As an AFL tragic I know there’s nothing more deflating than when the All-Australian rolls around and a player from your team fails to make it. With this in mind, here at Sporting HQ, we’ve concocted an 18-man squad in which there’s one representative from every club.
A very rough exclusion from the 2020 All-Australian squad, Maynard has been a stalwart in defence for an injury-rattled Collingwood side. Having ranked 4th in total kicks and 5th in total intercepts, Maynard has stamped himself as one of the premier rebound defenders and his selection here should be a consolation for Pies fans.
Delisted by Fremantle and later picked up by the Suns, Collins is one of the feel-good stories of 2020. Proving himself an absolute bull in a young defence, Collins was 2nd in total intercepts alongside an impressive 87% disposal efficiency (5th highest in the competition), earning himself the spot as the Suns representative
In a tough year for Crows fans, past All-Australian Laird has been a shining light for Adelaide and a player they should be keen to hold onto for the rest of his bright career. Being 6th in total handballs and 12th in total disposals in a losing team is no small feat and he has been rewarded with a spot in the back-pocket.
A surprise winner of the W.S. Crichton Medal only 26 games into his career, Bombers supporters should be very excited over what Ridley can produce for their club. Ranked 3rd in total marks for the year as well as 4th in effective disposals % per game, Essendon fans can rest easier with him in our team.
Another player very stiff to not have his first All-Australian jacket, Jacob Weitering has been a rock in an otherwise shaky Blues defence. With a focus on the one-percenters (4th total), Weitering has established himself as one of the best 1v1 defenders in the AFL, hopefully helping Carlton on their way to a long-awaited finals berth next year.
Having earned his first All-Australian position this year, Haynes will hopefully stop being underrated by AFL fans. 1st in marks and 3rd in total intercepts is no small achievement and has been acknowledged by his spot in the team as the GWS player of choice.
Seemingly chained by his role as a tagger last year, Saint Jack Steele has exploded this year and rightfully claimed his spot in the guts. Showing his toughness through the 2nd most tackles in the league, Steele has also found himself 2nd in total Supercoach score, something he can hopefully continue for the Saints as they seek premiership glory.
Somehow achieving his second AA selection at 32, Power fans would be pleased with the form of Boak in the later end of his career. With statistics ranging from 12th in centre clearances to 12th in goal assists, Boak has been everywhere this year and shouldn’t be written off as a Brownlow chance.
Deservedly included this year as an All-Australian, Macrae has shown the competition that he is an absolute stats machine. Ranking 2nd in total disposals and 3rd for effective disposals, he is in hot form coming into finals, giving some hopeful Dogs fans shades of 2016.
Half Forward Line:
The two-time Brownlow medallist has found himself up forward more this year for the Dockers this year, but that certainly hasn’t changed his ability to turn a game. Finding himself 5th in contested footy despite his stint in front of the goals this year speaks to how he has made his way onto this team as Fremantle’s player.
28-year-old Jack Gunston has showed no signs of slowing down this year, winding back the clock for Hawks fans in what was a relatively disappointing year. Finishing 3rd in the Coleman race by slotting 31 goals, Gunston’s ability to be dangerous up forward has made him very valuable to the Hawks and possibly on the trade-table.
There isn’t much to say about Tigers superstar ‘Dusty’ Martin that hasn’t already been said. Continuing to build on his game, shown through him ranking 2nd in total inside 50’s, Martin looks hungrier than ever to take a dominant Richmond side back to the big dance.
Full Forward Line:
Daring to win the Coleman after a dominant first half of the season, Tom Papley has made Blues fans truly regret not getting a hold of him last year. Kicking 26 goals in a shortened season is nothing to scoff at and having recommitted to the up and coming Swans, their fans should be very excited going forward into 2021.
Hawkins’ ability to impose himself on the contest and straighten up the Cats is something to behold. Kicking a competition-high 42 goals this year, the Tomahawk has been a class above, dominating teams and giving Geelong fans the belief that they get back to the top.
As one of the most talented players in the AFL, ‘Flyin Ryan’ has taken his game to the next level, making himself the West Coast representative in our team. Ranking 6th in score involvements and 12th in goals total it is no surprise Ryan earned his first AA nod this year.
As one of the hardest workers in the AFL, Goldstein was very unlucky to not even make the squad of 40. In a season that was tough for Kangaroos fans, Goldstein a weapon for North, ending up 3rd in Hitouts and 8th in clearances, he showed the competition that he can definitely go around for years to come.
Transforming into the player Melbourne fans wanted him to be, Christian Petracca has become an absolute bull for the Demons and a rightful winner of his first Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Trophy. Finishing 2nd in contested footy and 3rd in score involvements, his ability to go up forward is a part of his game that earned him a spot in our squad.
Outright favourite for the Brownlow, Lachie Neale has been able to star for a Brisbane team looking to recreate the success of the early 2000’s. The competition’s top disposal getter and Supercoach scorer, it would be a crime to exclude him from this team, despite the success of the players around him.