The 2018 half-way All Australian team

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    Is picking a half-way All Australian team a silly thing to do? Perhaps, but that has rarely if ever stopped me. Let’s have some fun.

    Backs

    Tom Stewart
    A real breakout year coming from relative obscurity to be the most important player in the Cats’ defence, which also happens to be the league’s stingiest after 11 rounds.

    Alex Rance
    Still the league’s premier key defender, even with the extra time commitments of training towards his dream of being an Olympic diver (do ho ho, very original joke I know).

    James Sicily
    Has played genuinely elite footy this year when he’s not busy being suspended. An argument could be made that he’s Hawthorn’s most important player.

    Half-backs

    Shannon Hurn (captain)
    His form and leadership this year undoubtedly are among the key reasons why West Coast are not just better than expected but in premiership contention.

    Shannon Hurn

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Scott Thompson
    After his career nearly came to an end last year, he’s returned to his very best form in 2018. No.3 in the league for intercepts (behind only Rance and Laird).

    Rory Laird
    One of the most prolific players in the league and an almost automatic selection in the team these days.

    Centres

    Isaac Smith
    Has become a more damaging player this year, averaging a goal and a half per game while still having the same impact on the wing that he always has.

    Tom Mitchell
    One of the first picked – just as prolific as he was last year, and seems to be having more impact per possession than he did last year. New Brownlow favourite.

    Andrew Gaff
    Has chosen a good year to be in the best form of his career, giving the Eagles plenty of reason to make him a better offer when it comes to a new contract.

    Half-forwards

    Jesse Hogan
    Now that Tom McDonald is back, his roaming-up-the-ground role is working splendidly. Averaging just short of 20 touches and 3 goals a game (19.9 and 2.8, to be exact).

    Jack Darling
    Flourished in the absence of Josh J Kennedy earlier in the season, and then seemed to get even better when Kennedy came back – sadly, will miss the next four to six weeks.

    Devon Smith
    Might be a bit of a surprise selection, but he leads the league for both pressure acts and tackles – invaluable in the modern game, contender for ‘recruit of the year’.

    Devon Smith

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    Forwards

    Josh Caddy
    In an era where every AFL player would like to have a few more midfield minutes, Caddy is proving that sometimes less is more. Three goals a game.

    Ben Brown
    Does kicking the most goals for the year so far make him the best key forward of the year so far? That wasn’t a rhetorical question, the answer is yes.

    Luke Breust
    The league’s most well performed small forward in a year where there haven’t been many standouts, though he’s only kicked one goal in the last three weeks.

    Followers

    Brodie Grundy
    Arguably the hardest choice to make in the team, but he beats out Max Gawn and Nic Naitanui because while he may have less ruck-related stats, he has a bigger impact on games.

    Nat Fyfe (vice-captain)
    The best player in the league so far this year, no question.

    Nat Fyfe

    (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Jackson Macrae
    Has made the leap from being a very good midfielder to a genuinely elite midfielder. Career-high numbers in disposals, tackles and clearances.

    Interchange

    Patrick Dangerfield
    Certainly isn’t having the year he had last year, but still doing more to belong in the All Australian team, albeit only on the bench.

    Dustin Martin
    See: Patrick Dangerfield.

    Patrick Cripps
    Up there with Fyfe and Mitchell among the top three players for clearances this year – one of the few positives in Carlton’s 1-10 season.

    Paul Seedsman
    Despite having played a game less than most of the other contenders for the title, he still has the most metres gained by any player in the league this year.

    Paul Seedsman

    (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    On paper

    B: Tom Stewart, Alex Rance, James Sicily
    HB: Shannon Hurn (c), Scott Thompson, Rory Laird
    C: Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Andrew Gaff
    HF: Jesse Hogan, Jack Darling, Devon Smith
    F: Josh Caddy, Ben Brown, Luke Breust
    Fol: Brodie Grundy, Nat Fyfe, Jackson Macrae
    Int: Patrick Dangerfield, Dustin Martin, Patrick Cripps, Paul Seedsman

    Club-by-club

    Adelaide Crows: Rory Laird, Paul Seedsman (2).
    Brisbane Lions: none.
    Carlton Blues: Patrick Cripps (1).
    Collingwood Magpies: Brodie Grundy (1).
    Essendon Bombers: Devon Smith (1).
    Fremantle Dockers: Nat Fyfe (1).
    Geelong Cats: Patrick Dangerfield, Tom Stewart (2).
    Gold Coast Suns: none.
    GWS Giants: none.
    Hawthorn Hawks: Luke Breust, Tom Mitchell, James Sicily, Isaac Smith (4).
    Melbourne Demons: Jesse Hogan (1).
    North Melbourne Kangaroos: Ben Brown, Scott Thompson (2).
    Port Adelaide Power: none.
    Richmond Tigers: Josh Caddy, Dustin Martin, Alex Rance (3).
    St Kilda Saints: none.
    Sydney Swans: none.
    West Coast Eagles: Jack Darling, Andrew Gaff, Shannon Hurn (3).
    Western Bulldogs: Jackson Macrae (1).

    Jackson Macrae

    (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    Most unlucky
    The title of most unlucky would have to go to Dayne Beams who could easily be in here by the end of the year, and Max Gawn and Nic Naitnaui could rightly be miffed to have missed selection.

    Elliot Yeo, Steele Sidebottom, Bryce Gibbs, Stephen Coniglio and Tom Phillips were all considered for the midfield, as were Robbie Gray and Shaun Higgins at half-forward.

