The first heartbreak of AFL grand final day has struck early, with Geelong’s Max Holmes expected to miss the game with a hamstring injury.
- Rising star Max Holmes injured his hamstring in the preliminary final against Brisbane
- There had been some hope that the wingman would play after it was revealed that the injury was minor
- Mark O’Connor or Brandan Parfitt are likely to come into the team as the Cats take on the Swans
Mark O’Connor or Brandan Parfitt will likely be called into Geelong’s team.
The big decision was reportedly made on Friday afternoon, despite Holmes moving well during a fitness test on his injured hamstring that morning.
The 20-year-old wingman, who suffered the injury during the preliminary final against Brisbane, did not take part in the Cats’ light training run at the MCG on Friday afternoon.
He spoke to club staff on the boundary line as his teammates completed light work ahead of Saturday’s season decider against Sydney.
Irishman O’Connor has been the medi-sub in the Cats’ two previous finals and appears the most likely replacement if Holmes is ruled out.
Parfitt and Sam Menegola are also in the mix, named with O’Connor as emergencies alongside back-up ruckman Jon Ceglar.
On Friday, Geelong coach Chris Scott said O’Connor was “probably” the man to come in if Holmes was ruled out.
That would leave Parfitt or Menegola as the likely medi-sub.
“There are three guys over the last couple of weeks in our squad, in particular, that have been desperately unlucky,” Scott said.
“Mark’s been one of them, Sam Menegola is another and Brandan Parfitt is probably the other.
“There’s another group of players beyond them, but if you had asked me 12 weeks ago, I would have said that those three guys are in our team for sure.
“I feel desperately for them but if Max doesn’t come up he will be one of those guys that comes in.”
Sydney have also had injury concerns during the week, but coach John Longmire insists Sam Reid (adductor) and Justin McInerney (ankle) will play.
Reid was substituted out of the preliminary final win over Collingwood, but McInerney managed to finish the game.
“(Reid) got some scans on Monday and that was really encouraging, so we were confident from that point,” Longmire said.
“He did some training on Thursday and did exactly what he needed to do.
“Our medical staff have been terrific, we were always confident that (McInerney) would be right.
“He finished off the game strongly last week so he’s right to go.”