My team of 2018 AFL leaders

Doran Smith Roar Pro

By Doran Smith, Doran Smith is a Roar Pro


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    My AFL Leaders team consists of the best 22 players from the leadership groups of all 18 clubs for the 2018 season.

    It has been an interesting exercise and in some ways challenging to fit them all in.

    The 2018 AFL Leaders
    B: Alex Rance (Richmond Tigers), Michael Hurley (Essendon Bombers), Nick Smith (Sydney Swans)
    HB: Dane Rampe (Sydney Swans), Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne Kangaroos), Dylan Roberton (St Kilda Saints)
    C: Andrew Gaff (West Coast Eagles), Matt Crouch (Adelaide Crows), Isaac Smith (Hawthorn Hawks)
    HF: Luke Parker (Sydney Swans), Tom Lynch (Gold Coast Suns), Tom Rockliff (Port Adelaide Power)
    F: Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood Magpies), Joe Daniher (Essendon Bombers), Shaun Higgins (North Melbourne Kangaroos)
    Foll: Jarrod Witts (Gold Coast Suns), Josh Kelly (Greater Western Sydney Giants), Zach Merrett (Essendon Bombers)
    Int: Nat Fyfe (Fremantle Dockers), Rory Sloane (Adelaide Crows), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs Bulldogs), Taylor Adams (Collingwood Magpies)

    Back line
    The back six are exceptional. Alex Rance was the All Australian captain last season, while Dylan Roberton was a part of the All Australian squad of 40 last season. Nick Smith and Dane Rampe play their roles for the Swans with no fuss, and Rampe in particular has the flexibility of being able to play on a small and a tall opposition forward. Robbie Tarrant and Michael Hurley are normally responsible for the opposition’s key forwards.

    Andrew Gaff and Isaac Smith fit onto the magnet board because they are the best two players who ply their trade on the wing. I understand that there are better midfielders than them, but they are the best fit on the wing. Matt Crouch had the most possessions of any player in the AFL last season.

    Andrew Gaff of the West Coast Eagles

    (Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Forward line
    The forwards all have natural ability. Joe Daniher and Tom Lynch are probably up there with the best key forwards in the competition and they both have youth on their side.

    Luke Parker is someone who goes under the radar – he was the leading tackler for the Swans last season. Shaun Higgins is just about the best player for the Kangaroos and has the capacity to push up to the midfield, as does Tom Rockliff, who has fitted straight into the Power leadership group without playing a game for the club.

    Steele Sidebottom played as a forward as a junior and should play there quite a bit for the Magpies this season.

    I regard Jarrod Witts highly – he has worked hard to be the number one ruckman for the Suns. Josh Kelly and Zach Merrett are two players who should appear on the Brownlow leaderboard this season – they don’t waste a possession; both of them use the footy well and rarely turn the ball over.

    Interchange bench
    All four interchange players could fit into any midfield in the competition. They are all quality players who have a lot of composure when they dispose of the footy.

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • March 14th 2018 @ 8:37am
      Neil from Warrandyte said | March 14th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Trent Cotchin, the captain and leader of the premiership team, surely has to get a gig

      • March 14th 2018 @ 9:41am
        truetigerfan said | March 14th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report


        • Roar Pro

          March 14th 2018 @ 5:44pm
          Doran Smith said | March 14th 2018 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

          Cotchin wasn’t even named in the All Australian squad of 40 last year. I have selected the projected best players for AFL Season 2018 from the Leadership Groups, not the best Captains.

          • March 14th 2018 @ 6:23pm
            Jeff said | March 14th 2018 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

            Did you really just select Taylor Adams ahead of Trent Cotchin and use him not making the 40man all aus squad as the reason when Adams also didn’t make it…..

            • Roar Pro

              March 14th 2018 @ 6:50pm
              Doran Smith said | March 14th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

              Just giving a younger player an opportunity.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 14th 2018 @ 9:17am
      Lamby said | March 14th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      Taylor Walker has won the AFL Players Association ‘Best Captain’ award for the last 2 years (i.e. voted by the actual players) and you don’t think he is worthy of a slot?

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2018 @ 9:48am
        JamesH said | March 14th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        It’s best players from the leadership groups, Lamby, not best leaders from the leadership groups. He’s not quite as good a key forward as Daniher or Lynch.

        I am surprised that Sloane and Fyfe are on the pine and not starting on the ground, though. I’m also surprised to learn that Robbie Gray is not part of Port’s leadership group. Most of all, I’m surprised that Rockliff gets a gig ahead of Dangerfield and Wines, who are better forwards and better midfielders (there don’t seem to be any Cats players on the list?).

        I can only assume Docherty hasn’t been considered because of his injury; otherwise he’d easily edge out Smith or Roberton.

    • Roar Pro

      March 14th 2018 @ 9:26am
      Ryan Geer said | March 14th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Sloane and Fyfe on the bench, Smith and Merrett on the ground in the middle that’s a bit different. Also where is Swans captain Josh Kennedy? An absolute beast in the middle and led the Swans to 14-8 after a 0-6 start in his first season as captain.

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2018 @ 10:54am
      Paul Dawson said | March 14th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

      Some glaring omissions already – I’ll add Dayne Beams to the list

    • March 14th 2018 @ 11:05am
      Mattyb said | March 14th 2018 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      Where’s Cotchin and Walker?
      Rockliff just left his club but is now a sound leader?
      Bontempelli shouldn’t be on the bench. Two players suffering depression and the whole Stringer saga points to poor leadership at the club.

      • March 14th 2018 @ 12:58pm
        truetigerfan said | March 14th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

        Talking about poor leadership . . . Walker!

        • March 14th 2018 @ 10:42pm
          Mattyb said | March 14th 2018 @ 10:42pm | ! Report

          TTF,do you actually ever comment or just snake into everybody else’s opinions?

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2018 @ 11:41pm
            Dalgety Carrington said | March 14th 2018 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

            Mattyb, you have to enlighten me on this “snake into everybody else’s opinions” concept. Are you actually objecting to the reply/banter component of this site?

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2018 @ 11:18am
      AdelaideDocker said | March 14th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

      Fyfe on the bench? Isaac Smith in the team?

      • March 14th 2018 @ 11:48am
        Birdman said | March 14th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        agreed – I wouldn’t have Smith in that team – has not delivered for the Hawks in a leadership role so far and I;m not sure he will.

      • March 14th 2018 @ 12:25pm
        Mattyb said | March 14th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        I really don’t understand this article.
        How can a player be a better leader than the captain of a club,the one appointed best leader by the club.