David Teague will join Richmond’s coaching ranks next season as an assistant to Damien Hardwick after being sacked by Carlton.
This is a hypothetical exercise with a starting 18 comprising one player per team.
To be eligible for selection each player must have featured in at least five games in 2021. This was an entertaining experiment to write.
There are three captains for the purpose of this exercise: Taylor Walker, Darcy Parish and Marcus Bontempelli.
Adelaide Crows: Taylor Walker (co-captain)
Brisbane Lions: Hugh McCluggage
Carlton Blues: Sam Walsh
Collingwood Magpies: Brayden Maynard
Essendon Bombers: Darcy Parish (co-captain)
Fremantle Dockers: Sean Darcy
Geelong Cats: Tom Hawkins
Gold Coast Suns: Touk Miller
Greater Western Sydney Giants: Toby Greene
Hawthorn Hawks: Changkuoth Jiath
Melbourne Demons: Steven May
North Melbourne Kangaroos: Jack Ziebell
Port Adelaide Power: Ollie Wines
Richmond Tigers: Shai Bolton
St Kilda Saints: Jack Sinclair
Sydney Swans: Jordan Dawson
West Coast Eagles: Andrew Gaff
Western Bulldogs: Marcus Bontempelli (co-captain)
B: Brayden Maynard (Collingwood), Steven May (Melbourne), Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne)
HB: Jordan Dawson (Sydney) Changkuoth Jiath (Hawthorn), Jack Sinclair (St Kilda)
C: Andrew Gaff (West Coast), Ollie Wines (Port Adelaide), Sam Walsh (Carlton)
HF: Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane), Taylor Walker (Adelaide, co-captain), Shai Bolton (Richmond)
FF: Toby Greene (GWS), Tom Hawkins (Geelong), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs, co-captain)
Foll: Sean Darcy (Fremantle, Darcy Parish (Essendon, co-captain), Touk Miller (Gold Coast)
Brayden Maynard has been arguably Collingwood’s best player and has become someone who can be called upon to play against the opposition’s best key forward or small forward. He showed his versatility against the Giants in Round 4 when he was matched up against Toby Greene. Greene had kicked five goals; Brayden Maynard kept him goalless!
Steven May is universally admired and one of the reasons the Demons have lost only two games this season. He would have to be a certainty for the All Australian team based on his form if it were judged to this point of the season.
Jack Ziebell has relished his role playing in the back six for the Kangaroos. The decision to move him back has been an astute one.
Jordan Dawson has been outstanding for the Sydney Swans so far in 2021. He has the most metres gained of any Swans player with an average of 494.54 per game.
Changkuoth Jiath has been a revelation for the Hawks, averaging 20.83 disposals per game. He has the third-highest disposal efficiency of any Hawthorn player with an average of 82.43 per cent per game.
Jack Sinclair has featured in every game for the Saints, averaging an impressive 20.77 disposals per game. He has been an important part of the Saints team.
Andrew Gaff has featured in every game and averaged the most disposals of any West Coast player, with an average of 28.38 disposals per game. He has also shown that he has the capability to play as an inside midfielder after the injuries to the Eagles three inside midfielders, which are Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly and Elliot Yeo.
Ollie Wines of the Power has been extremely consistent in 2021 after 13 rounds, with an equal sixth-highest disposal count of anyone in the competition, averaging 31.08 disposals per game. He has the ability to win the ball in the contest as he has averaged 13.75 contested possessions per game.
Sam Walsh has led from the front for the Carlton Blues in what has been a disappointing season so far for the team as a whole. He has been a shining light for the team and has given his teammates hope that there are good times ahead for the footy club.
Hugh McCluggage has the ability to win the ball on the outside with an average of 15.83 uncontested possessions per game. He has kicked a goal in nine out of 12 matches the Lions have played so far.
Taylor Walker has kicked 37 goals for the Crows, having featured in 12 of their 13 games so far this season. He has led from the front, which can be substantiated by him kicking the winning goal in a pressure situation against a Demons side that were undefeated in the opening nine games of the season. THat winning score showed he has become a quality leader in pressure situations.
Shai Bolton of the Tigers is second for average score involvements for Richmond, with an average of exactly seven per game in the 11 games that he’s featured in. He has averaged 1.36 goals per game, kicking at least one goal a match in nine out of 11 games.
Toby Greene of the Giants has transformed into a player of even more ability than he’s had in previous seasons. Despite featuring in only ten out of 12 games, Greene has kicked 23 goals, which is seven more than any of his teammates.
Tom Hawkins from the Cats has averaged the third most score involvements in the competition, with an average of 8.42 score involvements per game.
Marcus Bontempelli is highly regarded by everyone following footy and is one of the reasons the Western Bulldogs have been so impressive so far in 2021. He leads by example.
Sean Darcy has been a revelation for the Dockers. He averages the fourth most hit-outs of any ruckmen in the AFL, with an average 30.17 hit-outs per game. He’s featured in every game except Round 1, where the Dockers missed his presence in the ruck as they lost to the Demons. He has had at least 12 disposals per game in the 11 games that he has featured in.
Ever since Round 6 Darcy Parish has been the best player in the competition and helped keep Essendon’s finals hopes alive. In the last seven games he has had at least 35 disposals in all but one match, which was in Round 7. He has been a revelation for the Bombers. He has led from the front showing his teammates the way forward in an almost effortless fashion.
Touk Miller has probably been Gold Coast’s best player, with an average of 29.91 disposals per game. When the chips were down against the Dockers in Round 13 he was a shining light with 31 disposals. He has had at least 20 disposals, featuring in 11 of the Suns 12 games so far in 2021.