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And there’s set to be some selection heartbreak at the Cats, with young wingman Max Holmes to be withdrawn thanks to his hamstring injury.
The 20-year-old has been a crucial element of the club’s faster gamestyle in 2022 but after suffering the injury in the preliminary final, he’ll be replaced in the 23-man squad by Brandan Parfitt.
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“Max has done a remarkable job with ticking the boxes required,” Geelong footy boss Simon Lloyd told Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph, in quotes he reported on Fox Footy.
“As a club we have to weigh up the risk and whether it’s too great. We have fit players available. Max has done absolutely everything that was asked of him.”
Cats assistant Shaun Grigg told 3AW: “It’s really lineball, it’s just one of those calls that we’re going to have to put the team first. And it’s one of those unlucky stories.”
Grigg confirmed Mark O’Connor will take Holmes’ spot in the 22, with Brandan Parfitt the medical sub.
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.
“It’s absolutely horrible,” triple premiership Cat Cameron Mooney told Fox Footy.
“He’s been fantastic Max. He’s come in this year along with Close and Miers and shown some real speed in that midfield and as a high half-forward.”
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.
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.
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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.
One hour before the first bounce (2:30pm AEST) it will be confirmed whether Sam Reid (adductor) will be replaced in Sydney’s 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.
Follow Geelong v Sydney in the 2022 AFL Grand Final live below!