AFL Teams Chopping Block: Logan McDonald’s nervous Grand Final wait, Geelong and Sydney consider Holmes and Reid replacements

AFL Teams Chopping Block: Logan McDonald’s nervous Grand Final wait, Geelong and Sydney consider Holmes and Reid replacements

  • AFL
  • September 20, 2022
  • No Comment
  • 17
  • 6 minutes read

Talented Sydney big man Logan McDonald faces a nervous week as both the Swans and Cats wait for the availability of key players ahead of Saturday’s Grand Final

The Cats are sweating on the fitness of dynamic winger Max Holmes, while the Swans will be doing the same with key forward Sam Reid.

McDonald is likely to get a reprieve if Reid is ruled out but could find himself squeezed out if the veteran is passed fit.

The Sporting News considers all the team selection issues ahead of the premiership decider.

Bet with BlueBet this AFL finals series! Back a team head-to-head and if they lead by 12+ points at half-time, you win!

Is Logan McDonald in danger of being axed?

There is no doubt McDonald is going to be a star of the game in the future, but potential doesn’t help your team win a Grand Final.

The 20-year-old has been a non-contributor for Sydney in their two finals so far as the Bloods have beaten Melbourne and Collingwood to reach the big one.

Across the two matches, McDonald has kicked one goal, gathered 10 disposals from seven marks, with two tackles and one inside 50.

This indicates the 196cm key forward has had hardly any influence on finals to date, with possible replacements Hayden McLean and Joel Amartey waiting in the wings.

Geelong’s organised defence, which also features several big bodies, will likely mean space is at a premium for the Swans key forwards, and the bigger frames of both McLean and Amartey could help bring the ball to ground for the likes of Tom Papley and Will Hayward.

With Reid currently under a significant injury cloud, it’s likely McDonald will retain his spot with one of McLean or Amartey to come into the team.

But if Reid gets up for the game, the Swans selection committee faces a decision over which of McDonald, McLean and Amartey to pick for the last Saturday in September.

Who could replace Max Holmes?

Holmes has quietly become of the best wingmen in the AFL across the last two months, with his dashing attacking play becoming crucial to the Cats’ transitional game.

Since round 21, Holmes has reached 18 disposals or more on four occasions, kicking five goals, averaging 7.5 score involvements a game and over 400m gained per match.

With the Cats looking to slingshot the ball out of defence after dropping deep with plenty of numbers, Holmes has been crucial to the team’s ability to sweep the ball quickly into attack, much like the role Ed Langdon has played at Melbourne.

It was a sign of the respect he has garnered in recent weeks with Brisbane Lions tagger Devan Robertson assigned to shut the winger down during the preliminary final.

As Holmes’ availability for the Grand Final is touch-and-go after suffering a hamstring injury, Geelong don’t really have a direct replacement who can come into the team to replace the winger.

Brandan Parfitt is a player with speed to burn that could possibly be brought in to fill the role, but he has spent most of his career as an inside midfielder.

Mark O’Connor was the medical sub who replaced Holmes during the preliminary final, but he is more of a lockdown defender/midfielder.

Sam Menegola is the most experienced option, with the Cats possibility opting to use his large, experienced frame in the stoppage and rotate other midfielders and possibly Gryan Miers or Brad Close through the wing area.

Zach Tuohy could also be pushed higher up the ground into the wing role, with O’Connor likely coming in to fill the defensive roles of the Irishman.

Duo to battle it out for Sam Reid’s spot

With Sam Reid looking likely to miss the Grand Final with a groin issue, McLean and Amartey will be likely be involved in a straight shootout to takeover the veteran Swan’s role.

Both McLean and Amartey have played good football for Sydney at times during their careers but have ultimately lacked the consistency to lock in a senior spot in 2022.

Amartey appears to be the most likely option as he most recently played between rounds 17 and 20.

The 13-gamer kicked four goals in his first two games of that stretch but found himself axed for McDonald after being goalless in round 20.

McLean is the more experienced player of the pair, with 30 games to his name, but hasn’t played for Sydney since being dropped after round 8.

The 23-year-old kicked 10 goals between rounds 1 and 8, but was axed after getting only five disposals in the loss to Gold Coast at the SCG.

Peter Ladhams would be the most likely player to come into the team for Reid if he wasn’t suspended for four games after an incident in the VFL at the end of August.

Bet with BlueBet this AFL finals series! Back a team head-to-head and if they lead by 12+ points at half-time, you win!

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