According to Akermanis writing in the Herald-Sun:
THE adage never take injured players into a Grand Final should actually read never take too many injured players into a Grand Final.
The Brisbane Lions won the 2003 Grand Final with injured players - one badly (Nigel Lappin) - but lost the next one when it took in three players who were greatly restricted.
It's exactly the selection conundrum rival coaches Mick Malthouse and Ross Lyon will face this week.
Malthouse will be wrestling with the decision to pick Luke Ball and Leon Davis (hamstrings) or Simon Prestigiacomo (match fitness).
Lyon will have to make a call on Nick Dal Santo (hamstring tightness), Jason Gram (groin) and Steven Baker (match fitness).
Their decisions may cost their team ultimate glory.
In 2003 Brisbane had a wounded team, with Nigel Lappin the main concern, although some players had serious niggles, just as the Magpies and Saints will have on Saturday.
Coach Leigh Matthews revealed after the match that the club had administered 18 painkilling injections.
I can vividly remember seeing lines drawn in black marker pen on Nigel's ribcage so the doctors could see where to inject the needles.
I can also remember that emergency Chris Scott was ready to go. Then 45 minutes before the game, after much to-and-fro, Nigel jumped up and said he was right to play.
Despite a punctured lung, Nigel emerged with a premiership medal and 19 possessions in an inspirational performance.
But what you need to remember from that game is that 95 per cent of the side was in really good health.
The following year, entering our fourth straight Grand Final against Port Adelaide, it was a very different story.
Unbeknown to us, Jonathan Brown had sustained a small crack in his lower leg in the preliminary final, Craig McRae had a slight hamstring strain and Alastair Lynch had a small tear in his quad. Three quality players in trouble before we started.
Now those guys are not the reason we lost the game, but with Lynch and McRae in their last game and the fact they had done the job time and time again, it left Leigh with only one option. They just had to play.
In hindsight it would have been the right call for Leigh to say, 'Sorry, guys, I will put in someone who is healthy'. But nothing is good in hindsight except to learn a lesson.
If Leigh had his time over again, would he do it any differently? I don't think so.
Maybe the fact we had already won three flags influenced his decision.
Had it been the first, it might have been different.
A club doctor would often tell you about an injury that would normally keep you out of a home-and-away game being patched up for a Grand Final.
Basically the doctors would do whatever it takes to ensure you make it to the starting line, even though the medical advice suggests you should not play.
Back in 1999 North Melbourne's Anthony Stevens played with a broken ankle. While he did not perform overly well, he has a premiership medal at home he would not swap for the world.
Common sense says that if you are not right to play at full pace, then don't play them. But when it is every player's dream to win a premiership, the stakes go up, and a player will say and do anything to be out there.
A player will openly lie to a coach about how bad it is and the medical staff will get the same. Sometimes in life to achieve the ultimate dream you would rather try and fail than not try at all.