Star West Coast midfielder Matt Priddis has been ruled out of Friday night’s qualifying final because of a thigh strain, but Hawthorn winger Isaac Smith will play in the blockbuster clash at Domain Stadium.
Priddis strained his thigh muscle at training earlier this week, with his spot in the side taken by Patrick McGinnity.
The loss of Priddis is a huge blow to West Coast’s hopes of toppling flag favourites Hawthorn, who boast match-winners Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge through the middle.
Priddis has averaged 30 disposals and 7.7 clearances a game this season, with his work in the clinches playing a key role in helping West Coast finish second on the ladder.
The loss of his experience is just as telling.
West Coast will field seven finals debutants against the battle-hardened Hawks, who are aiming for a hat-trick of flags.
Smith was initially considered a long shot to play after damaging knee ligaments last week against Carlton.
But he was given the green light on Friday after passing a fitness test.
“I didn’t think he’d play earlier in the week,” Hawks football manager Chris Fagan told SEN radio.
“His improvement was remarkable.”
The Eagles have recalled defender Will Schofield and midfielder Scott Selwood for the high-stakes clash.
Selwood is still battling an ongoing ankle injury, and he enters the match off a five-day break after playing last Sunday for WAFL side East Perth.
But Eagles coach Adam Simpson has opted to name McGinnity as the sub instead of Selwood.
Taylor Duryea has been named Hawthorn’s sub.