There are many things that divide opinion within the AFL.
Conversations about which player is more valuable, about whether teams should be aggressive with trading or wait on the kids to develop, and whether the AFL spends to much time and energy on trending causes rather than promoting the game rurally often garner a range of responses.
However, there is one matter that seems to unite footy fans seemingly every year – the All-Australian Team. More to the point, for the benefit of this article, the appointment of the All-Australian captain.
For a long while, the AFL seemed to be getting it right, allocating the position of captain for their team of the year to a club captain and one who had displayed genuine leadership throughout the season and his career.
Just have a gander at some of the names that graced the role from 1991 onwards (please note – this was the first incarnation of the AA team as we now know it).
1991 – Paul Roos (Fitzroy captain)
1992 – Paul Roos (Fitzroy captain)
1993 – Wayne Carey (North Melbourne captain)
1994 – Greg Williams
1995 – Gary Ablett (Geelong captain)
1996 – Paul Kelly (Sydney captain)
1997 – Paul Kelly (Sydney captain)
1998 – Wayne Carey (North Melbourne captain)
1999 – Wayne Carey (North Melbourne captain)
2000 – Wayne Carey (North Melbourne captain)
2001 – James Hird (Essendon captain)
2002 – Michael Voss (Brisbane captain)
2003 – Michael Voss (Brisbane captain)
2004 – Mark Ricciuto (Adelaide captain)
2005 – Mark Ricciuto (Adelaide captan)
2006 – Brad Johnson
2007 – Andrew McLeod
2008 – Chriss Judd (Carlton captain)
2009 – Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda captain)
2010 – Luke Hodge
2011 – Gary Ablett Jr (Gold Coast captain)
2012 – Darren Glass (West Coast captain)
2013 – Joel Selwood (Geelong captain)
2014 – Joel Selwood (Geelong captain)
2015 – Bob Murphy (Western Bulldogs captain)
2016 – Joel Selwood (Geelong captain)
Up until this point, things seem to be going quite swimmingly. Just four times in the past 25 years did we find players not n a leadership position at their club be handed the coveted position of AA captain. In Hodge’s case, he was made captain the next year. Brad Johnson, as well. This leaves just Andrew McLeod and Greg Williams as outliers.
Things changed abruptly from 2017 onwards, however.
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