We are getting to the pointy end of the season. It’s at this point each year, some will pre-emptively get their blazer measurements taken (and some will not have a use for a blazer), while others are focusing on their football and helping their team reach the finals. We have a good understanding of who should be in the team, but also knows that the out-and-out stars will do everything to stake their claim.
To refresh your memories after a three-week hiatus, here’s how the post-round 15 team looked:
FB: Charlie Ballard, Harris Andrews, Dan Houston
HB: Nick Daicos, Darcy Moore, Tom Stewart
C: Errol Gulden, Tim Taranto, Nic Martin
HF: Christian Petracca, Nick Larkey, Toby Greene
FF: Charlie Cameron, Taylor Walker, Tom Hawkins
Foll: Tim English, Zak Butters, Jordan Dawson
Int: Jack Sinclair, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Daicos, Jack Lukosius, Gryan Miers (sub)
With finals appearances on the line, many players are rising to the occasion. We have been treated, thus far, to some extraordinary football – both in terms of individual performances and team feats. This team is the result of these performances.
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 Eighteen.
FB: Sam Taylor, Harris Andrews, Dan Houston
HB: Isaac Quaynor, Darcy Moore, Tom Stewart
C: Errol Gulden, Nick Daicos, Josh Daicos
HF: Christian Petracca, Taylor Walker, Toby Greene
FF: Charlie Cameron, Charlie Curnow, Tom Hawkins
Foll: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Tim Taranto
Int: Jack Sinclair, Connor Rozee, Jordan Dawson, Gryan Miers, Mark Blicavs (sub)
You’re all smart enough to work out who has been dropped, and who has bashed down the door.
There are some controversial takes in this side, so I will focus on those, as opposed to highlighting every change. Charlie Ballard has had a great year and can consider himself unlucky to be omitted from the side however, despite missing seven games, the form of Sam Taylor warrants his selection in the side. Consider, just this past week, he kept the teams CHF in Tex possessionless – no mean feat. Taylor deserves his spot in the side.
Another who is unlucky to not be selected is Joe Daniher. This is probably Joe’s best season to date, in terms of consistency and impact. If any of the key forwards waver in the run home, Joe is in.
Probably one of the bigger controversies is the inclusion of Connor Rozee in place of his teammate Zak Butters. I know one of our own Mongrel Writers will hate this take, but I think Rozee is more consistent than Butters and brings more of an X-Factor to the team’s balance, but also his ability to hit the scoreboard. He blends the inside and the outside well. Butters is having a great season, but I can only find room for one of them in the team, and I’ve gone with Rozee.
Gryonel Mieressi finds himself into the 22 from the subs bench this week. The argument from many will be he doesn’t kick enough goals, and sure, I understand that. However, he has re-invented himself and shown the value of the run-all-day high-half-forward who makes good decisions and hits targets going inside 50. Consider your own teams … how much more effective would your forwards be if you had Miers kicking the ball to them? He deserves his place. Besides, the recent social media storm and memes make him the most talked about player currently.
And for the sub, the unicorn as dubbed by some, Mark Blicavs. His numbers won’t necessarily jump off the page like others’ do, but he is reliable, consistent, and a genuine point of difference. He is the old school utility to functions in multiple roles and rarely gets beaten in any of the roles.
The Watch List
I feel like Lions fans may come for me. Joe is on the cusp, Dunkley was on the cusp prior to missing a few games, and Lachie Neale is very close. His season has been a bit of a slow build, and statistically he’s had a few better seasons. That said, there’s no denying the way he lifts his side. He’s another case of “if others slip …”
Tom Liberatore has had another prolific season. He wins his own footy and when he’s on, the Dogs are better. Bont might be the polish, but Libba is the muscle and the grunt of the side. He’s another in the frame.
Max Gawn played one of the all-time games last weekend. If he continues that form, he will be in consideration, but more as a second ruck, not replacing Tim English who has been extremely consistent this year at a high level.
Caleb Serong has been there or thereabouts as well. All he can do is keep winning the footy.
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.
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