Zero Hanger’s Rolling All-Australian side – Round 23
IN: Dylan Grimes, Elliot Yeo, Zac Williams
Coming into the side this week in place of premiership Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern is Dylan Grimes, a player who has carried extra tasks this season and lived up to the ‘underrated’ hype.
If you’re picking a team based on stats, McGovern gets a serious look in, but we shouldn’t be quick to brush past the work Grimes is doing with Alex Rance not there. Defensively, he wins most his one on one match-ups and remains an elite user out of the back half.
Grimes has had games this year where he’s limited the number one forward, while also playing the floating key defensive role to near-perfection. McGovern has also been superb in these areas, but when looking at previous seasons, McGovern’s influence on winning games just gets nudged by Grimes’ efforts.
Midfield spots are heating up, and there are two players who are locks for the squad and huge chance to be selected by the board, Collingwood’s Adam Treloar and Richmond’s Dustin Martin. Both these players have put together fine seasons, with Treloar leading the leagues in disposals while Martin is impacting games up forward and through the midfield like he was in ’17.
Two more players slid out from the bench this week.
Firstly, Melbourne ruck Max Gawn’s form hasn’t wavered with team performance this season. When you line Gawn with Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy, it’s tough to split.
While Grundy averages more hit-outs and one more clearance per game, Gawn leads the hit-outs to advantage with a win percentage of 58% in comparison to Grundy’s ruck duels (53%). Right now, this selection is based on team form, so it’s hard to justify a spot for Gawn with a plethora of midfielders vying for a bench spot.
Replacing him, a player who Garry Lyon rated as “the best in the game”, Eagles star Elliot Yeo makes his way into the side.
When observing the various midfielders to select from the back of the pack, Yeo stands tall with his defensive work, ranking second in the league for tackles.
What has been more impressive is offensively, he’s taken his game to a new level with added clearances (a career-high 15 last week) and grunt work.
While Yeo isn’t a major ball-winner, his physical style is scary good and he’s been good enough to gain his first All-Australian jacket.
The third and final change this week, Bulldogs Josh Dunkley makes way for GWS rebounder Zac Williams. Probably the harshest omission of the week given Dunkley is drastically improving each week with monster stat-lines (the next best tackler after Yeo).
What isn’t going to help Dunkley come selection night is that through the opening six weeks he was quiet – due to being played out of position. Since Round 6, you’d have to give him the title of most improved as well as most consistent. An unlucky change, and will be interesting to see if AA selectors chose three Dogs midfielders.
With three midfielders carrying the bench load, there was a standout defender that has put himself right into the frame in the past couple months. Ranking sixth for kicks per game and seventh for metres gained, Williams can launch the ball out of defence with his long, but effective kicks.
With nearly five rebound 50’s per game, Williams has put a horrid season 2018 behind him to boost right into AA discussion. His pace is the most exciting form of his game, and it will likely entice a few selectors.
Check back next week for the updated and final All-Australian team!