ONE player will come into the Hawthorn line-up for Saturday's Grand Final in place of Brendan Whitecross, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in Friday night's win over Geelong.

Given Whitecross was the Hawks' sub on Friday night, his replacement is also likely to wear the green vest, which means a midfielder/half-forward is more likely to win the promotion than a key position player or defender.

With that in mind, assesses the candidates:

Jed Anderson
Games this season: six
Last played: qualifying final v Sydney Swans

The 19-year-old is the favourite, having been tipped out of the preliminary final team for Cyril Rioli despite performing well as the substitute in the win over the Swans.

Hard at the ball and with a strong pair of hands, Anderson can play through the midfield and forward, making him an ideal choice as sub.

He didn't dominate in Box Hill's VFL Grand Final win over Geelong on Sunday, gathering 14 disposals, but his eight tackles and six clearances showed his ability to do the hard in-and-under work, which will be critical in the face of Fremantle's famed pressure.

Hawks audition for Grand Final berth

Jonathan Simpkin
Games this season: 13
Last played: round 20 v St Kilda

Simpkin stated his case in the strongest possible terms during Sunday's VFL Grand Final, winning the Norm Goss Medal for best afield after gathering 26 disposals and booting two goals.

The former Geelong rookie has done little wrong in his senior opportunities this year, averaging 17 disposals a game, and has been used as the sub on occasion.

Like Anderson and fellow candidate Shane Savage, can also push forward as well as playing through the midfield.

Wouldn't look out of place in the big one.

Shane Savage
Games this season: 15
Last played: round 23 v Sydney Swans

Savage spent five weeks in the VFL after a slow start to the year, but played some very good football between rounds 13 and 20 after winning a return to the senior team.

However, his form tailed off a little in the final three rounds, and he lost his place for the first final.

The 22-year-old dominated Box Hill's preliminary final win a fortnight ago with 28 disposals and five goals, before collecting 16 disposals and kicking a goal in Sunday's VFL Grand Final.

Was the Hawks' sub in last year's Grand Final loss to the Swans, and is familiar with the role.

Taylor Duryea
Games this season: 18
Last played: round 23 v Sydney Swans

Duryea has played the most senior games of any of the candidates, having been a fixture in the Hawks backline for much of the home and away season.

The left-footer has been an important contributor to Hawthorn's success, particularly given the long absence of fellow half-back Grant Birchall and the regular resting of veteran Brent Guerra.

But although he did little wrong he was squeezed out when both of those more senior players became available.

Played well in the VFL Grand Final and would certainly hold his own if called up on Saturday, but team balance might work against him.

Matt Spangher
Games this season: four
Last played: qualifying final v Sydney Swans

The fans' favourite, the energetic Spangher would certainly be a popular selection if he were called upon.

But given the Hawks have a full complement of big men to choose from, they're unlikely to go for an extra key position player.

Kyle Cheney
Games this season: four
Last played: round 17 v Western Bulldogs

A hugely consistent performer at VFL level, Cheney has been denied more senior opportunity simply because of the strong group of defenders ahead of him in the Hawthorn pecking order.

Played well in Box Hill's Grand Final win and was a senior emergency on Friday night, but it would be a surprise to see him called into the team.