My All Australian team half way

Midway through the season, everyone has formed an opinion about who is the best team in the league and who are the best or most improved players in the league. In this mid-season article, I’ll share my All Australian team and the reasons why certain players are both included and omitted!

Defense

FB: Tom Stewart, Steven May, James Sicily
HB: Jayden Short, Jacob Weitering, Jack Sinclair

I thought most positions in the back half were very clear.

Tom Stewart and James Sicily were the first two selected defenders.

Sicily has averaged nine points per game this season (the most in the league), while Stewart has averaged eight (third in league). Sicily also averages eight intercepts per game (sixth most in the league), as well as an average of 23 disposals per game while playing on some of the better key forwards in the league while underperforming.

Stewart averaged nine intercepts a game (the most in the league), while he also averaged 27 disposals a game. They can play both big and small and also offer a lot of offensive rebound which is why they are locks on this team.

Steven May and Jacob Weitering are currently widely accepted as the two best defenders in the league.

Harris Andrews has had a bad year (I think Marcus Adams was better this season) and is therefore out of the game, while Jake Lever hasn’t played enough games and was better in pretty much every stat last season.

Tom McCartin and Marcus Adams were both considered key defenders but the fact that Adams plays the second best striker overall was against him as McCartin remains in a very strong battle and if he maintains his form he will he probably turned the blazer over Jacob Weitering after his unfortunate injury.

Jacob Weitering kicks.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The half back spots were definitely the hardest to pick in the back half. I went with Jayden Short who is having another great season. He averages 27 dives per game, ranks 12th in effective divestments in the league and first in yards won per game.

His long and beautiful kicks, as well as the run he gives, gave him the nod to Daniel Rich, Sam Docherty (still in very strong consideration) and Jordan Dawson.

The same can be said of Jack Sinclair, who takes the other half of the back. He is having his best season of his career, averaging 27 disposals per game, while ranking 20th in total rebound 50s, 10th in yards gained per game, and 14th in effective disposals per game.

I think this defense has a good mix of running and creativity (Sinclair, Short, Stewart) and keeping the ability to beat any forward combination with May, Weitering, Sicily and Stewart helping each other who are either brilliant on one, or brilliant in intercepting forward feeds.

midfield

C: Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps, Bailey Smith
FOL: Max Gawn, Lachie Neale, Clayton Oliver

I thought midfield was the easiest position to pick from this season. This is partly due to the fact that we have some star players who have basically been put on a wing in Sam Walsh and Bailey Smith.

Walsh averages 32 sales per game in another great season, while taking second in undisputed possessions per game, seventh in total effective sales and 15th in total score.

He has been pushed to a wing or to a more external role due to the inner strength of the Blues midfield, but he grabbed the opportunity with both hands and is still one of the best midfielders in the league.

Smith is having the best season of his career, averaging 33 sales per game, while taking sixth in undisputed possession, second in yards gained per game and second in within 50s per game. His running ability sets him apart as a true elite player in all conditions, as does his ability to kick goals and control the territory struggle to control the Bulldogs.

Patrick Cripps, Lachie Neale and Clayton Oliver are direct selections. Oliver averages 34 sales per game and ranks first in clearances per game and second in the 1950s, Neale averages 32 sales per game and ranks first in disputed assets per game and second in clearances , and Cripps averaged 27 sales per game while finishing fifth in clearances per game, as well as kicking 15 goals.

They are clearly the three best midfielders.

Attack

HF: Shai Bolton, Tom Lynch, Zac Bailey
FF: Tyson Stengle, Charlie Curnow, Bayley Fritsch

I thought the two main forward positions were easy enough to select. Charlie Curnow leads the Coleman Medal with 37 goals to his name, while taking third for involvement in total score and fourth for total points contested.

Tom Lynch is fifth in the Coleman with 31 goals (missed last week) and is first in contested points per game, second in goals per game and fifth for points within 50 per game.

The only other two forwards to qualify for this position were Max King, who would have been on the team without his inaccuracy in front of goal, and Tom Hawkins due to the number of goals he concedes. Both players, depending on form, still qualify for the rest of the season.

The small forward and forward flankers were very difficult to select. Bayley Fritsch has scored 25 goals this season and has the ability to play taller than his height, which has been important for team balance.

Shai Bolton averages 18 disposals per game and has kicked 21 goals and is on track for his first blazer as he ranks seventh in total score and 15th in assists per game.

Zac Bailey has on average comparable stats to Bolton – an average of 17 disposals per game while scoring 22 goals. Both players can rotate through midfield (especially Bolton, who is a brilliant player), which was also another reason they were selected.

The other forwards who qualified for this position were Dylan Moore, who has scored 17 goals and averaged 19 disposals per game, Jack Ginnivan (19 goals) and Luke Bruest (19 goals). Dylan Moore is still in a very strong battle for these spots, while it wouldn’t cost much for Bruest and Ginnivan to get ahead of Bolton or Bailey.

Jack Ginnivan (left) and Oliver Henry of the Magpies

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

And the roster of Tyson Stengle (who is arguably the most controversial) was made simply because he is the most traditional small forward to date to have kicked 23 goals. He also ranks 15th per game, therefore conceding goals and attacking without scoring any goals, beating Charlie Cameron to score four more goals.

I/C: Christian Petracca, Jack Macrae, Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Saad

Yes, the big talking point/controversial exclusion is Swan Callum Mills. He’s having a great season, but I think the other three midfielders I’ve picked are just better footballers and do more damage with the ball.

Petracca has averaged 28 goals per game in what is considered a ‘down’ season, as she ranks first in 50s per game, first in goals scored per game, first in total assists and ninth in meters won per game. He is still the most damaging player in the league when he plays well and I think he played well enough to earn a spot in the team.

Jack Macrae does what he does and I think he is the most consistent player in the league. An average of 31 re-sold a game this season and once again uses it incredibly well, ranking second in total effective sales, while also winning the hard ball and taking sixth in total cleanups.

Andrew Brayshaw is part of the most improved team in the league in the Dockers and he led the attack in midfield, averaging 29 disposals per game, while finishing fifth for inside 50s per game and third for undisputed possessions per game .

The controversial roster on the bench will be Adam Saad, who has been outstanding this season. He averages 21 dives per game and ranks first for total bounces (34 free from second best) and 18th for interceptions per game.

His run and carry are clearly the best in the league for his pace and his one-on-one work has gotten much better this season. He can play on a wing or halfback when needed, allowing players like Sicily and Short to take to the ground and is the ultimate tool at the moment.

There were a lot of players qualifying for a spot on the bench who were unlucky enough to miss and still be able to squeeze their way in.

Darcy Parish was the unhappiest of them all, I thought, as was Callum Mills. George Hewett is having a hugely underrated season and was considered, as was Travis Boak who is having another great season. Dylan Moore, Tom Hawkins and Jordan De Goey also all qualified for the last two spots on the bench and could easily see themselves on the team at the end of the season.

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