Wangaratta's Michael Newton says count me in for Sunday's preliminary final

Wangaratta forward Josh Porter will play his first game in nine weeks against Yarrawonga.
Wangaratta forward Josh Porter will play his first game in nine weeks against Yarrawonga.

Wangaratta gun Michael Newton says he expects to play Sunday’s preliminary final, but Yarrawonga doesn’t believe the Pies will take the risk.

The Pigeons are just as adamant forward Josh Porter will return from university studies in the US to play his first game in nine weeks at North Albury’s Bunton Park.

“We are 100 per cent Porter will play,” Pigeons’ co-coach Chris Kennedy said.

“We don’t think Newton will play. If he has done a hammie, only two weeks ago, it would be a big risk.

“But we’ll have a side that could play on all their players.”

Newton has played just over a half of football since he left the field with a hamstring injury against Wodonga on July 29.

He left the field early in the third quarter of the Pies’ 76-point hiding of Yarrawonga in the qualifying final on September 2.

“The second time I did it, the scan showed no sign of any new injury,” Newton said.

“Pretty much it was just aggravated scar tissue.”

Newton’s hamstring injury has become crucial to Wangaratta’s hopes of contesting its first grand final since snaring the 2008 flag.

“It felt good Tuesday night and I’m really confident, at this stage, that it will be right to go,” he said.

Porter’s return has been a talking point since his last game against Wangaratta Rovers on July 16.

A border travel agent told The Border Mail a return flight from the US would cost approximately $2000.

“He’s a good player and whoever plays on him has a big job,” Kennedy said.

It felt good Tuesday night and I’m really confident, at this stage, that it will be right to go.

Michael Newton