A few years ago, Western Bulldogs champion Robert Murphy decided to create a team of players that he loves to watch. And now, he’s written out a 2019 version in The Age.
Not an All-Australian team, just exciting players that he would ‘pay’ to watch.
Murphy has recognised some players who may be deemed just short of the best in the game or those with passion and endeavour and play the game in the right manner.
“Pick a team. People get upset. So here goes, my updated version of favourites,” he wrote.
The back six consists of speedsters Zach Tuohy, Adam Saad and Zac Williams as well as veteran Kade Simpson and up-and-coming defenders Harris Andrews and Darcy Moore.
As Murphy says, these players aren’t necessarily the best in regards of All-Australian honours and B&F wins, but they provide speed and dare off the half-back, intercept marking and courage on the last lines of defence.
You can’t help but be impressed with Moore and Andrews’ progress in such little time, especially as they come up against the best forwards in the game. You can’t help but notice the sheer endeavour and commitment Simpson plays the game. And you can’t help but notice the speed and elite ball-use Tuohy, Saad and Williams provide to their respective teams.
The midfield comprises of bullish players Patrick Cripps and Mitch Robinson alongside elite users Lachie Whitfield and Hugh McCluggage as well as clutch player Luke Shuey and Matthew Kreuzer in the ruck.
Cripps is no surprise as any footy fan loves watching the way he goes about things. Whitfield and McCluggage are starting to find their feet at this level and excelling with their spread from the contests and finishing skills. Revived ex-Blue Robinson oozes hard work and dedication as he plays every game like it’s his last.
Shuey is one of the most underrated midfielders of the competition and doesn’t receive enough recognition. Kreuzer, despite his injuries, continues to show glimpses of why he was the first pick in the 2007 draft when he’s out there on the park, with his athleticism and agility for a big man.
The forward line displays some of the most exciting and riveting talent the AFL has to offer. It is filled with plenty of speed, goals and match-winning ability as we have seen many times this year so far.
Collingwood duo Will Hoskin-Elliott and Jaidyn Stephenson both bring headaches to defenders as their genuine speed and goal-kicking sense prove to trouble teams.
Michael ‘Sonny’ Walters’ passion for the game is second-to-none, which can be seen out there on the field, especially when he’s come up clutch twice this year. Josh Kennedy (WCE) continues to notch up big bags of goals, including double-digit hauls multiple times in his career.
Lance Franklin is deemed one of the best forwards to have ever played the game, as is Eddie Betts, who is arguably the best small forward of all time.
The team created by Murphy are players that make the game what it is and the reason why arenas get filled up.
The joy, excitement and passion they bring to the game only makes the experience of following our great game more enjoyable.
Here is Murphy’s team of favourites, courtesy of The Age:
B: Zach Tuohy (Gee), Harris Andrews (BL), Adam Saad
HB: Kade Simpson (Car), Darcy Moore (Coll), Zac Williams (GWS)
C: Lachie Whitfield (GWS), Patrick Cripps (Car), Hugh McCluggage (BL)
HF: Will Hoskin-Elliott (Coll), Lance Franklin (Syd), Jaidyn Stephenson (Coll)
F: Eddie Betts (Ade), Josh Kennedy (WC), Michael Walters (Fre)
Foll: Matthew Kruezer (Car), Mitch Robinson (BL), Luke Shuey (WC)