It’s a quiet week on the All-Australian front with only one change coming from round 10. A number of players probably warranted omission, but I’m in a forgiving mood this week. The bye rounds are rolling in and they’ll probably play havoc with the team, so the axe has been put away this week.
The backline has been pretty solid this season and it was so again on the weekend. Sam Docherty, Dylan Roberton, Rory Laird, Zach Tuohy and Elliot Yeo seem pretty settled as the top few running defenders in the competition right now. Phil Davis is on the fringe after a poor game against the Eagles and Alex Rance comfortably handled Cale Hooker.
On the cusp:
Robbie Tarrant continues to put his hand up as the next key defensive option in the side and Rory Atkins had another high disposal game for the Crows. Could we see three Rorys in this team at some stage? Jason Johannisen is also in the mix after another statistically strong game.
Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane continue to show how idiotic it would’ve been to omit them after two poor games, finishing with 54 disposals and four goals between them. Zach Merrett’s influence was restricted by a tagger, but he’s done more than enough to earn a bad game or two. Marcus Bontempelli was on the fringe last week and while he didn’t set the house on fire, five shots on goal buys him another week, even if he only kicked the one goal. Dustin Martin was arguably best on ground in the Dreamtime game and Lachie Neale will be given another week after his side had a shocker. Gary Ablett will also hold his spot for one more week. He’s going to need an old-school Ablett special to survive next week though.
On the cusp:
The two names that continue to push for selection are Tom Mitchell, who will probably replace Ablett next week, and Josh Kelly, who had 29 disposals on the weekend. Joel Selwood is also in contention too and it could simply come down to who has the best game next week.
Our one change this week involves a player who was part of a 100-point win, surprisingly. Taylor Walker hasn’t had too many bad games, but it was impossible to deny Joe Daniher a spot in the side any longer. Daniher has been in unstoppable form, kicking 29 goals for the year and impacting around the ground.
Toby Greene was close to dropping out last week, but once again he’s repaid the faith and will be tough to dislodge from that forward flank. Orazio Fantasia had a quieter game statistically, but still had a big impact on the Bombers’ performance on Saturday night. Eddie Betts feasted on a hapless Fremantle, while opponent Michael Walters had an absolute stinker. Walters will be given another chance though as he just entered the team. Josh Kennedy went down with what looked like a serious injury against the Giants, but did enough to retain his spot to that point. He’ll obviously come out next week if he’s on the shelf for a prolonged period.
On the cusp:
Lance Franklin is the clear favourite to take Kennedy’s spot should it open up. The Sydney superstar pulled out all of the stops for Indigenous Round, kicking five goals. Dayne Zorko has had a strong month after being dropped from the All Australian team and would fit in nicely on the half forward flank. Jeff Garlett has quietly kicked 25 goals for the year too and could sneak into Fantasia’s spot at some stage.
FB: Dylan Roberton, Phil Davis, Elliot Yeo
HB: Sam Docherty, Alex Rance, Rory Laird
C: Zach Merrett, Patrick Dangerfield, Marcus Bontempelli
HF: Orazio Fantasia, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Joe Daniher, Josh Kennedy, Eddie Betts
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Rory Sloane, Dustin Martin
Int: Zach Tuohy, Lachie Neale, Michael Walters, Gary Ablett
Out: Taylor Walker
On the cusp: Tom Mitchell, Stefan Martin, Joel Selwood, Robbie Tarrant, Dayne Zorko, Rory Atkins, Lance Franklin
On the fringe: Phil Davis, Marcus Bontempelli, Lachie Neale, Michael Walters, Gary Ablett