LAVINGTON star Adam Flagg says the hamstring injury that ended Matt Pendergast’s season last year played a major part in his withdrawal from Saturday’s qualifying final.
Flagg, who watched from the sidelines as the Panthers fell to Yarrawonga by 29 points, is confident he’ll be right to play in Sunday’s do-or-die first semi-final against Wangaratta Rovers.
The Panthers took a gamble on Pendergast in last year’s qualifying final at Birallee Park, and the star midfielder tore his troublesome hamstring.
He missed the rest of the season.
“I think that was something that went through the head of the physio and coaches,” Flagg, 20, said.
“It was pretty similar to ‘Penda’ last year.
“He carried a sore one in and ended up doing it.
“I felt a bit of a tweak the morning of the game and that was the reason I pulled out.”
Flagg, who strained his right hamstring in the first quarter of Lavington’s final-round clash with Corowa-Rutherglen, said he struggled to watch as the Panthers were overrun by the Pigeons at W.J. Findlay Oval.
They must now beat the Hawks on Sunday to keep their season alive.
“It was pretty disappointing,” Flagg said.
“I had played every game this year — including interleague — and so to get to the crunch and not be able to play was tough.
“I haven’t missed any footy all year.”
The former Greater Western Sydney forward, who has booted 48 goals for the Panthers this year, said something would have to go wrong for him to miss again this week.
“I’m pretty certain I’ll play,” he said.
“Obviously I just need to get through a full week of training.”
Flagg, who is one of the fancies for Lavington’s best and fairest, said the club was still more than confident it could be a factor this season.
Yarrawonga co-coach Drew Barnes all but wrote the Panthers off as a premiership contender after Saturday’s result.
“We’ve got some good leaders in the group and we’ll fire up again,” Flagg said.
“It’s always disappointing to lose, let alone a final, but everyone is still confident.
“We just need to tick the boxes during the week and prepare as best we can.”