Collingwood made the big decision to drop John Noble and Jack Ginnivan for Thursday night’s qualifying finals, while the Demons have again opted to sideline new signing Brodie Grundy.
At the Magpies, Ginnivan was given a reprieve as a substitute as the club opted to announce that decision when unveiling their line-up on Wednesday.
But it was heartbreaking scenes for Noble, who had played 83 straight games – including every game this season.
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Noble, one of just five Magpies to feature in all 23 games in 2023, was seen being comforted by captain Darcy Moore after the decision.
For the Demons, the man who will get the nod to replace the injured Jake Melksham is Tom McDonald – not Grundy.
McDonald returns to the lineup for his first game since Round 11.
McDonald and Grundy were locked in a battle for last spot in the forward line and, despite Grundy’s impressive VFL performances two weeks ago, he hasn’t done enough to convince the selection and remains an emergency for the duel.
Both Grundy and McDonald were among the group of six Demons eliminated in the club’s VFL Finals last weekend ahead of their clash with Collingwood.
Michael Hibberd is also returning to Melbourne in one of two transfers.
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AFL FINALS, WEEK 1, TEAMS AND GAME (All times AEST)
COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Thursday, September 7 at 7:20 p.m. at the MCG
B: N. Murphy, D. Moore, I. Quaynor
HB: B Maynard, O Markov, S Pendlebury
C: S. Sidebottom, T. Adams, J. Daicos
HF: B Hill, B Mihocek, J Howe
F: J Elliott, D McStay, J De Goey
FOLL: M.Cox, B.McCreery, J.Crisp
I/C: P. Lipinski, T. Mitchell, D. Cameron, W. Hoskin-Elliott
EMG: Noble J, Macrae F, Frampton B
In: Moore, Murphy, McCreery
Absent: Ginnivan (replacement), Frampton, Macrae, Noble (all omitted)
B: M Hibberd, S May, J Bowey
HB: J McVee, J Lever, A Brayshaw
C: K Pickett, J Viney, E Langdon
HF: L Hunter, T McDonald, A Neal-Bullen
F: T Sparrow, J van Rooyen, K Chandler
FOLL: M.Gawn, C.Oliver, C.Petracca
I/C: J. Smith, C. Salem, T. Rivers, B. Fritsch
EMG: B Grundy, B Laurie, A Tomlinson, J Jordan
In: McDonald, Hibberd
Out: Melksham (injured), Turner, Laurie (omitted)
*Remaining final teams will be announced on Thursday.
https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/heartbreak-for-beloved-pie-as-83game-streak-comes-to-cruel-end-finals-teams/news-story/d31ffb4c0079689a17f657a017ffaa4a Finals week one, teams, Collingwood vs Melbourne, Carlton vs Sydney, GWS vs St Kilda, Brisbane vs Port Adelaide, ins and outs, news to choose from