The 2017 All Australian team reimagined using Brownlow votes

Eliza Reilly Roar Rookie

By , Eliza Reilly is a Roar Rookie

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    The All Australian team seeks to name the all-star team of Australian footballers at the end of the season.

    A panel studiously assigns the 22 positions to the best players that year. The Brownlow Medal is awarded to the fairest and best player during the home-and-away season. In theory, both systems should give an insight into the players who performed above the rest this season. But what if we reimagined the 2017 All Australian team using Brownlow votes?

    FB: Michael Hibberd (7 votes) Alex Rance (8 votes) Shannon Hurn (7 votes)

    HB: Rory Laird (9 votes) Liam Jones (5 votes) Kade Simpson (8 votes)

    C: Josh Kelly (21 votes) Dustin Martin (36 votes) Rory Sloane (20 votes)

    HF: Robbie Gray (12 votes) Lance Franklin (22 votes) Dayne Zorko (14 votes)

    FF: Ben Brown (14 votes) Josh J Kennedy (13 votes) Michael Walters (10 votes)

    F: Sam Jacobs (10 votes) Patrick Dangerfield (33 votes) Tom Mitchell (25 votes)

    I/C: Josh P Kennedy (23 votes) Marcus Bontempelli (19 votes) Ollie Wines (18 votes)
    Dayne Beams (17 votes)

    Full back line
    Two out of the three players here line up the same as the original AA team. Hibberd and Rance were rewarded by the umpires after fantastic defensive seasons. Hurn is a new addition after one of his better seasons for the Eagles. He can play a tight role in the pocket but also be unleashed up the ground with his precision and powerful kicking.

    Alex Rance of the Richmond Tigers

    (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)

    Half back line
    The half back line sees two new faces. Rory Laird retains his spot after attracting the most Brownlow votes of any defender. Kade Simpson wasn’t named in the 40-man squad but his consistency over the past few years has been rewarded. Joining Simpson is teammate Liam Jones.

    Yes, ladies and gentleman, Liam Jones has made this edition of the AA team. Zac Williams (GWS) and Sam Docherty (CARL) had to be overlooked, despite attracting more votes, due to rebounding roles. Tom McDonald has held up a defensive post in the past but had to be overlooked due to his move into attack in 2017.

    That left Jones. Actual AA half back Hurley finished only one vote behind him. I mean realistically, if Jones strings together a full season of footy similar to his performances from the back half of the year, we could potentially see him in the green and gold blazer…

    This line looks very similar to the eventual AA 2017 team. Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin was an easy choice. As was Josh Kelly running down the wing. Rory Sloane retains his 2016 AA spot on the wing after earning five more votes than 2017 AA winger Zach Merrett.

    Dustin Martin Richmond Tigers AFL Grand Final 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Half forward line
    This line is identical to the 2017 AA team. Robbie Gray and Dayne Zorko play attacking roles and push up the ground. Lance Franklin provides a leading target who can also push up the ground and launch attacks with precision field kicking.

    Full forward line
    Josh J Kennedy spearheads the AA attack after another dominant season, finishing second in the Coleman even after missing five games through injury. In this version, Ben Brown wins the hotly contested battle against Joe Daniher for a forward pocket spot by five votes.

    Michael Walters will play a crumbing small forward role in the other pocket with the ability to rotate into the midfield. He was probably on track for his first AA gong before suffering a PCL injury.

    After many regarded Ryder as having the better season, Sam Jacobs wins the ruck spot here earning four more votes than his cross-town rival. Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Mitchell were obvious choices after finishing second and third in the Brownlow respectively.

    The interchange was stacked with the fourth, eighth, ninth and 10th vote-getters in the Brownlow. Josh P Kennedy was benched as he plays more of an inside, contested role than Sloane despite attracting more votes. Ollie Wines is a new face while Beams and Bontempelli both return from earlier seasons.

    Overall, this version of the 2017 All Australian team serves up 11 new faces to the original. It was interesting to see the inclusion of familiar names such as Sloane and Kennedy who were judged to have had worse seasons than their peers despite tallying more votes.

    Also interesting was that Kade Simpson outperformed rebounding teammate Sam Docherty in the umpire’s eyes. The interchanges for both teams also vastly differ with the AA panel seeing the standout midfielders very differently to the umpires. If anything, this exercise has taught us that if Liam Jones can make a fantasy AA team, then you can to.