We are seven rounds into the season, and there seems to be standout performances week in and week out. Whether it be a whole team dominating their opposition, or someone putting their club on their shoulders, we are being spoilt thus far in 2023 in terms of the football we are able to sit back and watch.
To refresh your memories after a two week hiatus, here’s how the round five team looked:
FB: Max Michalanney, Luke Ryan, Jordan Dawson
HB: Nick Daicos, Callum Wilkie, Jack Sinclair
C: Mason Wood, Caleb Serong, Josh Daicos
HF: Izak Rankine, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Michito Owens, Charlie Curnow, Oscar Allen
Foll: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Luke Davies-Uniacke
Int: Liam Baker, Clayton Oliver, Darcy Parish, Harry Sheezel, Charlie Cameron (sub)
Sometimes it’s better to wait than jump the gun. Hodgey and I had a few names we couldn’t decide on, so, the additional weekend’s footy has helped shape what we are looking for. Some players started the season slowly, and are roaring to life. Others started with a bang, but are losing some steam. All things considered, there is a generous pool of players to choose from.
A big part of this team is the eye test. A smaller part is the stats. All of these players are worthy of selection.
I guess I should stop stalling and dragging this out. *cue drum roll* here’s the Mongrel Punt’s Rolling All-Australian Team following Round Seven.
FB: Max Michalanney, Steven May, Callum Wilkie
HB: Nick Daicos, Charlie Ballard, Tom Stewart
C: Mason Wood, Patrick Dangerfield, Josh Daicos
HF: Christian Petracca, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Charlie Cameron, Charlie Curnow, Tom Hawkins
Foll: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Jordan Dawson
Int: Jack Sinclair, Clayton Oliver, Noah Anderson, Michito Owens, Connor Rozee (sub)
There are eight new players to the team this week – the last fortnight has been relatively influential in shaping the team.
The new additions begin with a trio of defenders. Steven May and Tom Stewart are known to teams like this. The way they have marshalled their respective defensive lines and controlled the game shows why they are in this team. As for Charlie Ballard, he’s been a slow burn this year. As the season has gone on, he has become a rock for the Suns and was a significant reason why they held off the Tigers on the weekend.
A relatively controversial decision in the midfield, but Cats skipper Patrick Dangerfield comes into the side.
Hear me out.
Yes, there is a long list of potential returnees to the midfield, and many who deserve it, but so does the Danger. He’s copped it in the media for an apparent lack of leadership and slow start to the year, when in reality, he’d be in the top 3 or 4 in the Brownlow count at this point. He had a solid start to the year, and his last month has been some of his best footy in recent seasons. He deserves his place.
Up forward, Oscar Allen is stiff to miss, given his consistency. However, the recent form of Tom Hawkins is hard to ignore. Hawkins could barely walk across the first 3 or 4 weeks of the season, but he’s kicked 17 goals across the last three weeks. Sure, some will question the opponents he’s played on – but a good player succeeds regardless of his opponent. And others have played on the same opponents and have not done what he’s done. We do however, stand by his addition to the team. On the flank, Christian Petracca replaces Izak Rankine. Now, before people chime in and claim midfielder bias, Trac has been playing forward considerably more and has even been ranked as a general forward for the past few weeks. Rankine has had a great season; he has however tapered off in recent weeks. Trac has been at his brutal best, and has been impacting the scoreboard regularly.
Jordan Dawson isn’t new to the team, but he has shifted from the backline to rover, in line with where he is playing regularly these days.
On the bench, Noah Anderson takes up one spot. The young Sun has been flying under the radar and is having a seriously good season. His numbers stack up against those we deem the superstars and his influence has increased exponentially in 2023, making him one of the upper echelon midfielders thus far this year. And coming in as the sub, is Connor Rozee. The Port Adelaide young gun has picked up where he left off in 2022 and has also added strings to his game. He balances the inside and the outside, but his defensive edge has increased, bringing balance and depth to all facets of his game.
The Watch List
So, we’ve seen the team. What about those who are playing well and didn’t make it? They need to maintain the rage and keep doing what they’re doing. Here are some of the players awfully close to sneaking in.
One of the more maligned players in the competition, and it’s just his second season, is Jason Horne-Francis. He is starting to show why he went pick number one ahead of Nick Daicos. JHF is a bull around the ball and has been instrumental in Port Adelaide’s wins. While he hasn’t put full four quarter performance together just yet, what he is doing is catching the eye.
Harris Andrews, like Darcy Moore, has taken to captaincy well. He is a hair away from selection in this side – early season form from some others keeps him out at the moment. But he is very, very close.
The Suns are putting together a reasonable season, and part of the reason for that is their defensive half. The likes of Lachie Weller and Darcy MacPherson have been integral reasons for this. They play different roles, but compliment each other very, very well.
The Geelong forward line is flying one of those flying under the radar is Brad Close. The long-sleeved magician has been a vital part of the Cats scoring power via his gut-running up and down the field, his tackle pressure, and his finishing in front of goal. There are a group of small forwards vying for a spot in the team, and Close is firmly a part of that group.
The other team hitting the scoreboard frequently and putting together big scores is the Demons. And young Kade Chandler has been influential in this over recent weeks. He’s young, has taken big steps forward, and is firmly in the frame for selection.
Richmond have faltered somewhat this year, but Tim Taranto has had a solid year. He’s not quite at the level of some of the other midfielders, but his contest and stoppage work has kept Richmond in some games for as long as possible. He needs to maximise his disposals and up his efficiency if he’s going to go to the next level.
That’s all for this week. Let us know your thoughts – and I’m putting a caveat on that. Don’t just list someone who should be in/out, list who they replace/replaces them and why.
Stay tuned on our socials and find out who’s in next week.
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