 games for the Hawks.