MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Dustin Martin of the Tigers celebrates on the final siren during the 2018 AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 06, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

A team made up of the biggest All Australian snubs this season, including those who received a squad nomination and some who weren’t even recognised in the original 40.

These players deserve recognition for stellar seasons in what was one of the toughest All Australian selections yet.

Starting off the snubbed side is a hint of Western Sydney. Down back Zac Williams and Lachie Whitfield were the prime movers for their team. The latter couldn’t back up his maiden All-Australian last year, but we saw a more versatile Whitfield played all over the ground this season. He collected over 40 disposals and 12 marks twice this year.

Williams put an injury-riddled 2018 behind him to return to AA form, averaging a career-high 24 possessions per game with 18 kicks – not bad for a bloke once selected at pick No. 95!

There’s also Stephen Coniglio and Josh Kelly, who despite playing minimal games filled the stat-sheet every-time they played – arguably two of the best midfielders in the competition.

Our key backs in Robbie Tarrant and Mark Blicavs are two guys who are rated highly at their own clubs, yet just fell behind both Harris Andrews and Jeremy McGovern. Tarrant has been a warrior for North, and shut down some key players which he made a career of. For Blicavs, the backline was uncharted territories until he made it his own – he’s won two club best and fairest, a third is within arms reach.

James Sicily and Nick Vlastuin are two guys you’d back in any contest, and they round out a stable backline. The Hawthorn swingman perfected the art of intercept marking and rebound 50, his ball use is a cut-above several defenders.

With teammates Dylan Grimes and Bachar Houli receiving maiden AA jackets, Vlastuin can consider himself a tad stiff. He’s never been a big ball-winner, but nine games above 20 disposals with plenty of intercepts gives him the nod.

Roaming the wings, the two players who dominated their position this season in Hugh McCluggage and Andrew Gaff. While Gaff was named here in the 2018 AA team, McCluggage is one who has provided us with exciting potential. Already likened to Lions legend Simon Black, the 21-year-old has the potential to be an AA winger for many years to come.

A second-placed finish in the Coleman helped Ben Brown to a walk-up start, and 54 goals from Tom Lynch in his first season at Punt Road seemed unlikely for him after a slow start. Gary Ablett is the only real small forward selected, but we couldn’t go past Dustin Martin and Lions captain Dayne Zorko for their forward craft, the latter of which we named skipper of this team.

Martin was a barometer for his side, playing his best footy during Richmond’s win streak, while Zorko ranked first in the competition for inside 50’s and tackles, to lead Brisbane up the ladder.

Jarrod Witts filled a spot that could be well-argued, but playing for one of the lower teams far away from the bubble meant Witts wasn’t noticed for his career-best year. We see you big man.

The Suns captain will have two prime movers to hit the ball to, with Bulldogs Josh Dunkley and Collingwood’s Adam Treloar filling out the midfield. Both players posted several big-possession games, but what stood out for them was their ability to shift a game with defensive efforts and goal-kicking.

For the interchange, it was easy to recognise endurance king Brad Hill, inside bulls Dion Prestia and Ben Cunnington as well as super-boot Daniel Rich for their stellar seasons.


Zero Hanger’s All Australian snubbed team for season 2019

B: Nick Vlastuin (Rich), Mark Blicavs (Gee), James Sicily (Haw)

HB: Zac Williams (GWS), Robbie Tarrant (NM), Lachie Whitfield (GWS)

C: Hugh McCluggage (BL), Josh Kelly (GWS), Andrew Gaff (WC)

HF: Stephen Coniglio (GWS), Tom Lynch (Rich), Dayne Zorko (c) (BL)

F: Gary Ablett (vc) (Gee), Ben Brown (NM), Dustin Martin (Rich)

R: Jarrod Witts (GC), Josh Dunkley (WB), Adam Treloar (Coll)

I/C: Brad Hill (Frem), Dion Prestia (Rich, Ben Cunnington (NM), Daniel Rich (BL)