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AFL State of Origin: Would this Indigenous side be the most exciting team to watch?

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Roar Rookie
29th June, 2022
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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.

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This team is sure to excite many fans around the country. With a forward line to die for, this attacking side would put scoreboard pressure on their opponents. Their weakest link however is the lack of small lockdown defenders.

Note: These indigenous players were selected from the 2022 AFL Players Indigenous Map.

Defence

Rhyan Mansell

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A surprising selection to begin with, Mansell was picked due to his ability to play a shutdown role on the opposition’s most threatening small forward.

Steven May (Captain)

The May factor has been prominent at Melbourne this season. Undefeated with the key defender playing, May has been a general down back.

Lachie Jones

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Replacing Zac Williams in the side, Jones is beginning to rack up consistent games for Port Adelaide. Ranked elite for spoils this season, the defender is capable of getting the job done down back.

Dan Houston

The dashing half-back has been superb in 2022. Averaging 24 disposals, seven marks and seven intercept possessions a game, Houston would be a problem for rival teams.

Alex Pearce

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Missing significant amount of time with countless injuries, you begin to forget how important Alex Pearce is. The key defender has shut down some of the competition’s best key forwards.

Daniel Rioli

Having his best season to date, the Richmond speedster has been exceptional since his move to half back. Averaging 20 disposals per outing, Rioli would be a welcome addition to this side.

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Followers

Paddy Ryder

Revered for his ruck craft by many, the Saints big man would be a handy inclusion for the Indigenous All Stars. His wealth of experience would enable him to play up forward if required.

Tim Kelly

The West Coast midfielder would get ample opportunity in this midfield. With limited ball-winners in the Indigenous side, Kelly’s selection is vital.

Tim Kelly of the Eagles celebrates a goal

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Shai Bolton

The most influential player to any side this season, Bolton is a walk-up to this team. Averaging 18 disposals and two goals a match, the Richmond midfielder’s evasive skills and match-winning ability make him a crucial asset to this team.

Midfield

Karl Amon

The speedy left footer exemplifies a true winger of the competition. With an average of 24 possessions and six marks an outing, Amon is exponentially getting better at all facets of the game.

Jy Simpkin

Although North have struggled in recent times, Simpkin has been the best of a bad bunch. The reigning Syd Barker Medallist’s clearance work complements the on-ball unit nicely.

Michael Walters

Positioned on a wing, Walters would be able to burn his opponents with his lethal pace. However, it’s his goal sense that would be most deadly. The 5-time Freo leading goalkicker has been clutch in front of goal of recent times.

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Forwards

Jade Gresham

Coming back after an interrupted 2021 season, Gresham has been pivotal for the Saints in their finals tilt. Averaging a goal and 24 touches a game, the Saints star would be an important member of this side.

Lance Franklin

Do I really need to put a case forward? 330 games, 1025 goals, eight-time All-Australian, four-time Coleman Medallist, dual premiership player, I’ll just leave it there.

Lance Franklin of the Swans is congratulated

(Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Liam Ryan

West Coast high-flyer Liam Ryan never fails to amaze when he plays. The 2019 Mark of the Year winner should provide an array of highlights.

Kysaiah Pickett

The mercurial Demon (like Ryan) knows how to put on a show. Fresh off a 40-goal season in 2021, the premiership player can put on scoreboard pressure in an instant.

Jeremy Finlayson

Without Charlie Dixon for the first 10 games, Finlayson has been able to fill the void seamlessly. The ex-Giant should provide the Indigenous team with a tall presence up forward, as Buddy pushes up the ground.

Charlie Cameron

Cameron has exploded onto the scene since his move to Brisbane. Reaching the 50-goal mark twice in the last five seasons, the Brisbane forward is on track to do so once again.

Interchange

Brad Hill

Hill has gotten back into the groove this year after a fluctuating 2021 season. Averaging 22 disposals a game, the triple premiership player would be able to inject his speed off the bench.

Steven Motlop

Whenever Steven Motlop is near the ball, you’re on edge that little bit more. The pressure forward provides that hunt and tenacity for the team.

Steven Motlop of the Power is congratulated by Connor Rozee

(Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Tyson Stengle

Arguably best on ground on the weekend, Stengle has been a revolution for the Cats. With the 29 goals for the season, the goal sneak has been one of the feel-good stories of the season.

Ben Long

Capable of playing multiple positions, Long would be handy in the Indigenous All Stars artillery. As the small defenders are inexperienced, the Saints utility would most likely play in defence.

Coach: Xavier Clarke

Clarke has been part of the Richmond coaching staff since the inception of their premiership dynasty. Whilst he has no head coach experience in the AFL, the forwards coach has been coach at NT Thunder, as well as Richmond’s VFL team.

This will give Clarke the opportunity to be head coach at senior level for the first time.

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