BOTH Albury and Lavington are sweating on the fitness of star players ahead of tomorrow’s do or die final at Norm Minns Oval.
The preliminary finalists have named their strongest possible line-ups for the second last game of the season.
Albury forward Josh Maher, who is battling knee soreness, will have a fitness test at Albury Sportsground this morning while midfield ace Matt Pendergast will do the same at Lavington to test his injured hamstring.
Both clubs said their players would have until the last minute to prove their fitness.
Maher left the ground after colliding with a Yarrawonga player during last Saturday’s second semi-final at Bunton Park. While he returned minutes later to allay fears about the seriousness of the problem, he remained in doubt to play tomorrow.
But in a boost for the Ovens and Murray heavyweights, the Tigers have regained key forward Andy Carey from suspension.
Will Haberecht is the Tigers’ only omission so far.
The youngster was left in a world of pain after Brendan Fevola crashed into his back late in Saturday’s match.
The Panthers, meanwhile, included AFL hopeful Mick Gibbons alongside Pendergast.
Gibbons, who sat out last Sunday’s knockout semi-final against Wangaratta Rovers following a taxing TAC Cup season, shapes as a wildcard.
The Murray Bushrangers’ skipper has played just two games for the Panthers this year.
Youngsters Zach Hopper and Sam Hargreave were the hard-luck stories, with both being shown the door at the selection table.
Key utility Adam Butler, who sent a scare through Panthers’ officials on Sunday, will play tomorrow, just a week after leaving John Foord Oval in the back of an ambulance.
Butler was left motionless after a sickening clash in the dying moments of the game that saw the first semi-final abandoned with just minutes to play.