We enter the bye rounds this week, so we won’t release another team until they have concluded – for the sake of integrity in the selection process. There are clear standouts, there are some who have built their season to earn their place, others have lost their spot solely due to injury. Eleven rounds in, the wheat is being separated from the chaff and we are getting a much clearer picture of who deserves their flowers.
To refresh your memories after a two-week hiatus, here’s how the Round Nine team looked:
FB: Max Michalanney, Harris Andrews, Callum Wilkie
HB: Nick Daicos, Charlie Ballard, Tom Stewart
C: Mason Wood, Tom Green, Josh Daicos
HF: Christian Petracca, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Charlie Cameron, Charlie Curnow, Tom Hawkins
Foll: Sean Darcy, Marcus Bontempelli, Jordan Dawson
Int: Jack Sinclair, Clayton Oliver, Noah Anderson, Oscar Allen, Connor Rozee (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 Eleven.
FB: Charlie Ballard, Harris Andrews, Tom Stewart
HB: Nick Daicos, Darcy Moore, Mason Redman
C: Errol Gulden, Tim Taranto, Josh Daicos
HF: Izak Rankine, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Charlie Cameron, Charlie Curnow, Brody Mihocek
Foll: Sean Darcy, Zak Butters, Jordan Dawson
Int: Jack Sinclair, Marcus Bontempelli, Noah Anderson, Tom Hawkins, Matthew Rowell (sub)
There are changes on all lines – with some players returning, and some getting out the crowbar to pry away those established, and forcing their way in.
In defence, the magnets are spun shifting Charlie Ballard and Tom Stewart into the pockets, allowing Mason Redman to return to the side on a half-back flank, and Darcy Moore returning to centre-half-back. Both Callum Wilkie and Max Michalanney have had great seasons, but Moore deserves his spot, as does Redman. And, if the team were to run out on the field and play, this is a really good balance.
On the wing, and I know Saints fans won’t like this, but Mason Wood has been replaced by Errol Gulden. The journeyman Saint has had a career resurrection in the vein of Robert Downey Jr when he became Iron Man (R.I.P. Tony Stark, gone too soon … sorry, I digress) … but young Errol Gulden has been hoisting the sputtering Swans onto his shoulders and doing all he can to get them across the line.
Up forward, with Trac moving to a sole midfield role in recent weeks thanks to Clayton Oliver’s injury, Izak Rankine returns to the side on the half-forward flank. And while Tom Hawkins remains in the side, he shifts to the bench and Brody Mihocek enters the group chat and starts. His year has been very good, and his recent weeks have been great. It is unfortunate for the Eagles only hope in Oscar Allen, who has had a great year in a team that, well, let’s just say they’ve had a tough year.
In the centre bounce, Sean Darcy narrowly holds his place, having just been injured, and Zak Butters enters the team.
Now, I did want to stick to everyone who bombarded the chat with the last iteration of the team and not choose Butters, but his last two weeks have been very good that even my ego can’t justify sticking it to everyone. If I did that, then I look as incompetent as David Warner facing Stuart Broad *cough* Draco Malfoy *cough* in England. So, Butters is in the side and forces Bont to the bench.
The only ‘new’ player to the team on the bench is the sub. I wrestled with this decision. Gryan Miers is very stiff, given the numbers he is putting up in terms of score involvements and goal assists. Shai Bolton has had a fantastic season. Connor Rozee (the incumbent) has been good too – as has Jason Horne-Francis. However, I could not ignore the work of the note-taking, grass-eating, tackling machine from the Gold Coast, Matthew Rowell.
The Watch List
So, what about the players not selected? Not everyone gets what they want, in terms of their favourite player being selected – nor do we allow ourselves to be dictated what to think by the media. While we can only select 23, here are some others who aren’t far away.
Dan Houston is someone worth keeping an eye on. He’s a workhorse, and he’s vital to a lot of what the Power do, he’s just not as known as some of the others in his team. Keep an eye on what he does – his ball use, his positioning, and his ability to cover the ground.
I watched the Giants dismantle my Cats last weekend and I want to reflect on a trio of Giants who don’t rate much of a mention. Conor Idun in defence, Brent Daniels who just buzzes around everywhere, and Hulk … sorry, Jesse Hogan. These three all play their roles, but, they also have a massive say on who wins the game. Idun locks down opposition forwards, but also rebounds well. Daniels is creative, and when the ball comes in along the ground or chaotically, you can trust him to be in the right position. And Jesse Hogan has had a very good year – he gives the down the line target, but he also finishes well in front of goal.
Josh Dunkley is incredibly unlucky to not be in the side. He’s been a great pickup for the Lions and has added an extra dimension to their midfield, and also up forward. Between he and Lachie Neale, they are controlling the stoppages and middle part of the ground for the Lions. They also both have a defensive edge to their game that is often understated.
There’s a handful of players I’m looking out for … no doubt I’ll hear about Josh Bootsma, Kane Pettifer, and others you think have been shafted more than Rocky Balboa was in his first fight with Apollo Creed.
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 – let’s see if you guys follow this rule this week.
Stay tuned on our socials and find out future changes.