Western United veteran Nikolai Topor-Stanley has lost his race for fitness and will sit out the A-League grand final against Melbourne City.
Western are priced at 9/4 to win the grand final but will have to do it without the 37-year-old who has failed to recover from a foot injury in time to take his place in the side.
The defender picked up the tendon injury in his foot when Western played their final game of the regular season against Adelaide United. He was hoping to prove his fitness but the game has come too soon for him.
Topor-Stanley underwent a fitness test on Tuesday but did not tick all the boxes to come into consideration for the big dance.
"I tried to give myself every chance to be fit and yesterday was a fitness test that I fell short of, which was probably not where I need to be to be able to function fully," Topor-Stanley told AAP.
"I don't want to take someone else's opportunity away to contribute to a grand final. I knew I was a long shot of contributing again this season but I guess we did everything we could and tried to deal with whatever pain I could handle. But (there was) just nowhere near enough time."
Despite not being able to play, Topor-Stanley will still do all he can in the dressing to make sure his team-mates are good to go out and perform.
"That's part of being a leader, knowing how to deal with disappointment and compartmentalise that fact and support the boys and be positive, calm any nerves or offer any advice that I can to people that want it,” he added.