Unlucky trio to miss AFL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Unlucky trio to miss AFL grand final

25/09/2008 10:08:18 PM Comments (0)

David Wojcinski, Simon Taylor and Thomas Murphy loom as the hard-luck stories of this year's AFL grand final after Geelong and Hawthorn named their teams.

The two teams made only one change between them, with the Cats leaving out Wojcinski so Paul Chapman can return to the side.

Wojcinski was named as an emergency, as were Taylor and Murphy for the unchanged Hawthorn line-up.

Cats coach Mark Thompson broke the news after training today to Wojcinski, who played in last year's history-making premiership team.

"It was just a mathematical decision in the end, that we wanted to play more than 22 - there wasn't anyone who didn't want to play `Wojo'," said Geelong football manager Neil Balme.

"It was just the way it works out, the fact that `Chappy' comes in, it was a no-brainer to pick him if he's well.

"Wojo has missed a bit and was probably the last to come in.

"Whoever misses out was going to be very unlucky, but unfortunately the choices have to be made."

Chapman has proved his fitness this week after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in the qualifying final.

Wojcinski was injured in round 15 and returned to the team in last week's preliminary final.

Chapman's looming return had led to plenty of speculation this week about who would make way for him, with Mathew Stokes, Tom Lonergan and even Travis Varcoe featuring in media talk.

Balme said Wojcinski was obviously disappointed with the decision, but the defender was quoted in a story posted on the club's website that it was not about him.

"I will be supporting my mates and the team on Saturday and playing any role that I can to help us win," he said.

The two teams will not close off their line-ups until Friday afternoon, in case any players remain in doubt.

Premiership player Shannon Byrnes and Ryan Gamble are the other emergencies for the Cats, while Travis Tuck is the third Hawthorn emergency.

Taylor was rested for round 22 so the Hawks could give younger ruckman Brent Renouf a run and the understudy seized the opportunity.

Taylor had played 18 games this season, while Renouf has managed only seven in his debut year, but has impressed during the finals series.

Bad timing has also cost Murphy - he was a late withdrawal from the preliminary final side for Stephen Gilham.

Hawks vice-captain Luke Hodge will play, despite coughing up blood early in the preliminary final after a knock to his ribs.

Thompson told Channel Nine's The Footy Show that the Cats would not go outside the rules to physically test Hodge early.

"We wouldn't do it (outside) of the rules of the game, but obviously it's a grand final and you do whatever you can," he said..

"The one thing you know about finals and big games, they are physical contests and we're going to absolutely throw everything we can at Hawthorn, like they will at us.

"If he's in the wrong spot at the wrong time, we don't know if he's got sore ribs or not, it's hard to say, but it's a final and we know what the stakes are.

Four Geelong players are set for their grand final debuts - Mark Blake, the controversial omission from last year's premiership team, Varcoe, Harry Taylor and Lonergan.

Steven King (now at St Kilda), Nathan Ablett (retired), Byrnes and Wojcinski are the quartet not repeating.

Hawthorn are in their first grand final since the 1991 premiership.

This is the first all-Victorian grand final since Essendon's win over Melbourne in 2000.

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