We took a hiatus from the rolling All-Australian side last week simply because no changes needed to be made, but round 16 has opened the door for three newcomers to the side at the expense of some of the biggest names in the competition. Line by line, here’s the team:
Neville Jetta’s stellar 2017 has been rewarded with a spot in the back pocket of the side. Jetta’s performance on the weekend in particular was vital to Melbourne getting over the line against the Blues. The team also lacks a lockdown small defender and so Zach Tuohy makes way. Tuohy has had a great year, but sits behind the others in the team.
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood has had an unfortunate three weeks. Selwood was knocked out in the opening minutes against the Dockers, missed the next game and then was quiet against the Lions on the weekend. With the race for midfield spots so hotly contested, mainly because this team only allows two midfielders on the bench, it’s enough for Joel to lose his spot. Tom Mitchell finally gets his chance in the team – a spot he probably deserved months ago. Mitchell has had 56 more disposals than any other player this season which is extraordinary. On top of that, Scott Pendlebury has been omitted from the team after a poor fortnight. The Collingwood captain has copped some attention and has fallen below the other midfielders in the side. Dayne Zorko moves up to the wing after his four goals and 36 disposals.
Fremantle small forward turned midfielder Michael Walters has already had a stint in the team after three weeks of electric form earlier in the year, but dropped out after a few quieter games. He’s recaptured his best form in the last fortnight and has earned his spot back in the side. The question will be whether he can keep his form there all season. Toby Greene has missed a fortnight of footy, Robbie Gray still struggles against the best teams and Eddie Betts’ output has dropped recently. The forward line positions are wide open heading into the final few months of the season.
FB: Neville Jetta, Michael Hurley, Elliot Yeo
HB: Sam Docherty, Alex Rance, Rory Laird
C: Zach Merrett, Patrick Dangerfield, Dayne Zorko
HF: Michael Walters, Lance Franklin, Robbie Gray
FF: Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron, Eddie Betts
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Josh Kelly, Dustin Martin
Int: Jeremy Howe, Joe Daniher, Gary Ablett, Tom Mitchell
Out: Zach Tuohy, Joel Selwood, Scott Pendlebury
On the cusp: Joel Selwood, Sebastian Ross, Mitch Duncan, Paddy Ryder, Jon Patton, Brad Ebert, Zach Tuohy