live Infotainment Factory: The AFL All-Australian quirk that cost big stars

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Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The AFL All-Australian quirk that cost big stars


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Positional duality has been the biggest source of concern after the reveal of the 2019 All-Australian team saw several midfielders shifted to foreign positions.

Whilst fully deserving of their spots, the likes of Patrick Dangerfield, Marcus Bontempelli and Tim Kelly were all selected out of their natural positions in the final 22-man squad.

Dangerfield, a worthy selection and a Brownlow Medal candidate, was picked on a half forward flank despite rarely playing there, while Bontempelli and Kelly were picked on the wings.

The result was Coleman Medal runner-up Ben Brown missing out on a forward spot, while a natural winger such as Brisbane's Hugh McCluggage also missed out.

Carlton great Mark Maclure questioned whether the selection process needed to be changed due to the dominance of midfielders in today's game.

Gary Ablett Patrick Dangerfield

"Are we picking a real side here? Or are we just picking a mickey mouse side?" Maclure told Fox Footy.

"It's an All-Star side is it? For me, it's all see ball, get ball.

"Is that going to work? Maybe not. For me, are they the best of the midfield you've got? I think so yes.

"It's a mickey mouse jammed in All-Star side."

Whittling down a 40-man squad to just 22 players was always going to be tough, particularly with so many players enjoying outstanding individual seasons.

Here are some players who can count themselves extremely unlucky not to be named an All-Australian in 2019:

Dustin Martin (Richmond) - 20 games, 27.1 disposals per game, 4.5 clearances per game, 20 goals

Martin's season has mirrored Richmond's with both player and club coming home strong after slow starts. You get the sense that the 2017 Brownlow Medallist is hurt by the extremely high standards he set two seasons ago. In Richmond's eight consecutive wins to finish the year, Martin tallied over 30 disposals per game. Martin still remains arguably the most dangerous and explosive midfielder in the game and would gladly trade an All-Australian jersey for a second premiership.

Dustin Martin

Adam Treloar (Collingwood) - 22 games, 33.6 disposals per game, 6.0 clearances per game, 10 goals

Another year, and another wait to be named an All-Australian for the prodigious ball-winner. Since being traded to Collingwood, Treloar has not averaged below 29 disposals per game and can count himself extremely unlucky to be on the outside looking in this year. With the Pies decimated by injuries, Treloar was a ball-winning force, leading the league in total disposals.

Adam Treloar in action

Ben Brown (North Melbourne) - 22 games, 11.1 disposals per game, 4.9 marks per game, 64 goals

Would Brown have made it if he won the Coleman Medal? The Kangaroos star was pipped by Jeremy Cameron in Round 23 and you wonder whether that played a part. Like Treloar, Brown has been prolific in his craft for a number of years, tallying over 60 goals for three consecutive seasons. The one knock on Brown is that he is definitely more of a finisher than a facilitator and that may have played a part in the selection of Hawkins, Darling and Cameron ahead of him.

Ben Brown

Gary Ablett (Geelong) - 21 games, 20.5 disposals per game, 3.8 marks per game, 33 goals

If this is the final year, then what a farewell it is. There are doubts over whether Ablett will play on in 2020, but he showed he is more than capable of being a damaging forward after years of dominating opposing midfields. Ablett was instrumental in the Cats' resurgence to the top of the AFL ladder, spearheading the forward line's suffocating pressure. Ablett's 4.4 tackles per game were reminiscent of his numbers as a midfielder for the Cats between 2008 and 2010.

Gary Ablett

Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane) - 21 games, 22.6 disposals per game, 3.4 clearances per game, 22 goals

If there is any one player that signifies Brisbane's rice to one of the league's best teams, it is McCluggage. At just 21 years of age, McCluggage has morphed into an elite goal-kicking midfielder that is poised to dominate for years to come. McCluggage can probably count himself unlucky that the likes of Bontempelli and Kelly were shifted to his position in the selection of the team despite not playing there for their respective clubs.

