Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs have named their teams for this Saturday’s AFL Grand Final, to be held at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Speculation that Bulldogs defender Ryan Gardner would be omitted from the side has come to fruition, with Alex Keath moving into the 22 in his place.
Gardner, who played all three of his side’s previous finals, joins forward Laitham Vandermeer as one of the Bulldogs’ hard luck stories.
Vandermeer has dropped from the side to make way for livewire Cody Weightman, who has returned from a concussion.
In addition, Taylor Duryea drops to the bench, bringing Bailey Williams into the back pocket.
As expected, the Demons have made minimal changes to the side that belted Geelong in the preliminary final.
Key defender Steven May has recovered from hamstring tightness to take his place in Melbourne’s backline, while small forward Charlie Spargo has also shaken off injury concerns.
Coach Simon Goodwin has made some minor adjustments – Trent Rivers comes into the starting side in place of the benched Jake Bowey. Both Kysaiah Pickett and James Harmes will ride the pine to let Alex Neal-Bullen and Charlie Spargo begin on the ground.
Jayden Hunt is the unlucky man for the Demons. The defender played every game of the regular season up until round 21, when he was struck down with an ankle injury. He had been considered a chance to return to the side during the finals series but has been named an emergency substitution for Saturday.
The teams for the AFL Grand Final are:
FB: Wood, Keath, Williams
HB: Daniel, Cordy, Dale
C: Smith, Liberatore, Hunter
HF: Weightman, Naughton, Treloar
FF: Schache, English, Hannan
FOLL: Martin, Macrae, Bontempelli
IC: Johannisen, Dunkley, Duryea, Smith
EMG: Vandermeer, Richards, Scott, Gardner
IN: Keath, Weightman
OUT: Gardner (omitted), Scott (sub), Vandermeer (omitted)
FB: Hibberd, May, Lever
HB: Rivers, Petty, Salem
CL Brayshaw, Petracca, Langdon
HF: Neal-Bullen, McDonald, Sparrow
FF: Spargo, Brown, Fritsch
FOLL: Gawn, Oliver, Viney
IC: Harmes, Jackson, Bowey, Pickett
EMG: Melksham, Jordon, Hunt, Chandler
OUT: Jordon (sub)