JONATHAN Simpkin has replaced the injured Brendan Whitecrossin Hawthorn's team for Saturday's Grand Final against Fremantle at the MCG. 

The Dockers are taking an unchanged line-up into the bigclash. 

Their emergencies are Tom Sheridan, Jack Hannath and AlexSilvagni. 

The Hawks were forced to make one change after Whitecrosssuffered a serious knee injury in last weekend's preliminary final win overGeelong. 

It was widely tipped that young midfielder Jed Anderson would be the lucky player called up. 

But he was not even named among Hawthorn's emergencies, who are Matt Spangher, Shane Savage and Taylor Duryea.

Whitecross' replacement becomes one of the heartwarmingstories of Grand Final week. 

Simpkin earned his place in the team by producing a best onground performance for the Box Hill Hawks in the VFL grand final againstGeelong at Etihad Stadium last Sunday. 

He now has the chance to make it two premierships in thespace of a week. 

Simpkin's footballing journey has been a long and windingaffair. 

He began the long haul towards his AFL debut when he wasrookie-listed by the Sydney Swans for the 2006 season. 

He was part of the reserves team that won the 2006 AFLCanberra premiership, and his form was so good during 2007 that he was elevatedto the Swans senior list. Yet he never cracked it for a senior game. 

Despite helping the reserves win another flag in 2007, hewas delisted at the age of 20. 

Convinced his chances of playing in the AFL were gone,Simpkin signed up with Geelong's VFL team for the 2008 season to see if hecould cut it at that level. 

But after getting injured in round one, he headed home toColac and helped the Tigers make the Geelong league Grand Final. 

He loved playing footy back home but his coach, John Pekin,urged him to have another crack at making it in the AFL. 

Simpkin headed back to the Cats' reserves side and made theVFL team of the year in 2010. That was enough for Geelong to select him in therookie draft. 

He won the Cats' VFL best and fairest in 2011, then finallymade his AFL debut last year. 

But he was delisted after playing four AFL matches forGeelong. 

That's when Hawthorn pounced. 

Simpkin joined the Hawks late in last year's free agencyperiod. 

The 25-year-old has played 13 AFL matches so far this season and was animpressive performer in most of them.

Twitter: @AFL_AdamMcNicol 

The ins and outs for the Grand Final:

Hawthorn v Fremantle

MCG, Saturday September 28. 2.30pm AEST


In: Simpkin

Out: Whitecross (knee)


In: -

Out: -