The two greatest AFL clubs of the last 20 years meet in a Grand Final for the very first time, as Geelong faces Sydney for the right to be called 2022 premiers.
And there’s set to be some selection heartbreak at the Cats, with reports indicating young gun Max Holmes will miss due to injury.
The Age reported on Saturday morning Holmes, who’d been in doubt this week with a hamstring injury, was “not expected” to play in the Grand Final, despite being named in the 22-man line-up on Thursday night.
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Holmes was seen in his tracksuit at Geelong’s captain’s run on Friday afternoon and didn’t participate in the training session. Earlier, Cats coach Chris Scott was hesitant to confirm Holmes would play when he fronted reporters.
Scott said if Holmes didn’t get up, Mark O’Connor would likely be included in the side, although The Age reported Brandan Parfitt was also in the mix to replace Holmes.
Holmes, named to play on Thursday, did not join in the short captain’s run at lunchtime at the MCG on Friday, but had a secret training session in the morning beforehand.
Even though the Cats and Swans (as South Melbourne) were foundation members of the eight-team VFL in 1897, this is the first time they have met in the premiership decider.
Since 2005, they have shared five of the 17 premierships on offer, and no teams have participated in the finals more often – Geelong missing the eight just twice, and Sydney missing three times.
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But for the first time in a decade, one of them will avoid being the bridesmaid. Geelong is seeking its first AFL flag since 2011; Sydney its first since 2012. The pair have lost a combined three Grand Finals since those triumphs.
At selection, Sydney forward Logan McDonald suffered the heartbreak of being dropped for a Grand Final, becoming the 10th player in the 18-team AFL era to suffer that fate.
But late changes are looming large, with Geelong’s Max Holmes and Sydney’s Sam Reid both under injury clouds after incidents in their sides’ preliminary final victories.
One hour before the first bounce (2:30pm AEST) it will be confirmed whether Holmes (hamstring) or Reid (adductor) will be replaced in the 22, as well as who the medical substitutes will be.
The 2022 AFL Grand Final begins at 2:30pm AEST from the MCG.
Watch a massive day of Grand Final build-up from 9am on Fox Footy, including the Grand Final Breakfast, the Longest Kick competition, and pre-game analysis from the best team in the business.
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