New All-Australian selector Kane Cornes has doubled down on his panel's decision to include Port Adelaide midfielder Connor Rozee in 2022's All-Australian team.
The 22-year-old South Australian had arguably his best season yet for the Power despite his side's mediocre year, however, fans on social media were quick to question his inclusion in the All-Australian best-22 over other candidates.
Many attributed the inclusion to the presence of Cornes on the panel and his allegiances to his former club despite the youngster finishing in the top five for the AFLCA's Champion of the Year award.
However, Cornes has defended the stance of the panel on SEN, claiming that the call was a combined one from the panel.
“Rozee picked himself. Once again, unanimous really in the end,” he said on Thursday morning.
“Top five in the Coaches’ Award, more votes than anyone since he moved onball against Carlton in round five in that second half.
Connor Rozee made AA. Let me guess, Kane Cornes was on the panel?
— Nick Guglielmino (@NickGug_) August 24, 2022
“I was thrilled for him honestly. He was challenged by his own teammates at the start of the year to be tougher and more resilient, to be better in the contest.
“He did that and to finish top five in the coaches award, he essentially picked himself.”
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The likes of Hawks defender James Sicily, Blues midfielder Sam Walsh and Crow Rory Laird all missed the cut on the 22-man squad, causing a stir on social media as the squad has for the past few years.
The non-selection of the former in Sicily was particularly puzzling to plenty of punters, with the 27-year-old putting in an incredible campaign only to get snubbed.
James Sicily got absolutely hosed.
— Ashley Browne (@hashbrowne) August 24, 2022
There’s always a stiff AA omission but James Sicily is an absolute howler.
— Joshua Dawe (@joshuadawe9) August 24, 2022
Umm....where is James Sicily? #allaustralian
— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) August 24, 2022
Despite the exclusion, Cornes remained steadfast on the panel's choices.
“I’m happy to take your calls and feedback on it. I don’t really care, I thought it was an amazing team, I thought it was a brilliant team and I’m really happy with how it landed," he said.
The All-Australian side was announced on Wednesday night, with Cats key forward Tom Hawkins taking up the captaincy whilst bullish midfielder Patrick Cripps was made vice-captain.
Elsewhere, Touk Miller and Clayton Oliver tied for the AFLCA Champion of the Year whilst Lions star Lachie Neale and Dees livewire Christian Petracca came third and fourth respectively.
The Cats were the main contributors to the side, with five of their stars claiming an All-Australian blazer including new recruit Tyson Stengle, who a year ago was playing in the SANFL without an AFL side to his name.