Had ageless Hawk Michael Tuck been suiting up for Saturday’s AFL grand final, he would have been reaching for the sleeveless guernsey.
The Hawthorn legend spent the vast majority of his 426 games in his trusty long-sleeved jumper but was famously forced to cast it aside by stifling 30-degree temperatures during one of the hottest grand finals on record in 1987.
Conditions for this year’s premiership decider will be similar, with the temperature forecast to reach 28 degrees in Melbourne on Saturday.
It shapes as an advantage for West Coast, who are more used to the warmer conditions of Perth and have had a week off during the finals series.
Not so, according to coach Adam Simpson.
“I think it’s irrelevant – I don’t think it will affect anything,” Simpson said.
“Both teams prepare in such a way that, regardless of the conditions, it won’t make a difference.
“We’re not using any type of motivation with the weather. I don’t think we’d be here if we had to rely on that.”
Counterpart Alastair Clarkson echoed those sentiments, adding that his players were well-versed at playing in warmer conditions and had been prepared up to the minute by the club’s fitness staff.
Clarkson swung a selection surprise when midfielder Billy Hartung made way for the returning Jack Gunston instead of taller option Ryan Schoenmakers.
With conditions set to test the stamina of his onball brigade, the omission of the hard-running Hartung caught many off guard but Clarkson wasn’t about to let the weather forecaster have a seat at his selection table.
“We felt like it was important to maintain the structure of our side and not respond or try to change our side just because we think it’s going to be hot,” Clarkson said.
“We’ve played in hot conditions in finals before, we’ve played in hot conditions in the pre-season, so it’s just something that you need to deal with.”
For the record, a bare-armed Tuck and the Hawks lost the 1987 decider to Carlton by 33 points.