The All Australian team was announced at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda on Wednesday night and there more than a few shocked faces in the audience when the captain was revealed. The Richmond Tigers’ Alex Rance was appointed the prestigious position and was picked in the team for the fourth consecutive year.
Considering he’s not the captain of Richmond you could understand why people were a little bit confused that he would be the captain of the AAT. Rance said that he was a bit embarrassed to be selected as the skipper with so many other amazing players up there with him.
But there was no denying the star defender’s effort and brilliance this season as he helped guide the Tigers to a top four finish and the finals. His powerful style of play has been a massive part in the Melbourne-based club’s continuing rise in 2017, and he has undoubtedly deserved the honour of the captaincy.
The Coleman Medal went to Sydney’s Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin after pipping West Coast’s Josh Kennedy on the last match day of the season. Franklin was five goals behind the Eagles’ forward heading into round 23 but a humongous 138-57 point win for the Swans against Carlton gave Buddy the chance to kick a staggering ten goals and claim the coveted award over Kennedy, who could only manage one goal against Adelaide. It was also Franklin’s seventh AAT title and he now equals Wayne Carey and Nathan Buckley in second place for the most All-Australian jumpers.
This kind of form from the Swans’ powerhouse that we have somewhat become accustomed to recently is why Sydney has become the real threat to win the Grand Final. If you had a punt on them after their horrendous start to the season, you would be laughing all the way to the bank come the end of September. Now, people might be looking to some of the matched betting offers in Australia to maximize their winnings if they are going to back this incredible team, which is moving like a freight train towards the trophy.
The team that is looking the most likely to stop the Swans now are the Minor Premiers, Adelaide. They were certainly not forgotten on the night, and equaled West Coast for the most representatives from one club, with both teams having three players selected. The Crows’ Eddie Betts and Rory Laird made the starting line-up while Matt Crouch earned himself a place on the bench.
For the Eagles, it was Jeremy McGovern at the back with Josh Kennedy grabbing a place in the forward line as well as the Vice-Captaincy. West Coast’s young utility Elliot Yeo, also snagged himself a place on the interchange and his first All-Australian jacket.
There were six clubs that didn’t have any inclusions in the team. They were Gold Coast, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne, Collingwood and Fremantle.
Full 2017 All-Australian team
B: Alex Rance-C (Rich), Michael Hibberd (Melb), Jeremy McGovern (WCE)
HB: Sam Docherty (Carl), Michael Hurley (Ess), Rory Laird (Adel)
C: Josh Kelly (GWS), Dustin Martin (Rich), Zach Merrett (Ess)
HF: Lance Franklin (Syd), Robbie Gray (Port), Dayne Zorko (Bris)
F: Joe Daniher (Ess), Eddie Betts (Adel), Josh Kennedy-VC (WCE)
FOLL: Paddy Ryder (Port), Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) Tom Mitchell (Haw)
I/C: Matt Crouch (Adel), Elliot Yeo (WCE), Joel Selwood (Geel), Dylan Shiel (GWS)