LAVINGTON has axed injury-troubled star Myles Aalbers for tomorrow’s qualifying final against Yarrawonga.
Aalbers was the shock omission at selection last night, with the Panthers opting not to gamble on the fitness of the livewire forward.
He has been named in the reserves.
Lavington coach James Saker, who was one of four inclusions, said the club was forced to make a tough call.
Luke Garland, Zach Hopper and Will Lenehan also came into the Panthers’ side at the expense of Brad Boots, Chris Annett and Tom Plunkett.
“This week’s match committee was the longest we’d had in a while,” Saker said last night.
“We feel like there are four guys missing out this week who could have played a role for us if needed, which hopefully holds us in good stead.
“There’s no doubt Aalbers’ body isn’t at the standard he wants it to be.
“He’s still no certainty to play reserves.
“Ideally, he does and plays well but he’s aware of where he’s at.
“It was his body, more than form.”
Aalbers, who finished runner-up in Lavington’s best and fairest last year, has spent most of this season on the sidelines with ankle problems.
He played in the Panthers’ final three home and away games in a bid to prove his fitness but again pulled up sore following Saturday’s win over Corowa-Rutherglen.
“He’s coming back from a pretty serious injury,” Saker said.
“But there is still time to get it right.”
The Pigeons welcomed back champion midfielder Craig Ednie, as well as Tyler Bonat and Brad O’Connor for the clash at W.J. Findlay Oval.
Corowa-Rutherglen, meanwhile, received a huge boost ahead of its do-or-die final against Wangaratta Rovers.
AFL hopeful Mick Mattingly, who has played just twice for the Roos this year, was picked and is available to play on Sunday.
The young midfielder has spent most of the season playing with Greater Western Sydney’s reserves in the NEAFL.
The Hawks and Roos will select their final teams to play in Sunday’s sudden-death final later this afternoon.