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Friday, September 14, 2018

AFL finals 2018: Hawthorn star Jaeger O’Meara ruled out of semi-final with injury

Hawthorn have lost midfielder Jaeger O'Meara to a knee injury as well as Ben Stratton (hamstring) for Friday night's semi-final against an unchanged Melbourne side.
The Hawks also dumped Jon Ceglar while recalling Taylor Duryea, David Mirra, and Ryan Schoenmakers.
The loss of O’Meara is a huge one for Hawthorn, with star midfielder Tom Mitchell now likely to be required to take on an even bigger role against the likes of Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones and James Harmes.
Hawthorn's football manager Graham Wright says O'Meara copped a knock to his left knee during the qualifying final loss to Richmond.
"We gave him every opportunity to get himself right for the semi-final but he just hasn't pulled up in time," Wright said.
"He's an important player so it's certainly disappointing."
Meanwhile, Giants coach Lean Cameron retains hope Kelly, who has been replaced by veteran Ryan Griffen, will be available next week if GWS beat the Magpies.
The Giants recalled Lachie Keefe to play against his former club with Harry Perryman dropped from the side which trounced Sydney in last Saturday's elimination final.
Collingwood named the same team which slipped to 16-point loss to West Coast last Saturday night.
GWS boss Cameron said star midfielder Kelly was given every chance to prove his fitness.
"We gave him until Thursday to see how he would be progressing and he's a good chance to play next week, but we're not going to take him in against Collingwood," he said.
Veteran Griffen, 32, hasn't played since straining a hamstring in round 22.
"We toyed with the prospect of bringing him in last week," Cameron said.
"He has had a good three or four weeks (training) and he has been really good for us this year.
"He is a finals player, he knows what that MCG atmosphere is going to be like and he'll come in and play his role."
Cameron was adamant his players wont be fazed by a pro-Magpie MCG crowd of around 85,000 spectators.
"We know we're going to play against not only a fantastic footy team but also a huge crowd," he said.
"We had that last year against Richmond (in a preliminary final) and we fell short but I felt we handled ourselves pretty well.
"It wasn't the crowd that got us, it was the footy that we need to play a little bit better.
"Finals footy is about backing up and we know that if we don't back up, then Collingwood will beat us, it's as simple as that."