The Herald Sun’s Mark Robinson has made some big calls in the unveiling of his 2018 All-Australian team.
Collingwood’s Nathan Buckley has been named coach of the side due to the Pies’ meteoric rise this season while suffering the worst injury toll in the AFL.
Robinson deliberated hard over the starting ruck role between Melbourne’s Max Gawn and Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy.
He ultimately went with Demons big man because “Gawn takes more intercept marks (1.8 to 0.6), wins hitouts to advantage (16.3 to 12.5), kicked more scores (10.11 to 8.8), had more score involvements (6.6 to 6.1) and launched more scores (3.9 to 3.4)”.
Grundy earned a position on the bench, breaking the traditional rule of only having one ruckman in the team.
Robinson’s most surprising selection may be Power defend Tom Jonas, beating out Hawthorn’s Ben Stratton, Sydney’s Jake Lloyd (another running defender), Tom Stewart from Geelong, Richmond’s Dylan Grimes and Collingwood’s Jeremy Howe.
Robinson gave Jonas the nod because he “defends strongly and is powerful overhead.”
His midfield is as solid as a rock, with Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell and Richmond’s Dustin Martin joining Gawn as the onballers, and Bulldog Jack Macrae, Eagle Andrew Gaff and Blue Patrick Cripps occupying the centre.
North Melbourne’s Ben Brown is probably the unluckiest player to miss out on selection, with Robinson opting for Sydney’s Lance Franklin and Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt through his forward line spine, and even Geelong’s Tom Hawkins earning a spot in the pocket.
Robinson’s 2018 All-Australian team
B: Rory Laird (ADE), Alex Rance (RIC), Tom Jonas (PTA)
HB: Lachie Whitfield (GWS), Jeremy McGovern (WCE), Shannon Hurn (WCE)
C: Jack Macrae (WB), Patrick Cripps (CAR), Andrew Gaff (WCE)
HF: Jack Gunston (HAW), Lance Franklin (SYD), Patrick Dangerfield (GEE)
F: Tom Hawkins (GEE), Jack Riewoldt (RIC), Luke Breust (HAW)
Fol: Max Gawn (MEL), Dustin Martin (RIC), Tom Mitchell (HAW)
IC: Brodie Grundy (COL), Clayton Oliver (MEL), Shaun Higgins (NM), Elliott Yeo (WCE)
Coach: Nathan Buckley (COLL)