Max Holmes comes off during Geelong's preliminary final against Brisbane on September 16, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

GEELONG youngster Max Holmes will be the heartbreak story of the 2022 Grand Final, with the wingman ruled out just hours before the game having failed to sufficiently recover from his hamstring injury.

Holmes had passed every physical examination during the week, but was unable to complete match simulation drills, which has led Geelong to take a cautious approach.

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Cats coach Chris Scott said on Friday morning that Irishman Mark O'Connor would "probably" replace Holmes, should he not be able to prove his fitness, having come into last Friday night's preliminary final as the medical substitute.

That news was confirmed by assistant coach Shaun Grigg on 3AW radio on Saturday morning. Brandan Parfitt comes into the squad as the medical sub. 


The 20-year-old Holmes has played 18 games for Geelong this season, and 30 throughout his career, providing the side with a much-needed injection of outside run through his important role on the wing.

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However, he clutched at his hamstring and limped from the field during last Friday night's preliminary final win over Brisbane and failed to sufficiently prove his fitness in the ensuing eight days before the game.

Holmes had initially been named in Geelong's selected 22 on Thursday night as the Cats went in unchanged.

Sydney made one alteration, with Hayden McLean replacing youngster Logan McDonald.