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Jeremy Finlayson axing divides AFL world after brutal admission about wife's battle

The Port Adelaide player has been left out of the semi-final clash with GWS amid an awful situation for his family.

Jeremy Finlayson, pictured here with his wife and daughter.
Jeremy Finlayson has admitted his wife's cancer battle was affected his form for Port Adelaide. Image: Getty

Jeremy Finlayson has been left out of Port Adelaide's side for their AFL semi-final against GWS on Saturday night, after admitting on Thursday that his wife's cancer battle has affected his form on the field. Ken Hinkley has recalled spearhead forward Charlie Dixon for the do-or-die clash at Adelaide Oval, despite the veteran not playing since July 29 due to a foot injury.

Fellow forward Todd Marshall has also been named despite battling an ongoing hip injury, while defender Trent McKenzie, who injured his ankle in last week's 48-point loss to Brisbane, has been given the all-clear to play. However it's bad news for Finlayson and Dylan Williams, who have been dropped as a result.

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After kicking 32 goals in his first 14 games this season, Finlayson has only managed six in his last seven games. Speaking on Channel 7 on Thursday morning, the 27-year-old opened up on the toll of wife Kellie's battle with terminal cancer.

“It’s been a rocky road, it’s been a long 18 months,” he said on the Morning Show alongside Kellie and daughter Sophia. “It’s kind of taken its toll, I won’t lie about that. Lately, the past three or four weeks, it’s taken its toll and it shows in footy.

“I’ve tried to put a brave face on through everything, just looking at how strong Kellie is and just trying to be her rock and just trying to put a smile on her face out on the football ground for her and Soph and trying to provide for them while she’s going through such a difficult battle. It’s all that I can do.”

Kellie revealed earlier this year that she'd been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. It came just months after she'd finished treatment for bowel cancer, which came shortly after the birth of Sophia in August of 2021.

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While the cancer has stopped spreading, Kellie and Jeremy said she's "not out of the woods". Kellie said on Thursday: “Obviously, with a terminal diagnosis, it’s not common for things to turn around as well as they have for me.

"The chemotherapy and all the alternate therapies that I’ve been doing and putting myself through have worked, which is obviously fantastic, but we’re not out of the woods. I’ve got to be realistic with the fact that I still have cancer and, although things aren’t spreading and things are getting better, I am still going through the emotions of what’s to come.”

Jeremy Finlayson, pictured here in action for Port Adelaide against Brisbane.
Jeremy Finlayson in action for Port Adelaide against Brisbane. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

AFL world reacts to Jeremy Finlayson's axing

Speaking on AFL 360 on Thursday night, Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton said the sad reality was Finlayson's form has dropped in recent weeks. “Jeremy is a wonderful player,” he said. “His best is insanely good - his worst is close to non-competitive.

“I hope there aren’t other things in his life that aren’t taking his mind off the game at the moment. If he’s not playing well, he’s not very physical and if you want your second ruckman to go into the middle of the field and be physical and he’s not playing well, he’s probably not the right selection. But finger’s crossed everything is alright with him.”

St Kilda great Leigh Montagna added: “He hasn’t played well for six to eight weeks. He’s been out of form and they’ve had to make a choice.” AFL fans were divided on social media over the decision to axe Finlayson considering he's the team's leading goal-kicker this year.

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