It’s that time of the year once again.
While rugby league fans immerse themselves in the beauty of State of Origin, footy 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.
This Western Australian outfit is injury-riddled to say the least, with four key players missing from the side (English, McGovern, Naitanui, Acres). However, the reinforcements are having solid seasons (Darcy Cameron, Fisher, McIntosh, Nic Martin). A healthy team could be very dangerous.
One of the best lockdown defenders in the competition, Starcevich is due for his maiden All Australian selection. The Brisbane defender has successfully defended some of game’s biggest names, including Dustin Martin, on a few occasions.
Taylor has come of age in the Giants backline, shutting down some of the league’s best tall forwards. In the top echelon for intercept marks and spoils, Taylor would have no issues as the marquee key defender in this side.
A significant member of Richmond’s premiership-winning defence, Broad should also be a significant member in this team. Ranking elite for intercept marks and spoils, Broad is fully equipped to be a consistent part of the Western Australian team.
Ever so reliable with the ball at halfback, Rich would provide much-needed experience. Third in the league for rebound 50s, and leader for effective kicks, the lethal left-footer has been so consistent for the Lions.
Solid in defence since his move to the Lions, Adams would be a vital member of this side. With the support of intercept defenders around him, this allows Adams to play a lockdown role on a key forward.
After having a breakout season last year, Rivers has shown poise in his short career at the Demons. The premiership player is averaging 15 disposals and five marks per game.
Given an opportunity at Collingwood with Grundy sidelined, Cameron has starred as the main man. Ranked elite for contested marks and intercept marks, the Pies’ big man is also having the same presence Grundy did around the ground.
Back to his best, the Carlton captain has revitalised his career. Averaging 28 disposals and seven clearances per match, Cripps has formed part of the reason that the Blues are in finals contention.
One of the most improved players in the competition, Warner has thrived in the Swans midfield. Racking up 22 touches a game in his third season, the Swans young gun could be a fixture in his state team for years to come.
A regular fixture in the Richmond line-up, McIntosh is underrated considering what he brings for the Tigers every week, and there is no doubt his talents would be valued by the Western Australians.
Although riddled with injury this season, the Hawks skipper since his move to the club has been a consistent performer. O’Meara would be a great addition to the WA side.
He might not be having his best season in 2022, but Duncan’s experience is a huge asset for this team. The 2011 premiership player provides that run and carry that can launch them deep into attack.
You know a team is stacked when Fyfe is relegated to a half-forward flank. Missing the first half of the season, the dual Brownlow Medallist would be a handy welcome into this side.
Instrumental throughout the 2021 season, Jackson is continuing to put good games together. Posting career-high numbers across the board, the Dees backup ruckman is becoming a star in the making.
The GWS captain has got his career back on track. After a poor 2021 season, Coniglio is averaging 25 disposals a game thanks to a move back into the midfield.
A cult hero in Western Australia, Kennedy has the players around him to wind back the clock and do his state proud. The third highest goal kicker amongst active players, the Eagles forward would be a nightmare for opposition defenders.
Ranking third in the Coleman race, the Bulldogs spearhead just continues to kick goals. Despite a strong WA forward line, Naughton should get ample opportunities to convert.
Considered to be Mr Fixit according to many at Tigerland, Baker would fulfil that role in this side. Named at forward pocket due to a lack of small forwards, the Richmond utility should have no trouble adapting to this role.
A general down back for the Eagles, Barrass should be an appropriate reinforcement for the West Australian backline. Ranked elite for intercept marking, the West Coast defender remains cool, calm and collected under pressure.
The Blues small forward has helped contribute immensely to his team’s mosquito fleet this season. Averaging 19 disposals and a goal per game, the livewire would be handy for his state team.
Swallow’s move to half back has been a big win for Gold Coast this season. Helping them to a 7-7 start, the ex-captain would provide some good minutes off the bench for WA.
Selected as a rookie during the pre-season supplemental period, Martin has wasted no time showing that he is capable at AFL level. Five goals and 27 disposals on debut was all it took to stamp his name on the competition.
Coach: Justin Longmuir
One of the frontrunners for coach of the year, Longmuir has turned Fremantle into a finals contender in just his third season. Sitting at 10-3, the Dockers coach has the capability to take Western Australia all the way.