IT ALL comes down to this. Melbourne versus the Western Bulldogs in what promises to be a ripping 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final on September 25 at Perth's Optus Stadium.
Both teams cruised through their preliminary finals, but what will that mean at the selection table? The bye will certainly help any players with little niggles rest up before the big one.
Steven May presents the Demons with their biggest worry after suffering hamstring tightness in the huge prelim win over Geelong, while the Western Bulldogs face a selection squeeze as a couple of regular starters put their hands up to return.
Our experts have predicted the ins and outs for next week's premiership decider. Did we get it right? Check out our teams below.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Toyota AFL Grand Final
Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium, 5.15pm AWST
B: Michael Hibberd, Steven May, Jake Lever
HB: Jake Bowey, Harrison Petty, Christian Salem
C: Angus Brayshaw, Christian Petracca, Ed Langdon
HF: Kysaiah Pickett, Tom McDonald, James Harmes
F: Alex Neal-Bullen, Ben Brown, Bayley Fritsch
FOLL: Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney
I/C: Luke Jackson, Charlie Spargo, Trent Rivers, Tom Sparrow
Emerg: James Jordon, Jayden Hunt, Jake Melksham, Joel Smith
OUT: James Jordon (medical sub)
UNAVAILABLE: Nathan Jones (personal), Marty Hore (knee), Aaron Nietschke (knee), Adam Tomlinson (knee)
NOTES: Melbourne has no need to make any changes from the side that thrashed Geelong in the preliminary final. Hunt is fit following ankle surgery, but remains unlikely to reclaim his place in the backline from Bowey. It's a similar situation for Smith, who should be available after a minor hamstring injury but will have to displace Hibberd for a spot in the team. Sparrow has performed strongly during the finals series and should edge out Jordon for a position in the final 22. Expect the latter to still find himself as the medical substitute, especially with Jones returning to Victoria to be with his partner for the birth of their twins. Hore, Nietschke and Tomlinson are the only long-term absentees. – Riley Beveridge
B: Easton Wood, Alex Keath, Bailey Williams
HB: Caleb Daniel, Zaine Cordy, Bailey Dale
C: Bailey Smith, Josh Dunkley, Lachie Hunter
HF: Jason Johannisen, Aaron Naughton, Adam Treloar
F: Josh Schache, Tim English, Mitch Hannan
R: Stefan Martin, Jack Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli
I/C: Cody Weightman, Tom Liberatore, Taylor Duryea, Roarke Smith
Emerg: Laitham Vandermeer, Anthony Scott, Lewis Young, Ryan Gardner
In: Cody Weightman, Alex Keath
Out: Laitham Vandermeer, Ryan Gardner
UNAVAILABLE: Josh Bruce (knee), Toby McLean (knee)
NOTES: Coach Luke Beveridge said on Thursday Keath is "looking good" to return from his hamstring strain so is an automatic inclusion while Weightman is back from concussion and straight into the Dogs' line-up. It leaves some very tough calls for the Dogs' selection committee. Vandermeer is expected to be available after some hamstring tightness in the preliminary final and it appears likely to come down to him against Johannisen for the final spot. Whoever misses it would be the medical sub and a good option as that 23rd player. Who drops out for Keath is also tight – likely a call between Gardner and Cordy. Both have been good in the finals so it would be line-ball, particularly given their different strengths. - Callum Twomey