Mark Robinson has put together his mid-season 2018 All-Australian team, dominated by Eagles, who boast four players, as reported in The Herald Sun.
As always, there have been some surprise inclusions, and exclusions, with 11 new faces making the cut in Robbo’s lineup, while only six players return from last year’s side.
The back six is sturdy as always, with Alex Rance and Jeremy McGovern holding down the defensive posts. Rory Laird and Sannon Hurn add leadership and poise back there, while newcomers James Sicily and Tom Stewart add run, carry and dash out of the defensive 50.
Tom Phillips, perhaps the most surprising inclusion, earns a spot on the wing, beating out Paul Seedsman and Isaac Smith. Jack Macrae holds down the centre, following his sensational Brownlow-fancy season, and Andrew Gaff occupies the other wing for his second All-Australian cap.
Jack Darling, Josh Caddy and Ben Brown storm into the forward line after breakout campaigns that see them all sit in the top five on the Coleman Medal leaderboard, accompanied by attacking stalwarts Lance Franklin, Dustin Martin and Luke Breust.
Robinson has chosen Brodie Grundy as his ruckman instead of Max Gawn, with Nat Fyfe and Tom Mitchell also playing on the ball.
Trent Cotchin leads a new-look bench, with Clayton Oliver, Patrick Cripps and Jesse Hogan joining him for their maiden All-Australian honour.
Robbo said the bench positions were contested by “about 20 players”, while Cotchin, Hurn, Cripps and Oliver were the leading candidates to captain the side.
Here is Robbo’s side, courtesy of The Herald Sun.
Mark Robinson’s mid-year All Australian side
BACKS: Rory Laird (Adel), Alex Rance (Rich), Tom Stewart (Geel)
HALF-BACKS: Shannon Hurn (WC), Jeremy McGovern (WC), James Sicily (Haw)
CENTRES: Tom Phillips (Coll), Jack Macrae (WB), Andrew Gaff (WC)
HALF-FORWARDS: Jack Darling (WC), Lance Franklin (Syd), Dustin Martin (Rich)
FORWARDS: Josh Caddy (Rich), Ben Brown (NM), Luke Breust (Haw)
RUCKS: Brodie Grundy (Coll), Nat Fyfe (Frem), Tom Mitchell (Haw)
INTERCHANGE: Clayton Oliver (Melb), Trent Cotchin (Rich), Patrick Cripps (Carl), Jesse Hogan (Melb)
Notable exclusions: Max Gawn, Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar, Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Shaun Higgins, Ben Cunnington, Dayne Beams, Bryce Gibbs, Jack Riewoldt, Paul Seedsman, Devon Smith, Stephen Coniglio, Neville Jetta, Robbie Gray, Jake Lloyd.