Ruckman Sam Jacobs will stake his best claim yet to making the cut for the All Australian team on Wednesday, but he will face strong competition from cross-town Port Adelaide rival Paddy Ryder and Carlton’s Matthew Kreuzer, both of whom made the cut today after strong seasons.
The 40-man squad is picked by selectors not by position, but is simply a list of the year’s best players. However, these are then culled to a list representing a balanced 22-man AFL team, meaning two of the three ruckmen are likely to be excluded.
After a dominant season in the midfield, Matt Crouch has forced his way into the squad for the first time, while electrifying forward Eddie Betts is a chance to gain his third consecutive All Australian jumper.
For the Crows, 2016 All Australian Rory Sloane, Rory Laird, Tom Lynch and captain Taylor Walker are also in the mix, as is emerging defender Jake Lever, who is widely tipped to quit the club at season’s end.
For Port Adelaide, Ryder is joined by Robbie Gray, who has shone during another brilliant individual season.
Tom Jonas, who will miss the Power’s first final as he serves the second week of a fortnight’s suspension, is in the defensive mix.
As expected, former Crow turned Geelong Brownlow-medallist Patrick Dangerfield and 2017 Brownlow favourite Dustin Martin are set to take their place in the All Australian midfield, vying with five-time representative Joel Selwood.
Of the 18 AFL clubs, only two (Gold Coast and Fremantle) did not have any representatives in the 40-man squad.
The other players in the mix are Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko, Carlton’s Sam Docherty, Collingwood’s Jeremy Howe and Adam Treloar, Joe Daniher, Michael Hurley and Zach Merrett from Essendon, Giants Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Tom Scully and Dylan Shiel, Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell, Demons Jeff Garlett, Michael Hibberd and Neville Jetta, Ben Brown from North Melbourne, Alex Rance from Richmond, St Kilda’s Dylan Roberton and Seb Ross, Sydney’s Lance Franklin and Josh Kennedy, his West Coast Eagles namesake, along with teammates Jeremy McGovern and Elliot Yeo, and Bulldog star Marcus Bontempelli.
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