MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: Zach Merrett of the Bombers is tackled by Nakia Cockatoo of the Cats during the round four AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

2016 All-Australian nominations: The unlucky ones

The AFL yesterday announced the 40 players have now been nominated for the 2016 All-Australian team. But what about those who were stiff to miss out?

Let’s have a look at the players we think should have been named in the 40-man preliminary squad.

Zach Merrett (Essendon)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: Zach Merrett of the Bombers is tackled by Nakia Cockatoo of the Cats during the round four AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 16: Zach Merrett of the Bombers is tackled by Nakia Cockatoo of the Cats during the round four AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The 20-year old midfielder has had a sensational season in what has been a difficult year for the club on and off the field. He played every game bar one and averaged 29.9 disposals, sixth in the league in this category. He was also the fifth most effective ball user in the competition.

Merrett also became the second youngster captain of the Bombers since Tim Watson in 1982 when he led the side out against the Suns in he absence of Brendon Goddard. He finished with a career-high 38 disposals that day, capping off a wonderful year. Clearly a future leader of the club, Merrett contacted Geelong’s Joel Selwood for advice before his captaincy debut and there is no one better to learn from.

Just because the team as whole had a bad year, it should not discount Merrett from selection. I would have him in instead of Carlton’s Kade Simpson.

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