AFL All Australian Side: The Fix

Perplexed by the All Australian selection? Maybe you are curious how Caleb Serong won the Rising Star award but wasn't deemed good enough to make the best 22under22 side?


Debate the past week has been: why were some players picked in certain positions, lack of recognition given to specialist positions (e.g. wingmen) and some players were just plain unlucky.


One proposal is just name the best 22 players of the year, regardless of positions. My concern with this solution is it could lead to a Brownlow medal situation where only gun midfielders get recognition. Here's my solution that combines the current 'side' along with the 'best' to get 22.


Criteria:

  • Must name a key core 5 in a spine: fullback, centre half back, ruck, centre half forward, full forward.

  • Must name a specialist small forward and specialist small defender.

  • Must name a minimum of 5 players who predominately play midfield (rover, wing does not matter).

  • Remaining starting 6 places can be any position.

  • Bench of 4 must consist of one of each: forward, mid, ruck, defender.

This selection system therefore rewards the best players in the season but also acknowledges there are specialist players who can be outstanding. Almost every team plays with 2 tall forwards and 2 key defenders, while you need small men at either end to crumb. Elite midfielders can swing all over the field - it's common for Dangerfield, Fyfe and Dusty to be resting in the forward half.


The 2020 All Australian team (Source: AFL.com)


Dan Butler was my choice for most unlucky and 17% from AFL.com agree with Dylan Grimes (16%) and Nat Fyfe (15%) also considered unlucky. Can't pick them all though.


The 22under22 side (voted by fans), had the major surprise of omitting Caleb Serong who had picked up the Rising Star with 48/50 votes ahead of many players selected in the 22. The starting midfield of Hugh McCluggage (would of been my pick for specialist wingman in All-Aus side but admit better midfielders ahead of him), Andrew McGrath, Sam Walsh, Bailey Smith and Tim Taranto might be better than him but surely he deserved a place on the bench.


The other omission that surprised me was Jarrod Berry of the Brisbane Lions. On pure statistics he's been nothing special, but anyone who's watched the Lions this year would notice he really stands up at crucial moments.


As voted by the fans (Source: aflplayer.com.au)


Lastly, Matt Rowell not getting a single vote from the 10 person panel for the Rising Star is stiff in my book. Yes he got injured in round 5, but if you consider how good he was in rounds 1-4, when he could very well poll up to 10 Brownlow votes, then I think he's unlucky not to get the 1 or 2 point votes.


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