x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hudghton stomachs big blow

Max Hudghton will not be a part of St Kilda's tilt for the 2009 premiership today, despite spending 13 years with the club.

MELBOURNE// Max Hudghton will not be a part of St Kilda's tilt for the 2009 premiership today, despite spending 13 years with the club. The fullback, who stood in popularity alongside captain Nick Riewoldt and midfielder Lenny Hayes, has not been named for the grand final encounter with Geelong and will bow out of the game without a premiership medal to his name. Zac Dawson, who crossed to the Saints after being delisted by last year's champions Hawthorn, has been named to stand the square in place of his veteran colleague, who has a long history of injuries.

The Saints have made one change, with Robert Eddy replacing Sean Dempster, while the Cats have named an unchanged line-up from the one that gave Collingwood a football lesson last week. Cold and wet conditions are expected for the Australian Football League's premier day, with the popular Brownlow Medal winner Gary Ablett favourite to win the Norm Smith Medal for best and fairest player in the grand final.

"Hopefully it keeps raining because I think we're the best team in the rain," said Ablett. The Cats go into the encounter as the favourites, despite having finished the season as clear second on the ladder behind the boys from Moorabbin. They coasted home in the dying minutes of their 120-47 preliminary final victory against Collingwood last Saturday, while the Saints had to battle to the end in their bruising win 60-53 against the Western Bulldogs.

One man who will need no extra motivation is the Saints ruckman, Steven King, who was delisted by the Cats after helping them to their 2007 premiership by thrashing Port Adelaide. St Kilda have to go back much further for their last grand final success, which came in 1966. pstafford@thenational.ae