Each year esteemed football identities, former players, champions of the game, select the most revered team accolade in the code. Very few awards trump the All-Australian count on a players resume. So before the official team is picked for 2020, here’s what the team should have been.
No easy task this, its always about who you leave out more so than leave in. And then the respect to positions, trying to avoid picking a player out of his position but knowing if it was simply the 22 best players of the year they’d make it.
So the team’s below, but some bonafides on the selections. Luke Ryan has skyrocketed up in stocks for me, if I redid my Top 50 he probably takes over as the best medium, small backman in the comp. Brayden Maynard’s year was too good, he was unstoppable one on one and goes close to the Pies’ B&F. Caleb Daniel was elite as a small but offensive back pocket, has to make it.
The two talls, Jacob Weitering for mine had the best one on one record against big talls in the game. Maybe Josh Kennedy got him a little but otherwise, exemplary year playing on each team’s big gorilla week in week out. And Darcy Moore was the quintessential centre-half back. Not just for his intercept marking which is unparalleled, but being an accountable key tall, not as a loose back where intercepting becomes easier.
Tom Jonas gets in, and is captain, two things I suspect the selectors will miss. Why am I right? Port are minor premier, rightly or wrongly, and are the best defensive team in the comp. Jonas is the glue that keeps that back six together, and let’s be honest, he hasn’t got Alex Rance, Jeremy McGovern or Corey Enright next to him. He is the best part of that backline, he is the captain of the minor premier. And remember, start of the year, both Port and West Coast started in Hubs, one fucked it and is now in an elimination final, the other flourished and had the best home and away record. Leadership. Jonas. Book him in.
Midfield picks itself, the three Brownlow fancies, Neale, Boak, Steele. Nic Nat got in over Goldstein just, why, because his clearance work just couldn’t be ignored, he rates amongst the best midfielders in that area so sure, he isn’t as good as everyone thinks, but he is this year’s best ruckman.
Sam Menegola has been the best wingman on the year, no question, he might even poll really well Brownlow night its been that good. Of the remaining three to choose from, Macrae, Gaff and McCluggage, I’m going Macrae, second in the comp for disposals, but crucially third in the comp for effective disposals, fourth in the comp for inside 50s and top ten in the comp for score involvements. Super consistent and beats the other two, but watch him get overlooked incorrectly.
Christian Petracca and Robbie Gray are the year’s best half-forwards. Blokes who play the position. The Dee will probably poll 20 votes as a bull high, half-forward, he is a superstar of the comp now and Gray, didn’t even make the AA squad but his back half of the year linking and creating outside the arc has been absurd. Don’t sweat on his 2020.
Liam Ryan and Dan Butler are the two best small forwards, not just for goals, goal assists, score involvements but balancing in tackles and inside 50 pressure. Tom Papley faded away too much to hold on to a forward pocket spot.
And the two best tall forwards picked themselves, Hawkins the Coleman Medalist, Dixon the runner-up but number one in the league for contested marks.
So come the bench, it was the four blokes I had to squeeze in. Danger had a stunning year but couldn’t pick him over Neale, Boak or Steele, nor plonk him on a flank ‘just coz’. Jake Lloyd had too good a year in defense to not make it, again, missed the squad but his year in a developing Sydney team can’t go ignored. Elite numbers off half back.
Taylor Adams proabably wins the Pies B&F and for his all-round midfield game, disposals, tackles, clearances, he carried the team to the finals, and then the Bont, he was awesome this year and easily in the best half-dozen midfielders in the game.
Dusty was stiff, it was he or Danger ultimately, Sheppard and Vlaustin had great years but prefer Ryan and Jonas. Goldy was super in a bad team, probably had the ruck spot at halfway and almost snuck onto a bench if I’m honest. Kennedy would make it if I picked a third tall forward, but went against it, Andrews same story if I picked three tall backs, and Fyfe and Guthrie had great years too but I haven’t the spots.
So here it is, the correct 2020 team, the team you won’t see. But should. Gill does have my number, I’m sure he’ll call eventually..