Swan on light duties at final session; likely inclusion emerges if Cat falls short: GF Late Mail

Chris Scott's daughter steals the show | 01:31
Ben Waterworth from Fox Sports@bjwaterworth

Geelong speedster Max Holmes will be given until the final minute to prove his fitness – but if he doesn’t get up for Saturday’s Grand Final, teammate Mark O’Connor looms as the likely late replacement.

And shock Swans inclusion Hayden McLean is set to play the second ruck role against the Cats with veteran Sam Reid expected to take his place in Sydney’s line-up but poised to spend more time forward.

Both clubs on Friday morning were keeping their cards close to their chest during the Grand Final Parade festivities as Holmes and Reid race to prove their fitness.

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Grand Final
*Odds are current as of 2nd October 2022, 11:23pm AEST

Reid and Holmes on Thursday night were both named in their 22-man line-ups, despite the veteran Swans’ adductor strain and Holmes’ hamstring concern.

Of the duo, Reid appears more likely to play than Holmes, who underwent a fitness test on Friday morning but still remains in some doubt to take his place.

But The Age reported Holmes watched Geelong’s captain’s run after the parade in his tracksuit, with emergencies Brandan Parfitt and Mark O’Connor participating in the session.

Sam De Koning and Max Holmes of the Cats. Picture: Darrian TraynorSource: Getty Images

Cats coach Chris Scott pre-session said Holmes was “looking promising” and had “given himself the best shot” but a final call still hadn’t been made.

“He’s probably done what he’s needed to do from a physical point of view,” Scott told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“We were hoping we’d be at the point now where we could absolutely say that he was playing. What we do know is it’s absolutely not a no, we just need to make sure we spend the requisite time over the next little bit working through whether he’s absolutely right and whether that’s the best thing for us.

“We haven’t absolutely made the decision yet.”

Holmes told Fox Footy: “I’ve ticked a lot of boxes I need to, so we’ll see how it goes today and how it unfolds tomorrow.

“I’ve been pretty flat out just trying to fix it up. I haven’t had too much time to think about what could happen and what might not happen. Just taking it one step at a time, so it’s been a good week.”

The Cats have named Parfitt, O‘Connor, Sam Menegola and Jonathon Ceglar as the four emergencies, with one of them to be announced as the sub.

Asked if O’Connor was the next man up if Holmes didn’t get up, Scott said: “Probably.

“There are three guys over the last couple of weeks in our squad that have been desperately unlucky. Mark’s been one of them, Sam Menegola’s the other and Brandan Parfitt … If you’d asked me 12 weeks ago, those three guys are in our team for sure. I feel desperately for them.

“If Max doesn’t get up, it’ll be one of those guys that comes in.”

Reid did very little at Sydney’s Captain’s Run on the MCG, with only a couple of light kicks before a long conversation with Longmire and assistant coach Dean Cox.

Swans coach John Longmire was emphatic when asked by Fox Footy whether Reid would play, declaring: “He’ll be running out. He’ll be ready.”

Reid added he “did everything we needed to” during a session on Thursday to prove his fitness and was “ready to go” for his third Grand Final.

While Reid held his spot, top draftee Logan McDonald was dropped – despite playing the past five straight games for the Swans – and replaced by Hayden McLean, who hasn’t played since Round 8.

“I’ve been on the other side of that conversation as a player, so it’s not an easy one at all,” Longmire said.

“He’s a terrific young player with a great future ahead of him and we made the decision because we thought it was the best line-up for tomorrow. Very tough for him, but he’s a great kid and he’ll bounce back bigger and better.”

Swans co-captain Luke Parker added: The boys have been pretty helpful with Logan. I think it’s one of the most heartbreaking positions you can be in. He’s got such a big future at our club.

“He’ll take it hard but his attitude has been incredible. He’s still preparing like he’ll play, all week he’s trained like he’ll play and that’s been his attitude all year.”

McLean said it’d been an “interesting week”.

Swans gamble with selection shock | 02:45

Asked how he discovered the news, McLean told Fox Footy: “It was just basically in front of the team. The day before he (Longmire) said ‘just be ready’ in case – it’s been like that for the past month – and lucky enough it’s in one of the bigger weeks.”

Dual premiership Kangaroo David King told Fox Footy it appeared Reid would spend more time forward and McLean would take on second ruck duties.

Asked about that prospect, Longmire told reporters: “We’ve got a few options that we’ve got in the team tomorrow to be able to use at different times during the course of the game. We thought with the mix of tomorrow’s game and the particular set of circumstances we’ve got that was the best mix for us.”