The AFL is the only truly national football code of scale in Australia – 18 clubs split across five states, which play multiple games in every state and territory each season.
Imagine a starting 18 team of players with one player from every AFL team.
Stop imagining – it could come to fruition now, albeit hypothetically.
There’s a sole captain for the purpose of this exercise: Marcus Bontempelli.
Adelaide Crows: Rory Sloane
Brisbane Lions: Daniel Rich
Carlton Blues: Sam Docherty
Collingwood Magpies: Jack Crisp
Essendon Bombers: Zach Merrett
Fremantle Dockers: Michael Walters
Geelong Cats: Patrick Dangerfield
Gold Coast Suns: Jarrod Witts
Greater Western Sydney Giants: Jeremy Cameron
Hawthorn Hawks: James Sicily
Melbourne Demons: Clayton Oliver
North Melbourne Kangaroos: Ben Brown
Port Adelaide Power: Travis Boak
Richmond Tigers: Dustin Martin
St Kilda Saints: Jack Billings
Sydney Swans: Dane Rampe
West Coast Eagles: Jeremy McGovern
Western Bulldogs: Marcus Bontempelli (captain)
Sam Docherty is a fantastic leader and a talented player. He was back from injury in Round 1 of season 2020, amassing 26 disposals.
Dane Rampe was a part of the 2019 AFL All Australian squad of 40. Rampe won the 2019 Sydney Swans best and fairest and is one of three co-captains.
Jack Crisp finished third in the 2019 Collingwood Magpies best and fairest. Crisp is a pivotal part of the Magpies back six.
Daniel Rich finished fifth in the best and fairest in 2019 for the Brisbane Lions – not bad for a player in a team that finished second on the ladder is 2019.
Jeremy McGovern was selected at centre halfback in the 2019 AFL All Australian team. McGovern is such an integral part of the Eagles structure.
James Sicily is extremely mobile and capable of playing as either a key defender or on a halfback flank. He’s a pivotal part of the Hawthorn team.
Jack Billings is a pivotal part of the St Kilda team. He showed what he’s capable of in Round 1 with two goals. He is extremely underrated as it stands, but won’t be for long if he can continue his form from Round 1 of season 2020.
Clayton Oliver was equal first in the 2019 Melbourne best and fairest. Oliver is an important part of the Demons midfield.
Zach Merrett won the 2019 Essendon best and fairest. Merrett goes about his job with little fuss despite the fact he is probably the Bombers best player.
Patrick Dangerfield won the 2019 Geelong best and fairest and was selected on a half-forward flank in the 2019 AFL All Australian team.
Jeremy Cameron won the 2019 AFL Coleman Medal and was selected at centre half-forward in the 2019 AFL All Australian team.
Michael Walters was selected on a half-forward flank in the 2019 AFL All Australian team. He’s capable of playing consistent good footy as he showed in 2019.
Marcus Bontempelli was selected in the 2019 All Australian squad on a wing but for the purpose of this exercise has been selected in a forward pocket.
Ben Brown kicked 64 goals in 22 games and was a part of the AFL All Australian squad of 40 in season 2019.
Dustin Martin should play as a permanent forward as he is extremely dangerous in the forward 50. He’s probably Richmond’s most important player.
Jarrod Witts won the 2019 Gold Coast best and fairest by a big margin. He’s captain of the Suns and a pivotal part of their line-up, playing in the ruck.
Travis Boak won the 2019 Port Adelaide best and fairest and is a key part of the Power midfield.
Rory Sloane is probably Adelaide’s best player despite finishing second in their 2019 best and fairest. He has been elevated to captain of the Crows for 2020, which is an indicator of how highly he is rated within the footy club.