AFL news, as it happens.
It’s that time of the year once again.
While rugby league fans immerse themselves in the beauty of State of Origin, Australian rules football fans are left wondering what could be for their code.
But who exactly would be selected for each side if the AFL had a change in heart? In this six-part series, I will select the best 22 for six State of Origin teams (Vic Metro, Vic Country, South Australia, Western Australia, Indigenous All Stars, and the Allies).
As there can be endless possibilities, here are a few things to note.
The Allies team consists of players from New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, as well as international players.
Players are predominantly selected based on their 2022 performance so far, but also the value they provide for their team.
Injured players at the time of selection will not be picked.
The other of our Victorian teams has a lot more star power than that of Vic Metro, however a lack of sound tall backs could be their biggest downfall.
Sam Docherty (captain)
After an inspirational return, the former Blues skipper has been ever so reliable down back. Leading all defenders for disposals this season, Docherty has earned his spot in the side, along with the captaincy.
Leading the league for intercept marks on average this season, McKay is evolving as a recognised key defender right before our eyes. Only 24, the North back would have the opportunity to cement his spot for years to come.
The Cats defender has been solid this season. Equal fourth for intercept possessions, Stewart is well on his way to receiving a fourth All Australian blazer, hence his selection in the team.
Making the switch to half back, the Collingwood star is relishing in his new role. Disposing the ball more efficiently than ever in 2022, his exquisite decision making would be of great value for Vic Country.
Sidelined for three years due to ongoing concussions, McCartin hasn’t missed a beat since his return to AFL footy. A positional change has seen the Swans tall have a career-best year.
Having his best season for a decimated Eagles side, Witherden can assist Pendlebury with some efficient drive off the half-back line. Going at 84.8 per cent for his ball use in 2022, Witherden is a perfect associate for the Pies skipper.
Having a stellar run home last year, Darcy has been a point of difference for the Dockers when he’s not injured. The Geelong Falcon has bettered his hit-outs per game from 2021.
Returning earlier from a syndesmosis injury, the Blues young gun hasn’t missed a beat. Averaging 30-plus disposals for the first time in his career, Walsh is a lock in this side.
After a breakout 2021, Parish has continued his remarkable run of games, ranking third for disposals per game (32.9). Besides when he got subbed out in Round 13, the Bombers midfielder has amassed less than 30 disposals once in 2022.
The Dogs star has rejuvenated his career since requesting a trade to Essendon in 2020. Averaging 26 disposals, seven marks and six tackles a game, Dunkley is forming into a complete player of the competition.
Leading the league for disposals this year, Oliver is terrorising the competition. The three-time Dees best and fairest winner rounds out an unstoppable on-ball unit.
A recognised winger who floats into the middle every once in a while, McCluggage is establishing himself nicely in the competition. Career highs in marks, tackles and clearances just about prove this point.
What representative team would be complete without Martin? While the 2017 Brownlow Medallist hasn’t had the best season, his match-winning ability and explosive speed would be valuable to anyone.
One short of leading the Coleman, Cameron is taking his game to new heights. Already equalling his goal tally from last year, and even starting in the centre bounce, the Cats forward is sure to receive his third All Australian blazer at the end of the year.
By far the recruit of the season, Will Brodie has obliterated his previous career-best numbers. On average, Brodie is accumulating 27 disposals and six clearances a game, despite playing only 69 per cent of game time.
The current Coleman Medal leader, Curnow has been a key part in Carlton’s turnaround. Thriving in Harry McKay’s absence, the key forward is making up for lost time.
The 2021 Coleman Medallist has continued on his goal-kicking rampage. Kicking almost three goals a game, the Blues spearhead has been deadly up forward.
Despite being injury riddled throughout his career, Elliott is finally finding his groove. Arguably one of Collingwood’s most valuable players, the Pies forward has the ability to even inject X factor into the Vic Country engine room.
Marshall has been a consistent part of the Saints’ team since he debuted. The Saints’ back-up ruckman finds ways to get involved without being in the contest, making him a great second option for Vic Country.
Slightly down on his numbers from last year, the reigning Brownlow Medallist is still putting constantly solid games together. Wines is also in the side to provide his wealth of experience into an already exquisite midfield.
The Swans livewire knows where the goals are. Kicking 25-plus goals in all but one season prior to 2022, Papley’s goal smarts would be beneficial to Vic Country.
Crisp has thrived since his move into the midfield. Sixth in the league for inside 50s, the Pies midfielder is at home in this side.
Taking over as Port coach in 2013, Hinkley took Port Adelaide to finals in his first two seasons. Attaining a 59 per cent winning percentage, Hinkley coached Port to consecutive top two finishes in 2020 and 2021.
B: Docherty (C), B. McKay, Stewart
HB: Pendlebury, McCartin, Witherden
FO: Darcy, Walsh, Parish
C: Dunkley, Oliver, McCluggage
HF: Martin, Cameron, Brodie
F: Curnow, H. McKay, Elliott
INT: Marshall, Wines, Papley, Crisp