Dogs make two changes for AFL grand final

Western Bulldogs defender Alex Keath returns from a hamstring injury to play in the AFL grand final.
Western Bulldogs defender Alex Keath returns from a hamstring injury to play in the AFL grand final.

The Western Bulldogs have made two changes for the AFL grand final, with defender Ryan Gardner and forward Laitham Vandermeer the unlucky omissions.

Gardner and Vandermeer make way for key defender Alex Keath (hamstring) and dynamite forward Cody Weightman (concussion), who have recovered from their respective injuries.

Keath and Weightman both return for Saturday night's premiership decider against Melbourne at Optus Stadium after last playing in the Bulldogs' one-point semi-final triumph over the Brisbane Lions.

Gardner and Vandermeer played in all three of the Bulldogs' previous finals, with the latter kicking the winning behind in the chaotic dying seconds of the clash with the Lions.

One of the two could still claim a premiership medal as a medical substitute, with the pair named as emergencies alongside Ed Richards and Anthony Scott.

Melbourne have stuck with the same side that crushed Geelong by 83 points in the preliminary final, meaning star defender Steven May has been named to play.

The All-Australian fullback was subbed out of the game against the Cats with a hamstring issue but the week off before the grand final has been crucial in proving his fitness.

Small forward Charlie Spargo was also under an injury cloud after rolling his ankle at training, but he has kept his spot.

James Jordon was the Demons' medical sub for the first two finals and will likely get the nod again for the decider.

Jake Lever will be the only Melbourne player to have featured in AFL grand final before, in 2017 when he was part of Adelaide's losing team against Richmond.

On the other hand, the Bulldogs will run out with nine members of their 2016 drought-breaking premiership team.

Defender Taylor Duryea (2014, 2015 with Hawthorn) and midfielder Adam Treloar (2018 with Collingwood) also have previous grand final experience.

Melbourne are gunning for their first premiership since 1964, while the Bulldogs are hoping to add a third flag to their successes in 1954 and 2016.

Australian Associated Press