It’s been a tough old couple of years for St Kilda fans, with no September appearances since Ross Lyon walked out the door at the end of 2011.
I’ve selected the first XI. Now, here is the second XI in batting order.
1. Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane Lions)
Having captained Australian cricketer Ashton Agar in school cricket for De La Salle College in Melbourne, Lyons receives a spot in the second XI as an opening batsman. The Brisbane player who formerly played for Adelaide and Gold Coast will be vital to the team, batting up the top.
2. Brett Jones (vice-captain) (West Coast)
Jones was a 100-gamer for West Coast who retired in 2011. He captained Western Australia in the under-19s state cricket team in 2000 and went on to receive a state contract in the domestic senior side. As it sits, Jones is 37 years of age, making him one of the oldest players in the second XI. He will open the batting as vice-captain of the team.
3. Pat McKenna (Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne)
McKenna is a steal if you can find him. In an injury-affected career, he did not play an AFL game after choosing to pursue a profession in the AFL rather than cricket. While he might have not played a game, he qualifies as a recently listed AFL player to be picked as an AFL cricketer. And his qualification into the club is strong as McKenna is a past captain of the Australian under-19 cricket team that toured Sri Lanka in 2014. To have been able to reach that level of cricket in the same year as getting drafted to Greater Western Sydney is a remarkable achievement.
If it wasn’t for William Foote, a reader of the first XI article who described McKenna as “a really handy cricketer”, we possibly wouldn’t be hearing about McKenna right now. So thanks to William for his contribution and if it was known earlier, McKenna would have been in the first XI. McKenna is a left-handed batsman who will flourish in the second division while displaying his talent with bat in hand.
4. Chantel Emonson (Melbourne)
Emonson from Melbourne’s AFLW team has played state cricket for Victoria in the under-18s national championships. In previous years, she was representing her Victorian country regions of Mallee Murray and Northern Rivers, which ultimately got her a spot in the Victorian team in under-18s as a batting all-rounder. With an impressive batting average of 32.27 and bowling average of 15.67 found via MyCricket, Emonson comfortably makes the second XI side.
5. Easton Wood (captain) (Western Bulldogs)
Wood is a product of Geelong Grammar who captained the school’s first XI cricket team in 2007. Wood is also the school’s high jump record holder at a height of 2.10 metres. The school’s sports scholarship recruiter Damian Shanahan has always had an eye for cross-code AFL and cricket athletes when recruiting, which has brought through many successful dual sporting athletes. When Wood was accepted into the school, he was surprisingly a cricket scholarship student. Since then, he has famously gone on to become a Western Bulldogs AFL premiership captain. Through his leadership, Wood will bring his cricketing smarts as captain of the second XI and play as a batting all-rounder. It was a tough task picking the captain of the second XI but since it’s been finalised, I have full faith in Wood to continue his sporting success as a captain.
6. Tom Clurey (Port Adelaide)
Clurey sent Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson to the boundary four times in a row to score 22 off four balls in a T20 charity match, so he attracts the eye of everyone in the AFL. His performance at Adelaide Oval places him in the middle order of the second XI to hit some long shots at the back end of the innings.
7. Jordan Clark (Geelong)
The unmissable somehow went missing when he was left out of the AFL’s first XI team. None the less he receives a place in the seconds where he should dominate with his fast bowling. If you were forgetful of Clark’s cricket like I was, he once took a hat trick against Pakistan while representing Australia as an under-16. That is quite an accolade to have. This comfortably positions him as a bowling all-rounder in the second XI.
8. Devon Smith (Essendon)
Smith was another product of Geelong Grammar’s first XI team who took ten wickets in a game once in 2011 against rivals St Kevin’s before getting hip surgery two days later. These sorts of accolades present a wonderful player to the club’s second XI. Smith is a mainstay in the side and is commonly referred to as the poster boy of the competition’s second division because of his volume of matches and dominance from time to time.
9. Jarrod Brander (West Coast)
He came into his boarding school Geelong Grammar as a dual-sport scholarship student. One of Brander’s first experiences at the school was coming in and bowling off the long run and terrifying opposition batsmen with his fast-paced deliveries. I had the pleasure of watching him from behind the stumps as wicketkeeper. At 195 centimetres, he blew front pads and stumps around everywhere at a pace varying somewhere between 120 and 135 kilometres per hour. Since his first year at the school in Year 10, he continued to dominate school cricket while keeping it at a minimum at training to avoid any injury that could have tarnished his AFL chances. He had the potential to go for a cricket career if he preferred, but stuck with Aussie rules.
10. Jonathan Brown (Brisbane)
The Brisbane Lions legend was touted to be the next Australian fast bowler as a teenager.
Luckily he left that role to Mitchell Johnson and spent the rest of his career as an AFL star, showing footballers what courage is all about. In his cricketing days as a junior, Brown played A-Grade club cricket as a left-arm fast bowler and impressively won cricketer of the year two years in a row. After retiring from the AFL in 2014, Brown made some appearances at clubland to bring his nice teenage memories back to life. With his accolades and seniority at age 38, he will be a good person to have in the second XI.
11. Nick O’Brien (Essendon)
Having played 14 games for Essendon from 2012 to 2015, O’Brien sneaks into the second XI as a result of some decent research. I discovered that the man represented Australia at under-16 level as a left-arm paceman. This is an achievement that appeals to the AFL cricket club. Conversely, he was at that level ten years ago so he starts in the second XI. He is a bit unlucky but a couple of good performances and he could take someone’s spot in the ones as a 26-year-old.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and possibly suggest a few names for the all-important third XI, which will be revealed in the coming days.
A reminder that the thirds and all teams have been compiled from a range of the player’s achievements and experiences as a cricketer. I look forward to sharing stories of the players in the third XI with you next.