We’ve reached the half-way point of the season and that means it’s time to finalise our mid-year All-Australian team based on the week to week rolling side. Many were spared from the axe last round, but no mercy will be shown here. A few are unlucky to drop out, but given it’s the mid-year team, it’s time to call the 50-50 splits and determine some of the key positions on the ground and pick our coach of the year to this point.
Only one change down back as a man who’s deserved All-Australian honours for a long time jumps into the team at full back. Robbie Tarrant consistently beats his opponents, rarely conceding a bag of goals. Phil Davis loses his spot after an average fortnight. The Essendon tall forwards got the better of GWS and Kennedy got a hold of Davis last week.
Zach Tuohy and Elliot Yeo continued to control their respective side’s play out of defence, gathering 27 and 22 disposals respectively. Yeo made up for his lack of touches with three goals. Rory Laird had a quiet game, but copped a heavy knock early in the game and has done more than enough to secure his spot.
There isn’t much more Michael Hurley could do to get a spot in the team, but Tarrant and Alex Rance will probably hold down the key defensive posts for a while. The question will be whether Hurley should get a spot ahead of one of the smaller defenders. Jeremy Howe is also another case of there just not being a spot for him in the side.
Josh Kelly has deserved a spot in this team all year, but it’s been a case of no one deserving to lose their spot. Lachie Neale therefore chose a poor time to put a couple of poor games together and loses his spot. Joel Selwood has also forced his way into the team, averaging 29 disposals and dominating teams out of centre stoppages. He’s stood up in big moments for the Cats in their games against top sides over the last few weeks. A forward loses their spot for the Geelong skipper.
Gary Ablett’s first half against the Eagles set up Gold Coast’s upset win, while Patrick Dangerfield is back in red-hot form at the Cattery. Zach Merrett and Dustin Martin were once again their side’s best players and Rory Sloane had a poor game, but has done enough this year to hold his spot. Brodie Grundy didn’t have to face Aaron Sandilands this week, but another high disposal game while remaining influential in the ruck keeps Sam Jacobs at bay.
Tom Mitchell is very unlucky to not make this side. He’ll be the one taking Sloane’s spot if his form doesn’t improve. Jacobs and Stefan Martin continue to put their hands up for the ruck position, but Grundy hasn’t done anything to deserve dropping. Tom Scully gets the job done every week too and is around the mark if a spot ever opens up.
Michael Walters got a spot in the team thanks to three weeks of midfield work, but that was clearly a knee jerk reaction and he comes out for Selwood. Dayne Zorko regains his spot in the team despite Brisbane’s bye as his year just couldn’t be denied. Though he’s a midfielder, Toby Greene and Eddie Betts hold down the small forward spots, which unfortunately means Orazio Fantasia unfairly loses his spot. Zorko has had a fantastic month, averaging 27 disposals and kicking five goals.
Jeremy Cameron was beaten by Hurley, but has certainly done enough to keep his spot. On top of that, Josh Kennedy is set to miss three weeks, meaning if anyone is losing their spot, it’s him. Kennedy remains however because no one else outside of the team has surpassed him to this point. It was a poor week for key forwards as Joe Daniher also only kicked the one. Betts also underperformed, kicking one goal and being well contained by the Geelong backline. Thankfully, Greene stood up for the team and kicked three goals.
On the cusp:
Fantasia will probably regain his spot if an opening appears, but Jeff Garlett is also knocking on the door after a strong year. A few quiet weeks have hurt Ben Brown’s chances of overtaking Kennedy, meaning it’ll probably be Lance Franklin who gets the spot after his bye.
FB: Zach Tuohy, Robbie Tarrant, Elliot Yeo
HB: Sam Docherty, Alex Rance, Rory Laird
C: Zach Merrett, Patrick Dangerfield, Josh Kelly
HF: Dayne Zorko, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Joe Daniher, Josh Kennedy, Eddie Betts
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Gary Ablett, Dustin Martin
Int: Dylan Roberton, Rory Sloane, Marcus Bontempelli, Joel Selwood
Out: Phil Davis, Michael Walters, Lachie Neale, Orazio Fantasia, Brodie Grundy
On the cusp: Michael Hurley, Jeremy Howe, Sam Jacobs, Tom Mitchell, Lance Franklin
On the fringe: Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Kennedy, Rory Sloane