Sydney has pulled a grand final selection shock by dropping former No.4 draft pick Logan McDonald.
The young forward has been brutally axed in favour of Hayden McLean, who is likely to pinch hit in the ruck for the Swans following an injury to Sam Reid. McLean has not played at the AFL level since round eight.
Reid has been named but remains in serious doubt with an adductor problem.
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McDonald only kicked one goal in Sydney’s two finals games on the road to the decider. He may still play on Saturday if named as the medical substitute.
Geelong, meantime, has named young talent Max Holmes despite him battling to overcome a hamstring injury.
See the full grand final teams below.
The AFL has announced megastar Australian singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem will join Robbie Williams as the headline entertainment act for the grand final at the MCG on Saturday.
There had been whispers of UK popstar Williams hitting the stage with another superstar — and the AFL revealed in a statement on Thursday that Goodrem would join him ahead of the decider between Geelong and Sydney.
Goodrem has achieved nine No.1 singles, five No.1 albums, 17 top-10 hits, 12 ARIA Awards, a Silver Logie Award and three World Music Awards.
The 37-year-old performed the Australian national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, ahead of the semi-final between Melbourne and Brisbane at the MCG.
What time will the grand final start?
The opening bounce of the grand final is set for 2.30pm (AEST) on Saturday, September 24.
What is the venue for the grand final?
The grand final will be played at the MCG for the first time since 2019.
COVID-19 resulted in the 2020 grand final being hosted by the Gabba and the 2021 decider by Perth Stadium.
How to watch
The grand final will be broadcast on Seven.
You can also follow the day’s action in Wide World of Sports‘ live blog on Saturday.
Grand final umpires
Field: Matt Stevic (10 AFL grand finals), Simon Meredith (eight) and Brendan Hosking, with Hayden Gavine as the emergency field umpire.
Boundary: Michael Marantelli (five), Christopher Gordon (five) and Matthew Konetschka (four), with emergency boundary umpire Ben McDonald.
Goal: Matthew Dervan (one) and Sam Walsh, with emergency goal umpire Dylan Benwell.
It is Hosking, Walsh, McDonald and Benwell’s first-ever AFL grand final.
The Swans beat the Cats in the only clash between the two sides yet this season, overcoming Geelong 17.5 (107) to 10.17 (77) at the SCG in round two.
Last meeting in a finals match:
Geelong trumped Sydney in the most recent finals match between the two sides, downing the Swans 15.8 (98) to 5.9 (39) in a 2017 semi-final at the MCG.
The clubs have never met in a grand final.
Geelong finished two wins clear on top of the ladder and reached the grand final in straight sets. Chris Scott’s men toppled Collingwood 11.12 (78) to 10.12 (72) in a qualifying final at the MCG, before thrashing Brisbane in a preliminary final 18.12 (120) to 7.7 (49) at the same venue.
Sydney finished in third on the ladder and opened its finals campaign with a 14.7 (91) to 10.9 (69) qualifying final win over Melbourne at the MCG. John Longmire’s men then edged Collingwood 14.11 (95) to 14.10 (94) in a preliminary final at the SCG.
Odds (by Sportsbet)
Geelong $1.51, Sydney $2.56.
Grand final tickets
Tickets have sold out.
Recent AFL grand final history
2021: Melbourne 21. 14. (140) defeated Western Bulldogs 10. 6. (66)
2020: Richmond 12. 9. (81) defeated Geelong 7. 8. (50)
2019: Richmond 17. 12. (114) defeated GWS Giants 3. 7. (25)
2018: West Coast Eagles 11. 13. (79) defeated Collingwood 11. 8. (74)
2017: Richmond 16. 12. (108) defeated Adelaide Crows 8. 12. (60)
2016: Western Bulldogs 13. 11. (89) defeated Sydney Swans 10. 7. (67)
2015: Hawthorn 16. 11. (107) defeated West Coast Eagles 8. 13. (61)
2014: Hawthorn 21. 11. (137) defeated Sydney Swans 11. 8. (74)
2013: Hawthorn 11. 11. (77) defeated Fremantle 8. 14. (62)
2012: Sydney Swans 14. 7. (91) defeated Hawthorn 11. 15. (81)
2011: Geelong 18. 11. (119) defeated Collingwood 12. 9. (81)
2010 (replay): Collingwood 16. 12. (108) defeated St Kilda 7. 10. (52)
Grand final entertainment line-up
– Robbie Williams with Delta Goodrem
– Mike Brady | Up There Cazaly
– Katie Noonan | Advance Australia Fair
– G Flip
– The Temper Trap
– Goanna with Shane Howard, Christine Anu, Emma Donovan, Tasman Keith and William Barton
– The Australian Girls Choir
Grand final teams
B: Jake Kolodjashnij, Sam De Koning, Jed Bews
HB: Mitch Duncan, Tom Stewart, Jack Henry
C: Mark Blicavs, Joel Selwood, Zach Tuohy
HF: Brad Close, Jeremy Cameron, Isaac Smith
F: Tyson Stengle, Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan
FOLL: Rhys Stanley, Patrick Dangerfield, Cameron Guthrie
I/C: Zach Guthrie, Gryan Miers, Tom Atkins, Max Holmes
EMG: Brendan Parfitt, Mark O’Connor, Sam Menegola, Jonathon Ceglar
B: Ollie Florent, Tom McCartin, Dane Rampe
HB: Nick Blakey, Paddy McCartin, Jake Lloyd
C: Callum Mills, Chad Warner, Justin McInerney
HF: Isaac Heeney, Sam Reid, Will Hayward
F: Tom Papley, Lance Franklin, Errol Gulden
FOLL: Tom Hickey, James Rowbottom, Luke Parker
I/C: Robbie Fox, Dylan Stephens, Ryan Clarke, Hayden McLean
EMG: Braeden Campbell, Harry Cunningham, Logan McDonald, Will Gould
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