The Dockers have hit a purple patch of form and Ross Lyon’s men have been rewarded with multiple inclusions into the rolling All-Australian side. One of the changes was born out of the coach’s self-proclaimed “genius” and the other is rewarding a consistent performer who just gets the nod over the week’s half-century man. A key position staple also makes his way back into the team, but enough with the ambiguity, here’s the team.
The last fortnight hasn’t given Punt Rd much to celebrate, but, well, at least Alex Rance re-joins the All-Australian side! I’m sure that’ll turn his frown upside-down. Rance has settled into what made him so dominant in 2016 after coming into the season underdone. Jeremy McGovern makes way for Rance after a poor game against the Bombers that saw him moved forward late in the game.
Dylan Roberton was back to his best after a poor game against the Blues, picking up 32 disposals and a goal against Sydney. Sam Docherty’s ultra-consistency means you can put him down for close to 30 disposals and seven marks most weeks, while Rory Laird is probably the most damaging running defender in the competition right now. Laird helped himself to 37 disposals as the Crows hammered Brisbane. Phil Davis was beaten on the weekend and Elliot Yeo continues to have poor games whenever West Coast underperform, putting them both on the fringe.
On the cusp:
Midfielders that you could get away with on a back flank in Taylor Adams and Jake Lloyd might force their way into the team at some stage with their consistent performances. Lloyd is averaging 30 disposals and a goal this season, but continues to fly under the radar. Similarly, Robbie Tarrant is probably next in line for a key defensive position if one opens up.
With the current crop of midfielders performing and my desire to not have a bench comprised of them, it’s tough to crack into this side. Clayton Oliver loses his spot in the side simply because two guys have probably gone past him in the last fortnight, but picking between Lachie Neale and Tom Mitchell was about as close to a toss of the coin as you’ll see. Despite what critics will say, Mitchell has been arguably Hawthorn’s most important player with his ability to win the contested ball and feed it out to the outside types. Despite that, Neale gets the nod. Neale turned the game around for the Dockers against the Blues on his way to collecting 37 disposals and a crucial goal. Oliver was unlucky to lose his spot, but Neale had to be in this team.
Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane were given a reprieve last week and not bowing to the knee jerk reaction was evidently the right call. Dangerfield had a lazy 36, 12 tackles and kicked four goals. To quote Sandy Roberts, what more can you say? Sloane came up against weaker opposition, but looked like he was able to get through the extra attention on his way to 31 disposals. Zach Merrett is arguably the best midfielder in the competition right now. He gets a lot of the ball and barely wastes a touch. At only 21, he doesn’t get enough credit. Gary Ablett was the first team-member to have a bye and we’ll set the rule now. All players are safe from omission during their week off.
On the cusp:
Obviously, Tom Mitchell is the next midfielder in as already discussed. Josh Kelly continues to put up consistent numbers for the Giants in their depleted midfield and Seb Ross is quickly becoming a midfielder worthy of All-Australian selection. Brodie Grundy did enough to hold his spot, but he’s not too far ahead of Stefan Martin and Ben McEvoy.
A few weeks ago, Ross Lyon moved Michael Walters into the midfield and he took to it like a duck in water. He’s averaged 30 disposals since his move into the midfield, but it was his third quarter where he nailed three goals and put Carlton to the sword that put him in the team ahead of Luke Dahlhaus who’s had a quiet fortnight.
Jeremy Cameron, Josh Kennedy and Taylor Walker kicked 10 goals between them and aren’t going anywhere. Orazio Fantasia and Eddie Betts kicked six between them and are also safe. Toby Greene returned from suspension with an average game which puts him on the fringe and on the bench.
On the cusp:
Footy is a weird world. Joe Daniher is in All-Australian form after essentially being written off by the media a month ago. Ben Brown also has to be mentioned as a player in contention, averaging three goals per game in a side that hasn’t been too successful this year.
FB: Dylan Roberton, Phil Davis, Sam Docherty
HB: Elliot Yeo, Alex Rance, Rory Laird
C: Zach Merrett, Patrick Dangerfield, Marcus Bontempelli
HF: Orazio Fantasia, Jeremy Cameron, Michael Walters
FF: Taylor Walker, Josh Kennedy, Eddie Betts
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Rory Sloane, Dustin Martin
Int: Gary Ablett, Zach Tuohy, Lachie Neale, Toby Greene
Out: Clayton Oliver, Jeremy McGovern, Luke Dahlhaus
On the cusp: Josh Kelly, Tom Mitchell, Stefan Martin, Jake Lloyd, Joe Daniher, Seb Ross, Robbie Tarrant
On the fringe: Zach Tuohy, Toby Greene, Phil Davis, Marcus Bontempelli