North Bendigo coach Matt Dillon faces a tough week at the selection table ahead of Saturday's HDFNL grand final.
The Bulldogs didn't have a bad player in last Saturday's 15-goal drubbing of Mt Pleasant in the preliminary final, but Dillon has two key players waiting in the wings to earn a shot at selection for the big game against Colbinabbin.
Darcy Richards, who suffered a fracture to his lower leg a month ago, and Ben Knight, who broke a bone in his hand in the second semi-final loss to Colbinabbin, will train this week in a bid to prove their fitness.
"They're both going to need train solidly this week,'' Dillon said.
"They'll be put through some strong fitness tests. They're going to need to be right because there's guys in the team that are playing good footy that are fit.
"We won't go with a guy that could be a liability late in the game when we've got fit guys ready to go."
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Should one or both of Richards and Knight prove their fitness then Dillon and his selection panel have some big decisions to make.
The Dogs didn't pick up any new injuries in the preliminary final, with Dillon admitting he had "26 players to fit into a team of 22".
"There's going to be two guys, maybe three, who could be really, really unlucky to miss out on a spot in the team,'' Dillon said.
"It's going to come down to who matches up best against Colbo. That's what we'll look at and that's what will determine the final 22.
"We knew this could potentially happen if we had close to a full-strength team.
"It's a good problem to have, but delivering those messages is not pleasant."
Colbinabbin defeated the minor premier Bulldogs by 26 points in the second semi-final.
Their home and away meetings were both tight tussles, with North Bendigo winning both matches by 13 and 11 points respectively.
The free-scoring Bulldogs only average 75 points per game against the Hoppers this year, while Colbo's score of 104 points in the second semi-final was only the second time this year the Dogs have conceded 100 or more points in a game.
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