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Nicholls to present AFL’s McHale Medal

Hall of Fame legend John Nicholls will present the Jock McHale Medal to the winning coach at the AFL grand final.

The Carlton great will have the honour 50 years after leading the Blues to the 1972 VFL premiership as captain-coach.

Nicholls will present the medal to either Geelong’s Chris Scott or Sydney’s John Longmire, with both men chasing their second premiership as coach.

“It is an honour,” 83-year-old Nicholls said.

“I’ve always regarded myself as a very loyal VFL and AFL person and if I get asked to do these things, you do them.”

Nicholls could not split Geelong and Sydney, who will do battle for the second time this season.

The Swans won the teams’ first meeting by 30 points, way back in round two, but the Cats finished the regular season two games clear at the top of the ladder.

“It is a 50-50 contest,” Nicholls said.

“Geelong are the favourites, but Sydney in the last four or five games have been unbelievable.

“I wouldn’t choose one team over the other as I respect both teams so much.”

Nicholls was one of 12 inaugural Legends of the Game and was named as the ruckman in Carlton’s Team of the Century.

He played a then-record 328 games and captained the Blues to the 1968 and 1970 flags, before his dual role in the 1972 success.

Nicholls was a five-time Carlton best-and-fairest winner, with the award now named in his honour.

The Jock McHale Medal honours the legendary Collingwood coach, who led the club in a then-record 714 VFL games.

McHale’s teams won eight VFL premierships, including a record four in a row from 1927-1930.

The McHale Medal was instituted in 2001 and has been awarded retrospectively to all premiership-winning coaches dating back to 1949, the year after McHale’s retirement.

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