I waited nearly all year for it to happen, and in the end it didn’t.
For this exercise, the players were chosen in the position that they generally played in during season 2020, with the first of the six combined teams, made up of the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues.
Envisage a starting team of 18 players with six players from three AFL teams combined. They must have played a minimum of five games during the home-and-away season in season 2020 to be eligible.
There would be three captains for this exercise: Rory Sloane, Daniel Rich and Sam Walsh. They are natural leaders.
The coach would be Chris Fagan as the Brisbane Lions were one game away from the season 2020 grand final.
AFL Combined Team One (Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, Carlton Blues- season 2020)
Adelaide Crows: Matt Crouch, Kyle Hartigan, Rory Laird, Tom Lynch, Reilly O’Brien, Rory Sloane
Brisbane Lions: Harris Andrews, Charlie Cameron, Jarryd Lyons, Hugh McCluggage, Lachie Neale, Daniel Rich
Carlton: Levi Casboult, Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty, Harry McKay, Sam Walsh, Jacob Weitering
B: Harris Andrews (Brisbane Lions), Kyle Hartigan (Adelaide Crows), Daniel Rich (Brisbane Lions, Co-Captain)
HB: Sam Docherty (Carlton Blues), Jacob Weitering (Carlton Blues), Rory Laird (Adelaide Crows)
C: Sam Walsh (Carlton Blues, Co-Captain), Matt Crouch (Adelaide Crows), Rory Sloane (Adelaide Crows, Co-Captain)
HF: Patrick Cripps (Carlton Blues), Levi Casboult (Carlton Blues), Tom Lynch (Adelaide Crows)
FF: Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane Lions), Harry McKay (Carlton Blues), Charlie Cameron (Brisbane Lions)
Foll: Reilly O’Brien (Adelaide Crows), Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane Lions), Lachie Neale (Brisbane Lions)
Harris Andrews was selected at full back in the All Australian team, which was warranted as he had a good season in 2020. For the purpose of this exercise he would be suited to playing in a back pocket as it would give him the freedom to take intercept marks at will.
Kyle Hartigan was a pivotal part of the Adelaide Crows defence as he can play different roles. Despite playing 13 of 17 games in season 2020, he managed to finish eighth in the best and fairest.
Daniel Rich had a reasonable season in 2020 for the Brisbane Lions. He played 13 out of 17 games in the home-and-away season, providing plenty of run out of defence. He leads by example.
Sam Docherty averaged the fourth most disposals of any Carlton Blues player. There’s more to Docherty than statistics though, he has a presence on the field and always puts in maximum effort.
Jacob Weitering was an extremely important player for Carlton Blues playing at centre half back position, predominantly.
He was the only Carlton Blues player selected in the All Australian squad of 40 in season 2020.
Rory Laird averaged the second most disposals of any player for the Adelaide Crows in AFL season 2020. He also finished second in the Adelaide Crows best and fairest by a solitary vote. He flourished in his move into the midfield and his versatility was an asset for the team.
Sam Walsh averaged the most disposals of any Carlton Blues player in season 2020, even more than the highly talked about Patrick Cripps.
He leads by example, which can be substantiated by being awarded the mark of the year at the season 2020 Brownlow Medal event. He polled eight votes on the night, just two votes behind Cripps!
Matt Crouch averaged the fifth most disposals of anyone in the competition in season 2020. He was a pivotal part of the Adelaide Crows team and always endeavoured to do his best.
He finished fourth in the best and fairest.
Rory Sloane may not have played much footy on a wing, but it’s a role that he is suited to. He is in this team for leadership as he makes everyone around him better.
He may have not had his best season statistically, but he is a bit of a barometer for the Adelaide Crows. He was sorely missed through injury, at times.
Patrick Cripps is a player that is highly thought of as he is considered one of the best players in the competition at his best, which he wasn’t in season 2020.
He would benefit from a move to a half forward flank as it would help him play more instinctively and give some of his teammates more midfield time, that would be less pressure on him. He just needs to kick straighter with set shots!
Levi Casboult of the Carlton Blues would be a handy option at centre half forward and playing as a second ruckman would take the pressure off him and help him play more instinctively.
Tom Lynch only played 13 games, but he averaged the fifth most disposals of any player for the Adelaide Crows. Regardless, he finished ninth in the Adelaide Crows best and fairest in season 2020.
Hugh McCluggage was a part of the AFL All Australian squad of 40 in season 2020. He was an extremely consistent performer for the Brisbane Lions in season 2020. He finished third in the best and fairest in a team that made the preliminary final.
Harry McKay was a pivotal part of the Carlton Blues structure in season 2020 averaging 1.62 goals per games. Not only because of Charlie Curnow being injured for season 2020, he was instrumental to the Carlton Blues team in season 2020, but because Mitch McGovern struggled to find form put even more emphasis on McKay.
Charlie Cameron would be the forward pocket in this team. He averaged the most goals of any Brisbane Lions player and was a constant danger in their forward line.
Reilly O’Brien is highly thought of now that he won the Adelaide Crows best and fairest in season 2020. He deserves the recognition and may well have been in the AFL All Australian squad of 40 had he been a part of a team that won more games than the Adelaide Crows.
Jarryd Lyons showed what a quality player he is as he finished second in the Brisbane Lions best and fairest.
That’s even though he wasn’t one of the three Brisbane Lions players in the AFL All Australian squad of 40.
Lachie Neale won the Brownlow Medal in season 2020. That says it all. It was impossible to leave him out of this team.