    Picking a second key defender after Rance was very hard – Thompson got the nod on weight of numbers, but Jeremy McGovern, Daniel Talia or Harris Andrews would all be equally as deserving.

    It’s pretty rare that Lance Franklin misses a team like this, but the foot injury that cost him a few games means he’s just behind the three key forwards I picked – for now.

    Charlie Cameron and Mark LeCras were next in line for consideration as small forwards, but neither has been quite prolific enough to justify their inclusion.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (86)

    • June 6th 2018 @ 6:37am
      Slane said | June 6th 2018 @ 6:37am | ! Report

      Cotchin flying under the radar with the media pundits. Sitting in third place on the AFLCA tally and no doubt leading the Jack Dyer medal count.

      • Editor

        June 6th 2018 @ 12:10pm
        Josh Elliott said | June 6th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        Seems to be those who have him on their radar and those who don’t – I guess I’m in the don’t camp for now, but happy to be proven wrong.

        • June 6th 2018 @ 3:24pm
          Slane said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

          Pretty hard to be proven wrong in a subjective excercise! A few weeks ago Paul Roos said that if he was coaching a team in a position like Carlton, Brisbane, the Saints, Cotchin would be the number 1 player in the comp he’d want at the club. He then said that if he was coaching a team who were contending right now his number 1 player would be Dusty.

          • June 6th 2018 @ 3:35pm
            Don Freo said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

            Roosy is suggesting that Dusty is a front runner? Tough.

            • June 6th 2018 @ 5:13pm
              Slane said | June 6th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

              Interesting interpretation. He made it pretty clear that one was the core cog that you could build a team around while the other was a genuine game-turning match-winning superstar.

    • Roar Guru

      June 6th 2018 @ 7:30am
      Cat said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      Good to see Tom Stewart in there. Well deserved. Should more attention be paid to Matty Scarlett as a coach? He hand picked Stewart and got him onto Geelong’s VFL list and is currently Geelong’s defensive development coach. Previously Scarlo helped develop the Bulldogs defenders in a part time role.

      • Editor

        June 6th 2018 @ 12:14pm
        Josh Elliott said | June 6th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        I didn’t have him in my initial draft after Round 9 but he was close, last two weeks have put him over the top.

    • June 6th 2018 @ 7:45am
      Sarge said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Pretty good would not right now think Dangerfield or Martin deserve it, and would pick nearly all of your just missed players over Isaac Smith.

      • June 6th 2018 @ 11:14am
        Jack T said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        Dustin Martin no1. for score involvements, no2. for score assists and most goals kicked by a midfielder. Be silly if he wasn’t in there. Can’t compare him to himself of last year but the competition this year, great year by most players standards.

      • Editor

        June 6th 2018 @ 12:15pm
        Josh Elliott said | June 6th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        They’re hardly playing bad footy, even if not as good as previous years.

        Smith probably only made it in by the skin of his teeth – I like having genuine wingers in the team. But could just as easily replace him with Seedsman and give Beams a spot on the bench.

        • June 7th 2018 @ 1:25pm
          Scott said | June 7th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

          Yeah I reckon you’ve done pretty well with this team Josh. Martin and Dangerfield are only being compared to their own lofty standards. They are both still easily in the top bracket of midfielders

          • Roar Guru

            June 7th 2018 @ 1:27pm
            Cat said | June 7th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

            Neither are even the top in their own sides this year.

    • Roar Guru

      June 6th 2018 @ 7:59am
      Peter the Scribe said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      You’d expect to see Tigers and Eagles well represented but too many Hawks in this one. Isaac Smith out for Tom Phillips and Devon Smith is a curious selection ahead of Robbie Gray.

      • Roar Guru

        June 6th 2018 @ 9:13am
        JamesH said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Smith 100% deserves his selection (although could have started on the pine). On track to break the league record for pressure acts in a season.

        I’m surprised Neville Jetta didn’t get a mention. He’s been the best small defender in the comp.

        • June 6th 2018 @ 10:04am
          truetigerfan said | June 6th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Smith has been awesome. Absolutely. Often playing a lone hand.

      • Editor

        June 6th 2018 @ 12:17pm
        Josh Elliott said | June 6th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        I pick based on the players, not who they play for. Sydney for example are top four but don’t have a player in there, and I don’t feel that’s unfair.

        I’m comfortable with Smith over Gray.

    • June 6th 2018 @ 8:08am
      Hyena said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Bit Melbourne centric….

      O from QLD or NSW…

      • June 6th 2018 @ 10:48am
        Gruffalo said | June 6th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

        Quite appropriate actually.

        It’s the VFL.

        • June 6th 2018 @ 11:30am
          truetigerfan said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          Who are you both putting up as candidates then? Lack of consistency in NSW and lack of wins in QLD really hurts potential AllAussie status.

      • Editor

        June 6th 2018 @ 12:19pm
        Josh Elliott said | June 6th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

        Beams, Franklin and Andrews were all fairly close, but not quite. Also thought of Rampe a bit. Not sure there’s many others who you could realistically say should be in there.

    • June 6th 2018 @ 8:09am
      1DER said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Surely Oliver, Treloar, and Selwood in front of Martin and possibly Dangerfield?

      • Roar Guru

        June 6th 2018 @ 8:13am
        Cat said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Just at the Cats Selwood and even Duncan are having better years than Dangerfield

      • June 6th 2018 @ 11:16am
        Jack T said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        Dustin Martin no1. for score involvements, no2. for score assists and most goals kicked by a midfielder. Be silly if he wasn’t in there. Can’t compare him to himself of last year but the competition this year, great year by most players standards.

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