Mid-season AFL All-Australian Team:
B: S.Thompson (NM) J.Carlisle (ESS) R.Douglas (ADE)
HB: G.Birchall (HAW) H.Taylor (GEE) M.Hibberd (ESS)
C: M.Barlow (FRE) J.Watson (ESS) S.Pendlebury (COLL)
HF: L.Thomas (NM) N.Riewoldt (ST.K) P.Dangerfield (ADE)
F: J.Garlett (CAR) J.Kennedy (WCE) Walters (FRE)
R: W.Minson (WB) G.Ablett (GC) S.Mitchell (HAW)
INT: L.Breust (HAW) J.McVeigh (SYD) D.Hannebury (SYD) K.Cornes (PTA)
Teams Represented Most:
3 Players – HAW, ESS
2 Players – NM, ADE, SYD, FRE
1 Player – GEEL, WCE, CARL, GC, COLL, ST.K, WB, PTA
S.Thompson: The tough nut has won many over this season, consistently performing against the key forwards of the competition whilst displaying a more versatile offensive side to his game, averaging career-highs in disposals, marks and rebound 50’s. Is invaluable to his teams chances of pushing for an improved second-half to the season and a finals spot.
J.Carlisle: Has been one of the big improvers of the competition and has drawn much praise from various outlets of the media for his string of strong defensive displays against star-studded opponents. Tipped to play further forward after showing great potential in cameo appearances this season, Carlisle may be the Bomber to lead his club to a top 4 finish. It appears that Essendon have finally found a replacement for the everlasting Dustin Fletcher.
R.Douglas: Currently leads all players in the contentious Player Ratings for this season alone and has snuck under the radar at Adelaide for a long time. Averaging career highs across the board, Douglas has been one of the shining lights for Adelaide in an up and down season.
G.Birchall: Many tipped Birchall’s effectiveness to be hindered with the season-ending injury to Suckling, however the Hawk has produced strongly across the backline, averaging 25 disposals and 4 rebound 50’s per game. One of the best users of the ball and is a huge piece of one of the game’s strongest back six. When tagged his numbers may dwindle but this allows both Hodge and Mitchell the freedom they need to dominate a match. A true team player.
Taylor: Like Carlisle, Taylor has shown the ability to go forward this year however it is across half back that the Cat is most valuable. Is extremely effective in nullifying the games key forwards in the air and across the ground and has also average strong offensive numbers including an average of 8 marks and 17 disposals per game.
M.Hibberd: Possessing a booming kick and stronger body than shown last campaign, Hibberd is rarely beaten in one-on-ones. He has been superb in an improving bombers back-line and has allowed Heppell and Carlisle to shift into the midfield and forward respectively. Can comfortably hold is own as a leader in one of the competition’s elite sides.
Apologies: N.Malceski (SYD), P.Hanley (BL), A.Walker (CARL), T.Lonergan (GEEL)
Barlow: Continues to do a superb job within the Dockers midfield, averaging 26 disposals and 7 tackles per game. A consistent yet unheralded performer.
Watson: The reigning Brownlow medalist has quietly maintained strong stats all across the board, despite often copping a hard tag. Possesses the best hands in the game at stoppages.
Pendlebury: Smooth mover Pendlebury is the architect behind Collingwood’s attacks averaging plenty of the ball (28 touches) and using his touches at a high efficiency. Has lifted even further in a leadership capacity this season and is in the prime of his career.
Ablett: Gary jnr. continues to dazzle the competition with absurd video game-like numbers (32 disposals per game and 15 goals) as well as a plethora of youtube highlights. Is deservedly the front-runner for a 2nd Brownlow medal this season in a much improved Suns squad. Enjoy watching the little master while he is in incomparable form.
Mitchell: The consistent Hawk is averaging over 30 disposals a game, the second-highest of his career. At 30 years old and with plenty of knocks, he is showing no signs of slowing down. Despite gaining plenty of the ball behind the play, Mitchell remains one of the competitions best stoppage players.
Apologies: K.Jack (SYD), J.Kennedy (SYD), R.Sloane (ADE), T.Boak (PTA), R.Griffen (WB)
Minson: Has had his most consistent season for the Dogs, providing a strong contest in the air (#1 for hitouts at 42 per game) and at ground level. Paired with Griffen, Minson forms one of the strongest midfield Ruck-Rover duos in the league and is one of the main reasons why the Bulldogs are one of the premier stoppage teams this year.
Apologies: T.Goldstein (NM), M.Pyke (SYD)
Thomas: Currently leads the competition with 35 goals to his name whilst averaging a career-high 18 disposals. Has owned the half forward line this season and is converting from set shots at a much higher rate. No signs of the yips that cost him accolades in previous seasons.
N.Riewoldt: Despite the Saints’ poor season, Riewoldt has been remarkable, singlehandedly keeping the team afloat at times with his improved goal kicking and inspiring work rate. A unanimous choice for CHF. His performance against the Swans was sublime.
Dangerfield: Dangerfield’s presence within the forward 50 in the absence of Taylor Walker has been a revelation, with 17 goals to his name so far and a number of assists. Great defensive work and quickness makes him a nightmare for defenders. His position flexibility and power within stoppages has turned matches on their head.
Garlett: A return of 27 goals so far makes him the second best small forward in the competition. Has provided remarkable run and tackling for the blues across the ground. One of the many Blues to improve significantly under Malthouse.
Kennedy: Averages the most goals per game of any player in the competition and has provided a strong marking target for the eagles all season long. The most consistent player of the eagles’ star-studded forward line… even with the stutter.
Walters: Looms as one of the success stories of 2013, as he has flourished this season as a small forward under Ross Lyon with 19 goals to his name. Rewarded with a lucrative contract just a matter of weeks into the season, even when injured.
Apologies: M.Stokes (GEE), T.Cloke (COLL), J.Riewoldt (RICH)
Breust: With another 20 goals to his name already, Breust remains one of the most underrated players in the competition who plays alongside much more heralded stars. Is one of the benchmarks of forward pressure and provides arguably the most consistent performances, week-in week-out, of any forward in the competition.
McVeigh: Continues to get better with age and appears to be flourishing with the development of the Swans young guns in the midfield. Along with averaging 26 disposals per game and great defensive statistics, it is the 12 goals McVeigh has scored this season that puts him in this team as one of the most offensively damaging midfielders. Happy to fill any role asked of him.
Hannebury: Similar to McVeigh with 13 goals to his name playing predominately as a midfielder, averaging a whopping 28 disposals per game. Along with Jack and Kennedy, is the reason why Swans fans can boast that they possess the most exciting and promising midfielders, despite already owning one of the deepest ones in the league. Currently 2nd favourite for the Brownlow behind Ablett. Can he maintain the rage though?
K.Cornes: Despite many of his team-mates understandably dropping in form from their honeymoon 5-0 start to the season, Cornes has been the most consistent power player defying his age to average 28 disposals and 5 tackles per game. Sets a great example for the younger players and is showing that he still has plenty left as one of the games most consistent midfielders.