Pav, Sam miss AFL All-Australian team
Grant Birchall, Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli of Hawthorn pose for a photo during the 2012 AFL All Australian Dinner. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich and Hawthorn onballer Sam Mitchell are stunning non-selections in the AFL All-Australian team.
Both made the initial squad of 40 but are the most notable exclusions from the final team of 22 named on Monday night in Melbourne.
Pavlich was a key to Fremantle’s revival this season, overcoming hip and Achilles tendon problems to kick 62 goals in 21 home-and-away games.
The Dockers skipper revealed earlier on Monday that he had not received an invitation for the All-Australian dinner, but said it did not concern him.
“Individual awards aren’t what I play footy for, it’s about the team success,” Pavlich said.
“I’m sure externally there might be some comments about it, but I’m just looking forward to having a break and getting ready for next year.”
All-Australian selector Luke Darcy said one issue was that Pavlich spent a lot of time in the midfield at the start of the season.
Mitchell also played 21 games and was pivotal as the Hawks won the minor premiership.
The selection of West Coast’s Nic Naitanui as the first ruckman will also raise eyebrows.
His team-mate Dean Cox deservedly made the team in a forward pocket, but Naitanui was picked ahead of Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs and Richmond’s Ivan Maric.
Selector Gerard Healy said six of the seven judges voted for Naitanui.
Cox and Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett made the team for the sixth time.
They join Pavlich, Carlton captain Chris Judd and newly-retired Geelong star Matthew Scarlett as having the most selections among current players.
Incredibly, Ablett has made the past six All-Australian teams.
Eagles captain Darren Glass is the captain and Ablett is the vice-captain.
Selectors broke with the unofficial tradition that the Coleman Medallist as the league’s top goalkicker always makes the team.
Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt took that honour this season with 65 goals, but he was overlooked for the two key forward positions in favour of Hawthorn star Lance Franklin and Tom Hawkins of Geelong.
The last Coleman Medallist not to make the All-Australian team was St Kilda’s Fraser Gehrig in 2005.
Franklin kicked 59 goals despite missing six games because of injury and Hawkins blossomed this season, finishing with 62 goals.
Adelaide defender Brent Reilly and North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow are two other players who are unlucky not to make the team.
But all the Brownlow Medal favourites – Jobe Watson (Essendon), Trent Cotchin (Richmond), Gary Ablett (Gold Coast), Josh Kennedy (Sydney) and Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide) – were picked.
West Coast led the selections with four, while Collingwood and Hawthorn had three apiece.
North Melbourne were the only finalists not to have a player in this year’s team.
There are 15 first-time selections, the most since the then-VFL first picked an All-Australian team in 1982.
B: Sean Dempster (StK) Luke McPharlin (Fre) Darren Glass (WC capt)
HB: Beau Waters (WC) Ted Richards (Syd) Grant Birchall (Haw)
C: Trent Cotchin (Rich) Jobe Watson (Ess) Dayne Beams (Coll)
R: Nic Naitanui (WC) Scott Thompson (Adel) Gary Ablett (GC v capt)
HF: Patrick Dangerfield (Adel) Lance Franklin (Haw) Cyril Rioli (Haw)
F: Stephen Milne (StK) Tom Hawkins (Geel) Dean Cox (WC)
I: Brett Deledio (Rich) Josh Kennedy (Syd) Scott Pendlebury (Coll) Dane Swan (Coll)© AAP 2013
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