The GWS Giants took a step backwards in 2018, eliminated in the semi-finals after having made the prelims in the two years previous.
If the two New South Wales teams, the Sydney Swans and the GWS Giants, merged into one line-up, it would be a fascinating football squad.
There are few shocks in the 22 individuals I have chosen for this challenging experience.
Coach: John Longmire (Swans)
Co-captains: Luke Parker (Swans), Josh Kelly (Giants)
B: Nick Smith (Swans), Adam Tomlinson (Giants), Nick Newman (Swans)
HB: Callum Mills (Swans), Heath Grundy (Swans), Dayne Rampe (Swans)
C: Tom Scully (Giants), Dylan Shiel (Giants), Dan Hannebery (Swans)
HF: Will Hayward (Swans), Lance Franklin (Swans), Isaac Heeney (Swans)
F: Toby Greene (Giants), Jeremy Cameron (Giants), George Hewett (Swans)
Foll: Rory Lobb (Giants), Josh Kelly (Giants), Luke Parker (Swans)
Int: Josh Kennedy (Swans), Callum Ward (Giants), Zak Jones (Swans), Lachie Whitfield (Giants)
It was a tough job to pick the coach of this merged team, but John Longmire just edged out Leon Cameron by the fact that he is a premiership coach.
I couldn’t decide between Luke Parker and Josh Kelly. They are both good leaders. Parker had the most disposals of any Swans player last season, while Kelly was named in the All Australian squad. Both deserve the accolade of being captain.
Nick Smith is one of the best small defenders in the competition. Adam Tomlinson started his career as a forward but has been a revelation in the back line for the Giants.
Nick Newman is a star of the future – every possession he gets is efficient – and he is one of the more understated characters in the competition. Callum Mills provides lots of run for the Swans and is someone who can play through the midfield.
Dayne Rampe has been a solid performer ever since the Swans match committee gave him a chance to play in the AFL. Heath Grundy should be regarded as one of the best tall defenders in the league as he usually negates the oppositions best tall forward.
All three midfielders selected are all left-footed skilful exponents of using the footy. Dylan Shiel is very important to the Giants and was an astute pick in the national draft a few years ago.
Will Hayward is a promising youngster who averages more than a goal per game. He doesn’t get a lot of the footy, but when he gets possession, he uses it well.
Lance Franklin is universally regarded as one of the best tall forwards going around. He is also extremely mobile and capable of kicking a goal from outside 50, pulling off the freakish and unfathomable.
Isaac Heeney is a talented young player who can play through the midfield or up forward and who averages slightly more than a goal per game.
Rory Lobb should thrive as the Giants number one ruckman after the retirement of Shane Mumford and will benefit from the time he has spent plying his trade as a tall forward target. Josh Kelly and Luke Parker are both in their respective leadership groups. They are both no-fuss elite midfielders.
The captain of the Swans and Giants are listed on the interchange bench as they can both add to the midfield rotations. Zak Jones and Lachie Whitfield are both capable of playing off half back or on a wing.