Holmes was one of the Cats’ best against the Brisbane Lions last Friday, with 12 touches and a goal, before hobbling midway through the third term.
The Cats face a tough decision as Holmes has been an important cog in their rise this season, but they can’t afford him to be injured again at the start of the Grand Finals.
Irishman Mark O’Connor was the medical backup last week and is a good chance to replace Holmes should he change. Brandan Parfitt and Sam Menegola are also in the game.
Swan pair Sam Reid and Justin McInerney are also facing their moment of truth.
Reid, who has a sprained adductor, and McInerney, who has a sore foot, are set to impress in a closed practice Thursday. McInerney looks likely to play, but Reid is in serious doubt.
“He’s improved really well throughout the week, we’ll see how he does today in practice,” Swans assistant coach Jarrad McVeigh said of Reid.
“We were confident all week, he was in a bit of pain throughout the game, so we didn’t want to take any chances, we’ll just have to wait today and see how he is.
“He’s played a few big finals already, so he understands the week and the pressure that comes with it. Obviously you want to fly 100 per cent, but he’s recovered really well and we’re really happy with how he’s progressed.
Big Nick will present the Jock McHale Medal
Carlton Premier Grand John Nicholls will present the Jock McHale Medal to the winning coach on Saturday, after Paul Roos and Mark Thompson were unavailable.
Nicholls, the Blues’ ruckman of the century team, and one of the inaugural 12 legends of the same, said it was an honor to have asked.
“I’ve always considered myself a very loyal person in the VFL and the AFL and if I’m asked to do these things, you do them,” said five-time best and fairer winner Nicholls.
Nicholls led the Blues to premierships as captain in 1968 and 1970, and served as captain-coach in the famous 1972 win, where a brilliant change of game plan – the Blues attacked at all costs – was crucial in what remains the most impactful Grand Final of them all. time.
This is the second time Nicholls has presented the medal, having done so in 2009. Thompson, the Cats’ premier coach in 2007 and 2009, and Roos, the Swans’ premier coach in 2005, were eligible, but both are traveling and were unable to participate.
Nicholls said it was too difficult to pick a winner on Saturday.
“It’s a 50-50 contest. Geelong are the favourites, but Sydney in the last four or five games have been amazing. I wouldn’t choose one team over another because I respect both teams so much,” said Nicholas.
Saints announce Geoff Walsh as new head of football department
St Kilda have sounded out veteran football administrator Geoff Walsh to be their new chief football officer, as the club continues its off-season review.
Industry sources have confirmed that the Saints have approached Walsh to join the club, but talks have not progressed.
Incoming Saints general manager Simon Lethlean said on Thursday the football program was still under review and no recommendations had been implemented or appointments made.
The Saints are looking for a new head of football as Lethlean, who is set to replace Matt Finnis as chief executive, had the title of chief operating officer but was also head of football. They also had David Rath (Football Program Manager) and Danny Sexton (Football Operations Manager).
Walsh’s most recent role was at North Melbourne where he led a football department review, which led to the departure of manager David Noble after Round 17.
He was in AFL administration for 36 years at four different clubs, including two stints with the Kangaroos, one involving five years as chief executive and two stints at Collingwood, including as football boss in the premiership of 2010. Overall, he was involved in four premierships, 10 Grand Finals appearances and 25 Finals series, and was also involved this year in managing the roster for a new Tasmanian team.
The Saints are coming off a disappointing season when they finished 10th with an 11-11 win-loss record, prompting scrutiny. The task force includes club chairman Andrew Bassat, new board member Jason Blake, Noble – who is an experienced football administrator – and Lethlean.
Coach Brett Ratten’s role as a coach is not in question with the focus shifting to other areas of the department. Ratten, who signed a two-year contract extension until the end of 2024, welcomed the overhaul.