Hugh McCluggage

Honourable Mentions: Dayne Zorko (Brisbane), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne), Lachie Whitfield (GWS Giants)*

* = denotes player who wasn't selected in initial 40-man All-Australian squad

Positional duality has been the biggest source of concern after the reveal of the 2019 All-Australian team saw several midfielders shifted to foreign positions.

Whilst fully deserving of their spots, the likes of Patrick Dangerfield, Marcus Bontempelli and Tim Kelly were all selected out of their natural positions in the final 22-man squad.

Dangerfield, a worthy selection and a Brownlow Medal candidate, was picked on a half forward flank despite rarely playing there, while Bontempelli and Kelly were picked on the wings.

The result was Coleman Medal runner-up Ben Brown missing out on a forward spot, while a natural winger such as Brisbane's Hugh McCluggage also missed out.

Carlton great Mark Maclure questioned whether the selection process needed to be changed due to the dominance of midfielders in today's game.

Gary Ablett Patrick Dangerfield

"Are we picking a real side here? Or are we just picking a mickey mouse side?" Maclure told Fox Footy.

"It's an All-Star side is it? For me, it's all see ball, get ball.

"Is that going to work? Maybe not. For me, are they the best of the midfield you've got? I think so yes.

"It's a mickey mouse jammed in All-Star side."

Whittling down a 40-man squad to just 22 players was always going to be tough, particularly with so many players enjoying outstanding individual seasons.

Here are some players who can count themselves extremely unlucky not to be named an All-Australian in 2019:

Dustin Martin (Richmond) - 20 games, 27.1 disposals per game, 4.5 clearances per game, 20 goals

Martin's season has mirrored Richmond's with both player and club coming home strong after slow starts. You get the sense that the 2017 Brownlow Medallist is hurt by the extremely high standards he set two seasons ago. In Richmond's eight consecutive wins to finish the year, Martin tallied over 30 disposals per game. Martin still remains arguably the most dangerous and explosive midfielder in the game and would gladly trade an All-Australian jersey for a second premiership.

Dustin Martin

Adam Treloar (Collingwood) - 22 games, 33.6 disposals per game, 6.0 clearances per game, 10 goals

Another year, and another wait to be named an All-Australian for the prodigious ball-winner. Since being traded to Collingwood, Treloar has not averaged below 29 disposals per game and can count himself extremely unlucky to be on the outside looking in this year. With the Pies decimated by injuries, Treloar was a ball-winning force, leading the league in total disposals.

Adam Treloar in action

Ben Brown (North Melbourne) - 22 games, 11.1 disposals per game, 4.9 marks per game, 64 goals

Would Brown have made it if he won the Coleman Medal? The Kangaroos star was pipped by Jeremy Cameron in Round 23 and you wonder whether that played a part. Like Treloar, Brown has been prolific in his craft for a number of years, tallying over 60 goals for three consecutive seasons. The one knock on Brown is that he is definitely more of a finisher than a facilitator and that may have played a part in the selection of Hawkins, Darling and Cameron ahead of him.

Ben Brown

Gary Ablett (Geelong) - 21 games, 20.5 disposals per game, 3.8 marks per game, 33 goals

If this is the final year, then what a farewell it is. There are doubts over whether Ablett will play on in 2020, but he showed he is more than capable of being a damaging forward after years of dominating opposing midfields. Ablett was instrumental in the Cats' resurgence to the top of the AFL ladder, spearheading the forward line's suffocating pressure. Ablett's 4.4 tackles per game were reminiscent of his numbers as a midfielder for the Cats between 2008 and 2010.

Gary Ablett

Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane) - 21 games, 22.6 disposals per game, 3.4 clearances per game, 22 goals

If there is any one player that signifies Brisbane's rice to one of the league's best teams, it is McCluggage. At just 21 years of age, McCluggage has morphed into an elite goal-kicking midfielder that is poised to dominate for years to come. McCluggage can probably count himself unlucky that the likes of Bontempelli and Kelly were shifted to his position in the selection of the team despite not playing there for their respective clubs.

Hugh McCluggage

Honourable Mentions: Dayne Zorko (Brisbane), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne), Lachie Whitfield (GWS Giants)*

* = denotes player who wasn't selected in initial 40-man All-Australian squad

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