With eight points separating 5th and 13th, All Australian spots are hard to fill, with explosive running talents and proven match winners the theme of the mid-season team.
Unsurprisingly 13 of the 22 are filled by the top four sides, with a clear divide from Geelong, GWS, Collingwood and West Coast. A further three spots are filled by the remainder of the top eight, leaving six spots for the bottom 10 sides.
Here is a quick synopsis of why each player is in has been included – with a few notable omissions.
Jake Lloyd: 32.1 average disposals at 83.6% efficiency and 7.3 marks should justify his selection. A beautiful user of the football and seems to be playing as the only consistent defender in the Swans backline.
Mark Blicavs: Arguably the best endurance runner in the game spending more time than any Geelong player on the ground, and he has been immense in the immaculate Geelong Backline. Has the highest disposal efficiency at Geelong at 86.7% and half of his touches are contested.
Tom Stewart: 24.1 disposals a game and 7.4 marks for the best defensive team in the league – seems a given for a back-to-back call up. 8.4 rebound 50’s per game doubles all but one player at Geelong. A key to their success.
Shannon Hurn: Captain of the reigning premiers and captain of the mid-season All Australian team. The ever-green Hurn stacks the statistical resume with 26.0 touches at 87.8%, 7.5 marks and 7.0 rebound 50’s a game. A lock in the team and likely a second jacket coming his was as one of the competition’s best defenders and leaders in the game.
Harris Andrews: The 22-year-old sensation has been instrumental in the rise of the Lions. Kept Harry McKay and the Carlton backline near scoreless on the weekend (first half) and if it wasn’t for Cripps and co was arguably looking at votes. 14.3 touches with just under seven marks a game (mostly contested) sees Andrews starting at CHB.
Luke Ryan: Fremantle has the second best defensive record in the league and Luke Ryan has had a large say in that. 22.8 touches at 83.7% with 5.4 rebound 50’s and almost six marks a game shows his value to that glowing backline and justifies his selection.
Josh Kelly: The silky midfielder is a key part of the GWS juggernaut adding 30+ touches, 4.6 marks, 5.4 clearances, 6.0 tackles and 4.4 inside 50’s per game. His dashing pace as an outside midfielder and ability to move the ball forward to Cameron and Finlayson puts him on the wing.
Nat Fyfe: The hype is real and the former Brownlow medalist is back to his best. Fremantle is rising the better he plays and with nearly 30 touches, 5.3 marks, 5.1 inside 50’s and 7.6 clearances the bull from out west takes his spot at centre.
Andrew Gaff: 32.3 touches, 6.9 marks, 3.9 clearances, 2.6 rebound 50’s and 4.1 inside 50’s. Get over the punch, he’s the best winger in the game.
Brodie Grundy: Despite Gawn getting the better of him on Monday, he’s been outstanding all year. 41.8 hitouts, 20.5 touches and 4.2 tackles… as a RUCK!
Patrick Cripps: A few quiet weeks shouldn’t distract you from where this guy is at. He plays at a 2-10 team, as their star and captain with a hard tag every week, yet still averages 28 disposals at 75% efficiency with 8.3 clearances and 6.4 tackles spending 90.5% time on the ground. Did we mention he manages to find 17 contested possessions a week too? He’s in.
Lachie Neale: Best player on the ground in the first half on the weekend and would’ve had another three votes if not for a hard Curnow tag and the Cripps masterclass. The speedy ball winner takes the final spot in the mid alongside the big bodies. Side note – has had 30+ in seven of 12 games.
Travis Boak: Boak’s having a stellar year and unlucky not to make the midfield. Not quite a flank but he can play forward or in the midfield. With 32 touches, 6.7 clearances, 5.7 tackles and 5.4 inside 50’s and more than a goal every second game shows his value to Port.
Jeremy Cameron: 39 Goals, 7.3 marks, 17 touches. Next…
Tim Kelly: Someone who could play either as a midfielder or forward. Another stellar year in the making for Kelly who has 26.6 touches, 7.0 clearances, 3.8 marks and a goal a game. Taken the pressure off Danger, Ablett and Selwood.
Jordan De Goey: “De Goey… De Goey… DE GOEY”. The aggressive small forward has sorted his off-field stuff out and he is a joy to watch. Best small forward in the game with 25 goals.
Tom Hawkins: The Tomahawk must be in the team. He’s the main piece to Geelong’s high scoring forward line which ranks #1 in the comp. He’s got 35 goals too, get over it he’s in.
Patrick Dangerfield: The all-around star will line up for yet another jacket from the AA selectors. 1.2 goals playing second fiddle, 27 touches and 5.3 clearances helping out in the midfield and contributes 5.9 insides 50’s a game to the Geelong force.
Lachie Whitfield: 28 touches at over 75% efficiency, 10 marks, 3.2 rebound 50’s and 4.2 inside 50’s with a goal per game – classy player.
Max Gawn: 41.5 hitouts and 19 touches for Maxy Gawn. He won the battle on Queen’s Birthday but yet again lost the war. If he kicked all his obvious goals Melbourne could well be top eight but he’s a star.
Stephen Coniglio: Similar to Whitfield, 27.7 touches, 4.5 marks, 5.0 clearances, 4.2 inside 50’s and a goal. GWS are #2 offensively and he’s been dominating most weeks in the midfield to set that up.
Ben Cunnington: More contested possessions than Cripps, as many touches as Fyfe, 89% on the ground and 8.5 clearances a game. If he played at Collingwood/Geelong we’d be talking Brownlow – he’s in.
Five notable omissions who are close but not quite there: M.Walters, R.Henderson, J.Finlayson, A.Treloar, R.Laird.
Zero Hanger’s 2019 mid-season All-Australian team:
B: J. Lloyd (SYD), M. Blicavs (GEEL), T.Stewart (GEEL)
HB: S. Hurn (WC) (captain), H. Andrews (BRIS), L. Ryan (FRE)
M: J.Kelly (GWS), N. Fyfe (FRE), A. Gaff (WCE)
HF: T. Boak (PA), J. Cameron (GWS), T.Kelly (GEEL)
F: J. De Goey (COLL), T. Hawkins (GEEL), P. Dangerfield (GEEL)
R: B.Grundy (COLL), P. Cripps (CARL), L. Neale (BRIS)
I/C: L. Whitfield (GWS), M. Gawn (MELB), S. Coniglio (GWS), B. Cunnington (NM)
Let us know your thoughts and opinions on the team!