The Roar
The Roar


Halfway 2018 All Australian team: The defence

Alex Rance went from considering retirement to premiership player, all thanks to simplicity and balance in life (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
17th June, 2018
1016 Reads

The final All Australian side is among the most divisive and polarising decision on the AFL calendar, so why not through my hat in the ring?

A reliable and robust defence is the bedrock of any team and this year has seen many new faces thrust themselves into the spotlight. Most notably Tom Stewart and Rory Laird have seen significant increases in their contribution and importance to their respective teams. However, only one of these two found a place on my side.

As consistency is a critical component of excellence, my team will only consider players that have competed in over eight matches this year, and any relevant statistics will factor this.

Full backs

Jeremy McGovern (right full back)
Any All Australian side would be incomplete without the West Coast defender. He is the number one defender in the competition for intercept and contested marks, and as a result McGovern can often appear as an impenetrable barrier in defence.

Similarly, the 26-year-old significantly contributes on offence and is rated as elite in effective kicks and score launchers.

Daniel Talia (full back)
The Adelaide defender is the best lock-down defender in the league, ranking second for contested defensive one-on-ones and first in contested one-on-one loss percentage (For those that average over four defensive one on ones). Impressively, this record has been maintained despite the haemorrhage of inside 50s that Adelaide has conceded over the past month.

James Sicily (left full back)
Despite some on-field discretions, the Hawthorn defender has produced an incredible season. Sicily is ranked elite in an outstanding 16 stat categories. These include ranking second in effective kicks and score launches, fourth in effective disposals and fifth in intercept marks.

As was shown on Saturday night, Sicily has an incredible ability to push forward and kick goals, averaging a goal every second game.

Jeremy McGovern

(Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Half backs

Kade Simpson (left half back)
The 34-year-old has put together the best season of his career, averaging the second most AFL fantasy points of all defenders. Simpson ranks elite in ten stats categories, including effective kicks, effective disposals, contested possessions, and rebound 50s.

Simpson’s elite season has come despite operating in a woeful side where he receives little to no assistance on a week to week basis.

Alex Rance (centre half back)
The Richmond defender has been a staple of the All Australian side since 2014 and his 2018 season has been consistent with these standards. First in contested defensive one-on-ones and second best one-on-one loss percentage for defenders that average over four defensive one-on-ones a game.

Third in intercept marks and first in score launches, much of Richmond’s defensive rebounds can be attributed to Rance’s dominance.

Rory Laird (right half back)
Rory Laird’s 2018 season off half back has been one of the most prolific in recent memory, ranking elite in 13 separate stats categories.

The sheer amount of AFL fantasy points highlights Laird’s dominance. The Adelaide defender has compiled on average over 13 more points per game than any other back and averages over 32 disposals a game


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Shannon Hurn (bench)
The West Coast captain has reaffirmed himself as one of the premier half backs in the competition. Hurn is one of the leading ball users, ranking elite in both kick and disposal efficiency.

Hurn also possesses immense versatility. In addition to his elite ball skills, the West Coast captain ranks first for backmen in marks and is elite in both effective kicks and disposals.

Unlucky exclusions

  • Jake Carlisle
  • Aidan Corr
  • Tom Stewart
  • Lachie Whitfield
  • Harris Andrews

Who is in your defence, Roarers?