Before we get started on this, I have to say… bloody nice one, All-Australian selectors! For the first time in a long time, I reckon you got about as close as you’re gonna get to naming a balanced footy team.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they got everything right, does it? I mean, it is tremendously difficult to name a representative team and not have one group of supporters feeling particularly hard done by when it goes live.
And that’s what the All-Australian B-team is for.
Over the years, we’ve had our B-team measured up against the actual AA team, and I reckon it has gone okay. This year… well, we’ll see, I guess.
So, without beating around the bush further, here is the Mongrel Punt All-Australian B-Team.
BACKS – ISAAC QUAYNOR (COLLINGWOOD) JACOB WEITERING (CARLTON) CHARLIE BALLARD (GOLD COAST)
Pretty solid last line, with Weitering as good as any at locking down a key forward and IQ accurately hailed as one of the best defenders of the small forwards in the comp. Charlie Ballard might surprise some, but I am guessing that is more because they don’t watch Gold Coast games – elite intercept mark.
HALF-BACKS – LUKE RYAN (FREMANTLE) HARRIS ANDREWS (BRISBANE) SAM TAYLOR (GWS)
This is a monster half-back line. Luke Ryan had another excellent year – will feature in the top five in our Defensive Player of the Year again. Harris Andrews was THE standout defender of the year in my eyes, and his snub is as big a snub as I can remember. I reckon this year may have been his best. And the only reason Sam Taylor is in this team and not the A-Team is due to injury.
CENTRES – NIC MARTIN (ESSENDON) TOM LIBERATORE (BULLDOGS) MASON WOOD (ST KILDA)
Putting this out there – Nik Cox coming back into the side and screwing around with Martin playing on the wing may have cost him a berth in the AA squad. His form fell away pretty dramatically after that. Libba in the guts is a given – overlooked again. He may end up one of the best never to be selected. And Mason Wood was excellent on the wing for the Saints all season. Loved his work ethic.
HALF FORWARDS – SHAI BOLTON (RICHMOND) JOE DANIHER (BRISBANE) DUSTIN MARTIN (RCHMOND)
Two Tigers and a Lion… sounds like some weird animal porn. It’s not.. I swear, I clicked on it by accident! All three are matchwinners, with Bolton coming home like a train and Dusty having a very solid season switching between half-forward and the middle. And Joe… well, he has started being a lot more steak and less sizzle this year – he looks like he is primed for a biiiig September.
FORWARDS – KYLE LANGFORD (ESSENDON) OSCAR ALLEN (WEST COAST) LUKE BREUST (HAWTHORN)
A brilliant season by Langford up forward, slotting goals like Plugger. Plugger Johnson, who used to play for the North Melbourne and Kensington thirds. He kicked fifty once in a season, so there’s that comparison. Oscar Allen was neck-and-neck with Nick Larkey there for a while, but the Kangaroo finished fast and got the nod. Still, 50+ in a horrible team is a great result for the Medium-Sized O. And Luke Breust… another 47 goals this season – the bloke has been one of the great small forwards in the modern game.
Marshall jumps in as the ruck in what is probably the worst year for rucks in quite a while. Not to rain on his parade, but between him and English… hmmm, I iust reckon we have been spoilt by years of Gawn, Nic Nat, and Grundy at the top of their games. Lachie Neale will likely finish top five in the Brownlow. He was top five in the coaches’ votes, but cannot crack a berth in the A-side. We take him for granted. And had Kane Cornes not been on the AA selection panel, Tim Taranto would have likely made the squad. You’ve gotta get Cornes off there – bloke is a knob.
INTERCHANGE – STEPHEN CONIGLIO (GWS) PATRICK CRIPPS (CARLTON) MASON REDMAN (ESSENDON) GRYAN MIERS (GEELONG)
A bit of a mix on the bench – Cripps was not at his best, but still managed to be top ten in contested possessions and clearances, whilst Gryan Miers became the goal assist king, and Mason Redman… well, after half arsing it in the last round, he is lucky to get a mention, at all. Stephen Coniglio just had a career-best season and still garnered little talk in the way of AA selection. he may be another that ends up as a great player who never got to wear a blazer.
And DAVID RODAN is the only goal umpire, or umpire of any sort that should be getting awards for anything. Give the man a car, or something.
So, there we go. For the first time, I reckon the actual AA squad is a better overall team than this one. Playing genuine wingmen n the wings is a big win for them and took away the one factor that usually put the B-Team in contention.
If I were to make a couple of changes, I would have had Harris Andrews at full-back in the AA team. He was far and away the best defender of the year, for mine, and would be justified in feeling robbed. He’d be in at the expense of Cal Wilkie.
I would also likely remove Zach Merrett from the team and replace him with Libba. Just personal preference.
Anyway, interested to see what you guys think. Threw this together rather quickly, so I may have missed an obvious one somewhere in there. Fire away.
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