AFL grand final 2016: The hard-luck stories before Sydney and Bulldogs clash

by admin on July 14th, 2018

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Every grand final has its winners and losers, even before the first bounce of the ball.

The Western Bulldogs’ Lin Jong was one of the unlucky ones this year.

Named as an emergency for the grand final against Sydney on Saturday, Jong put on a brave face at the annual parade.

“Not everything works out how you want it to, I’m still processing that but I’ll be OK,” he said.

Jong broke his collarbone in the Bulldogs’ elimination final win over West Coast at Subiaco Oval on September 8.

After he was hurt he cried on the sidelines and many assumed his season was over, but Jong returned to the VFL for a best-on-ground performance in Footscray’s grand final win last weekend.

Jong, who has shown interest in a move to Collingwood, said he hoped it would be enough to earn him a spot in the Bulldogs’ grand final side and he was disappointed to not be chosen.

“The team’s gone unchanged, which I understand,” he said.

“As much as I’d like to be playing, you’ve sort of got to be grateful, there are a lot of guys who would like to be involved in this grand final parade.”

Former Hawk Matthew Suckling is another Bulldogs player unlucky to miss out on a spot in the grand final team.

He too was named as emergency, despite being the only Bulldog with grand final experience – he played in Hawthorn’s 2014 and 2015 premiership sides.

Suckling has been struggling with an Achilles injury.

He said he would have been fit enough to play on Saturday, but the pain at the back of his ankle had made the lead-up difficult.

“I probably knew earlier in the week [he was unlikely to be selected], my preparation has been pretty ordinary in the second half of the year,” Suckling said.

Defender Harry Marsh was one of the Swans who missed out, after Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh passed a fitness test during the week.

Marsh was disappointed, but said he thought he would get another chance at a premiership with the Swans.

“I knew things had to go right for me to play,” he said.

“It’s pretty much out of my control.”

McVeigh said Marsh was a valued member of the team.

“There is always hard-luck stories. The way he’s carried himself this week is unbelievable,” he said.

Sydney defender Aliir Aliir, who proved a standout in his first year in the AFL, will miss the game with a knee injury.

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