AFL sub role counts against Hartung

The green vest has doomed Hawthorn’s Billy Hartung to a red line through his name for the AFL grand final.

Unless the Hawks make a late change, he looms as the hard-luck selection story of this year’s premiership decider.

The hard-running midfielder was the unlucky player as forward Jack Gunston was recalled after two games out with an ankle injury.

The speculation was that if Gunston returned, Ryan Schoenmakers would be dropped.

But coach Alastair Clarkson said Schoenmakers’ strong form meant his place in the team was safe.

Hartung played his first two finals in the last fortnight, wearing the green vest as substitute in the wins over Adelaide and Fremantle.

“Billy is a hugely popular player … he’s really emerging as a significant talent for us as well,” Clarkson said.

“We just felt that Schoenmakers gave us something up forward in the games he’s played for us.

“His form throughout the couple of games he’s played in the finals has been pretty good, so he deserved his chance.

“Unfortunately for Billy, he’s played a lot of sub (substitute) over the last five or six weeks and that’s probably gone against him.”

Hartung was named as an emergency, along with Jonathon Ceglar and Angus Litherland, while the Eagles are unchanged.

His omission might be a risk, given the forecast temperature of 28C for the grand final.

It would be the hottest grand final since 1987.

Hawthorn have had to make the grand final the hard way after losing their qualifying final to the Eagles.

That result gave West Coast a week off.

The last team to win the premiership after playing in four finals were the Eagles in 2006.

The two teams will be feted in Friday’s lunchtime grand final parade.

For the first time, grand final eve is a public holiday and the parade will not take its normal route through the Melbourne CBD.

Instead, it will start at the Old Treasury Building in Spring St and go to the MCG.

The Eagles are incensed about an explosive media report that has appeared only two days before the grand final.

On Thursday, the Herald Sun quoted former Eagle Daniel Chick’s allegations of a toxic illicit drug culture at the club in their 2006 premiership season.

West Coast have denied the claims.

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