Star Richmond premiership defenders Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin both missed selection in this year’s All-Australian team, with last year’s Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe and Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury also surprise omissions from the team.
Remarkably Vlastuin, regarded as one of the game's elite defenders, has never been an All-Australian while Grimes was All-Australian last year and proved his value in his return game from injury when he was best on ground against Geelong.
All-Australian captain Patrick Dangerfield.Credit:Getty Images
Geelong, Port Adelaide, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs each had three players picked in the team that had 11 clubs represented. Last year's premier and flag favourite Richmond had just one – Dustin Martin.
Cats star Patrick Dangerfield has been an All-Australian in more years than he has not after he was named All-Australian for an eighth time in his 13th AFL season. It was his sixth successive All-Australian as a half-forward. He was also named captain.
Travis Boak is no longer Port Adelaide captain but his outstanding season was recognised with selection as the All-Australian vice-captain. He was named in the centre.
Twelve players in the team had never been All-Australian before.
Richmond’s Dylan Grimes missed out on a spot in the team of the year.Credit:Getty Images
Collingwood's Brayden Maynard, who had been another popular choice in defence, also missed the hotly contested positions in the backline for the All-Australian team.
The selectors went for Port Adelaide’s Darcy Byrne-Jones, Greater Western Sydney's Nick Haynes, Fremantle's Luke Ryan and West Coast's Brad Sheppard for the medium and small defender roles.
Collingwood’s Darcy Moore and the Brisbane Lions' star full-back Harris Andrews were named as the two key defenders edging out Carlton’s Jacob Weitering and Port Adelaide’s Tom Jonas.
Brownlow favourites Christian Petracca (from Melbourne) and the Brisbane Lions' Lachie Neale were named the rover and ruck-rover for the representative side of the year.
Small forwards Swan Tom Papley and St Kilda’s Dan Butler both missed out as the selectors again opted in the All-Australian team to pick players in positions that they seldom play in matches. St Kilda recruit Butler kicked 27 goals in the home-and-away season, which was the most of any non-key forward. Papley was next with 26, while West Coast's Liam Ryan kicked 25.
Stars Marcus Bontempelli, Dustin Martin, Dangerfield and Ryan were the four small/medium forwards. Only Ryan played all year as a permanent small forward.
Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins and Port’s Charlie Dixon picked themselves in the key forward posts.
Geelong's Cam Guthrie and the Bulldogs' Jack Macrae were named on the wings ahead of the Lions' Hugh McLuggage and the Cats' Sam Menegola.
West Coast's Nic Naitanui was picked as the first ruck, eight years after his one and only other All-Australian selection. He was chosen ahead of Melbourne’s Max Gawn who was named on the bench as the second ruck in his fourth All-Australian selection.
Collingwood’s Taylor Adams, St Kilda’s Jack Steele, and Bulldog Caleb Daniel were all also on the bench.
The All-Australian team is chosen by a panel comprising of AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan (chairman), Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Steve Hocking, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson and Warren Tredrea.
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